Monthly News Archives: February 2019

HPU students successfully compete in Southwest Athletic Trainers Association Quiz Bowl

BROWNWOOD – February 28, 2019 – Students from Howard Payne University’s athletic training program scored its highest in a three-year history of competing in the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association’s (SWATA) Quiz Bowl. The event, which took place on February 1, is part of the SWATA Student Competency Workshop and was hosted by Texas State University in San Marcos.

The “Jeopardy”-style competition requires each university to select a three-member team with an alternate. The HPU team consisted of Kaitlyn Harrison of Watauga, Brittany Cortez of Forney and Reagan Ridlehuber of Frisco, with Foga’A Solomona-Afoa of Fort Hood serving as the alternate.

The majority of the participating teams were from large universities and master’s-level accredited programs. HPU’s team competed against students from institutions such as Sam Houston State University, University of the Incarnate Word, University of Houston and The University of Texas at Arlington. HPU was the smallest university and one of only a few undergraduate programs to compete in the Quiz Bowl.

“It’s an opportunity for students in accredited undergraduate and graduate athletic training education programs to prepare for their board exams,” said Mike Terrill, chair of HPU’s Department of Kinesiology and assistant professor of athletic training. “The ability of Howard Payne University’s team to compete at such a high level with larger universities and graduate programs demonstrates the quality of the students and education at Howard Payne.”


Cutline: HPU students competing in the SWATA Quiz Bowl were Kaitlyn Harrison, Brittany Cortez and Reagan Ridlehuber, with Foga’A Solomona-Afoa (not pictured) serving as the alternate.

Life of the Mind, Life of the Spirit: HPU speaking sessions celebrate crossroads of faith and academics

BROWNWOOD – February 27, 2019 – Embracing true Christian higher education is less about integrating faith with learning than it is about recognizing that the two are already inherently joined – no “integration” required. The study of science, history, math, English – every subject – is also the study of God the Creator.

With this in mind, Howard Payne University has instituted a new one-semester, intensive speaking series during which representative faculty and staff members share with their colleagues how they are incorporating this “life of the mind, life of the Spirit” philosophy into their teaching and/or administrative work. The personnel speak on how their areas of oversight function at the crossroads of the mind and the Spirit to teach and work from a biblically informed, Christian worldview that goes beyond simply allowing a Christian emphasis to fostering it.

Staff members from HPU’s offices of admission, marketing and communications and financial aid, along with faculty members from the schools of science and mathematics, education and Christian studies, have presented to their peers with several more sessions from others across campus planned throughout the semester.

Additionally, two colleagues in Christian higher education from North Greenville University in South Carolina recently joined HPU personnel for a professional development day on the topic of engaging the mind and the Spirit.

Speaking on the HPU campus were Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr., president of North Greenville University, and Dr. H. Paul Thompson Jr., dean of North Greenville’s College of Humanities and Sciences and chair of the history department. Both emphasized that truly Christian higher education is about much more than praying before class.

Dr. Fant said that Christian educators have unique access to ideas and concepts in their content areas as illuminated by the light of Christ.

“You ought to understand the philosophical framework of your discipline through a light that others in your discipline who are not Christ followers cannot comprehend,” he said. “If I have the mind of Christ, I have the mind of the One who has helped us to understand the reality that He has prepared for us. I have access to ideas, understandings and perceptions that others (non-Christians) do not.”

He went on to say that students are hungry for spiritual conversations.

“Not only that, they are hungry for you to have spiritual conversations about your discipline,” he said. “There’s nothing that is ‘second class’ about being Christian in higher education. You have true academic freedom in that you can talk about things here that you would be called on the carpet for at a state university.”

Dr. Thompson taught for 13 years in public education before entering a career in Christian higher education.

“Making the transition to a place of being able to merge my faith with my discipline has not been arduous,” he said. “It’s been a joy. There is a wholeness now that I never had before professionally or personally.”

The two most powerful, life-changing experiences a person can have, said Dr. Thompson, are a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and a high-quality education.

“We are at ground zero in Christian higher education to merge those two intentionally and explicitly,” he said. “That’s a really, really powerful thing.”

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, said all HPU faculty and staff, regardless of their individual roles, are responsible for teaching the students in some way.

“Our prayer is that as we perform our jobs, we recognize that they are more than a series of tasks,” he said. “We have the opportunity every day to present and model to the students God sends our way the image of people who are seeking to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives.”

It is exciting to know that we have been placed where we can help prepare the next generation of leaders, Dr. Tew said.

“We recognize that we can accept that challenge and shape and mold students in such a way that they go from here knowing that their careers are their calling to serve God so that they can use their gifts and talents that we’ve helped them fine-tune,” he said. “We pray they use these not just to make a living for themselves but as a means to a far greater end – that is to share the love of Christ in everything that they do.”


Cutline: Colleagues in Christian higher education from North Greenville University recently joined HPU personnel for a professional development day on engaging the mind and the Spirit. Pictured are Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr. (left), president of North Greenville University, and Dr. H. Paul Thompson Jr., dean of North Greenville’s College of Humanities and Sciences and chair of the history department.

Local Fellowship of Christian Athletes to host Tony Daniel Memorial 5K at Howard Payne University

BROWNWOOD – February 27, 2019 – The Brownwood area’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) will host a 5K race on Saturday, March 2, in memory of Tony Daniel, former FCA Brownwood area director, who passed away in 2018. All proceeds will go to the Brownwood Area FCA Camp Scholarship Fund.

The 3.1-mile course, which will take place on the HPU campus, will start at the gate between Veda Hodge Hall and Jennings Hall and will end between Winebenner Hall and the Bell Towers. Participants are invited to walk or run during the event.

Those who wish to qualify for a timed award can register for a fee of $30, while those running or walking just for fun can register for $25 up until March 1. Registration fees will increase to $35 and $30 on race day (cash or check only at the event). To register in advance, visit Walk-up registration beings at 8:00 a.m. on March 2 and the race will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female as well as to top participants in various age groups.

“This 5K will honor Tony and his ministry by raising money to aid athletes and coaches in the Brownwood area to go to FCA camps across Texas,” said Kristin Haman, athletic trainer. “The experiences that athletes and coaches have at these camps can help strengthen their walk with the Lord and impact the community of Brownwood for Christ.”


Cutline: The HPU campus is the location for the upcoming Tony Daniel Memorial 5K.

Four HPU students recognized at 2019 Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Four Howard Payne University students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars at the 12th annual Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics on Feb. 7-8. The students honored at this year’s lectures were Rachel Carpenter, junior biblical languages major from Rowlett; Lillie McDonald, junior practical theology major from Tuscola; Cecily McIlwain, senior cross-cultural studies major from Dayton; and Eli Williams, senior biblical languages major from May.

“These students are among the best that we teach in the School of Christian Studies, excelling through their scholarly studies as well as through their active engagement with their course material,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies. “The lectures benefit all HPU students, including those honored, by bringing an important topic for their consideration so that they can reflect on what it might mean to think Christianly about it.”

The guest speaker at the event was Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, assistant professor of Christian Ethics and associate dean for Fuller Texas at Fuller University, who spoke on the topic “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.” Dr. Kaemingk delivered two lectures, “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Crown” and “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Cross.”

“As Christians, we need to be about practicing the hospitality of Christ,” said Dr. Kaemingk. “That is what Muslim immigration represents – a profound opportunity to practice Christ’s hospitality and to remember it again. This is an opportunity to meet Jesus again and remember what He calls us to.”

Dr. Kaemingk is also a scholar-in-residence at the Max De Pree Center for Christian Leadership and serves as a fellow for the Center for Public Justice. He founded the Fuller Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture in Seattle, Washington, in 2013 and served as the executive director of the institute until 2017.

He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and holds doctoral degrees in systematic theology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2011, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to go to Amsterdam to study political theology and the European conflict over Muslim immigration. An ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Dr. Kaemingk lives in Houston with his wife, Heather, and their three sons, Calvin, Kees and Caedmon.

“Dr. Kaemingk’s work is invaluable for contemporary Christians,” said Dr. Hatch. “It challenges us to be the body of Christ, and to do so precisely by making space for the other – in this case, our Muslim neighbors. His lectures focused on the cultivation of habits of hospitality, which means they will continue to make a positive impact on our thinking and activity here at HPU for a long time.”

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Four HPU students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars at the 2019 Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics. Pictured from left to right are Lillie McDonald, Rachel Carpenter, Cecily McIlwain and Eli Williams. Also pictured is Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies at HPU. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk spoke at the 2019 lectures on the topic of “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.”

HPU social work program focuses on Christian approach to challenges

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Social workers deal often with the darkest forces humanity has to offer – abuse, trauma and addictions among others. Perhaps none are better equipped, therefore, to become social workers than Christians walking daily in the light of Jesus. That is the premise of the social work program at Howard Payne University.

“Social workers are always dealing with the fallouts of evil in the world,” said Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program. “If they are not rooted in Christ, are not relying on Jesus to empower them, it’s really hard to maintain a healthy balance in their lives and avoid burnout.”

Though a secular emphasis is often placed on social work, the field’s principles are in line with Christian values and the teachings of Jesus.

“Jesus taught us to take care of the vulnerable, the oppressed, orphans, displaced people,” said Derrington. “One of the values of social work is holding people in unconditional positive regard and protecting human dignity and the worth of people. That’s all in line with what the Bible tells us.”

Derrington, who lives in San Saba, spoke with her pastor, Sam Crosby of First Baptist Church of San Saba, about Jesus’ teachings.

“He said there are 13 references in the King James Version of the Gospels involving Jesus blessing or ministering to the poor,” she said. “Though opinions differ based on interpretations, some scholars argue that the Bible commands compassion toward those in need some 300 times.”

Derrington joined HPU’s faculty in the fall 2018 semester from the University of Denver where she was employed as an adjunct faculty member and curriculum developer. Prior to that, she worked in child welfare, helping to place children with adoptive families and providing the families with post-adoptive support. She additionally worked in child welfare policy analysis and marriage/family strengthening activities for the federal government, and for the state government in Colorado providing policy communications for the state regulatory agency. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver and a Master of Social Work degree in policy and program management from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

“I worked in secular social work higher education in Colorado for eight years and always recognized the parallels between social work values and ethics and Jesus’ teachings but I couldn’t figure out a way to combine the two,” she said.

Derrington said she prayed over the situation consistently for two years.

“Last summer, out of the blue, I got a call from Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work at HPU,” she said. “She got my number from a friend of a friend and told me she heard I had moved to the area from a colleague I had only met once. It was quite serendipitous.”

Christian social workers are better positioned to see God’s redemptive powers at work in the lives of the people with which they interact.

“Secularly, social work promotes the idea of empowering others to reach their full potential,” said Derrington. “When you add in the Christian influences, social work is about reaching this potential within an individual’s relationship with Christ.”

Though the social work field can often be incredibly challenging, it is equally rewarding.

“Your entire life is centered around the principles of Jesus’ teachings,” said Derrington. “Your career, the way you relate to people in your personal life – even who you are in the community and in the world. Folks who have it in their hearts to serve and really want to model the life of Jesus will find that the social work field is a good way to accomplish that.”

It is also important, Derrington noted, to understand that social work is as much about preventing evil in the world as it is about dealing with the fallouts of it.

“Social work is also about promoting positive youth development and healthy relationships and strengthening marriages and parenting skills,” she said.

Those with a social work education are prepared to practice in organizations or institutions or to work with small groups or families. Careers include positions with adult protective services, child welfare, community organizations, schools, correctional facilities, prisons, hospitals and treatment facilities among many others. Social workers may also choose to go into politics, research, policy analysis or administrative roles.

“There are also opportunities to do international social work in any type of setting anywhere in the world,” said Derrington.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program, such as HPU’s, and go on to graduate school may earn a master’s degree in social work in just one year.

Many may wonder if they have “what it takes” for a career in social work, but Derrington is certain that Christians do.

“You need a solid relationship with Jesus and a good understanding of how he taught us to treat others,” she said. “When put together with the concrete tools that social workers develop in higher education, there are really no limits on how you can impact positive changes in individuals, families, organizations and communities.”


Cutline: Rachel Derrington serves as assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program.

HPU’s Dr. Craig Younce to return to Zambia with students

BROWNWOOD – February 20, 2019 – After a mission trip to Zambia in fall 2018, Dr. Craig Younce, assistant professor of biology, will return this March with a group of students to serve at a local orphanage. The trip, which will be from March 7-20, will help students unite their education with God’s call on their lives.

“In the fall of 2017 I attended a class offered by my church, Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, that changed my mind on what our purpose is.” said Younce. “That purpose is to show God’s glory to all the nations.”

The class, called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, prompted Younce to begin asking God how he could be a part of His purpose. That question was answered the following March, when Bryan Allen, a member of Younce’s Sunday school class, was unable to go on the 10-day trip to Zambia. Allen asked Younce if he was interested in taking his place.

“From the moment I got his text, I sensed God was telling me, ‘That’s what you need to do,’” said Younce. “You need to go on that trip.’”

Younce and members of his church left for Zambia in August 2018 and were able to share the gospel with community members of Namwala.

“We shared the gospel with locals and invited them to church. It was fascinating seeing members of the Zambian church talk because people would start to gather to listen,” said Younce. “It just kind of gives you a glimpse of what it might have been like when Jesus was preaching.”

While in Zambia, the group stayed for a few days at New Day Orphanage, which takes in children of all ages, cares for them until they become adults and provides them with education. The goal of the orphanage is to raise children to be like Christ so they can impact their communities when they grow up.

“I could hear God telling me that we needed to do something with them,” said Younce. “I began talking to Wes Wilcox and told him that HPU might be interested in helping the orphanage. When we were leaving he told me, ‘You say you’ll come back, but a lot of people say that because it sounds good when they’re here. I’m going to challenge you to actually do it.’”

When Younce came back to Brownwood he wrestled for a while with the question of how he and HPU could assist in Zambia.

“I talked with the orphanage and with my dean about what we could do,” he said. “We also coordinated with Sam Goff from Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, who has been teaching a series called Helping without Hurting. The key thing was figuring out how to provide support that they can take ownership of.”

Younce and Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, coordinated with New Day Orphanage on a plan to bring chemistry and biology majors from HPU to Zambia. While there, students will help the orphanage refine its science curriculum and help with science demonstrations.

“This year, the university is really stressing the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit,” said Younce. “It’s fascinating that, when all of this was coming to fruition, I wasn’t even aware that was going to be a focus.”

Younce hopes this trip will help show students how to bridge the gap between the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit by allowing them to incorporate both their education and God’s vision while serving.

“We are all created for a purpose and that is to carry out his mission,” he said. “If nothing else, one of the biggest things that Christ calls us to do is to serve. We all have different skills with which to do that. These students are getting an education and now they can apply it in a way of service.”


Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Craig Younce poses with two Zambian children while visiting a church in Namwala, Zambia.

HPU students advance at Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association tournament

BROWNWOOD – February 20, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Spring Championship tournament, held at Texas State University in San Marcos. Lucy Manning and Tyler Olin advanced to quarterfinals in parliamentary debate (NPDA).

Additionally, Olin, senior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, earned the fourth place top NPDA speaker and was named to the prestigious Texas All-State Forensics Squad. The squad is a recognition given to students who have excelled in forensics at the two-year or four-year level while maintaining high levels of academic achievement and who exhibit strong character and leadership skills.

Manning, sophomore communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Fort Worth, earned the sixth place top NPDA speaker. Together, the team claimed two of the top six recognized speakers at the tournament.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, coaches the team.

“It is difficult to express how competitive this tournament is — our students consistently rank high and beat some of the largest state universities in Texas,” said Dr. Welker. “Tyler and Lucy were 5-0 in prelims and headed into quarterfinals the top-ranked team.”

HPU competed against 34 debate teams from 17 colleges and universities from Texas. HPU was one of two small, private, Division III universities competing and the only private Baptist university to advance in debate.

Other students who competed at the tournament were Madison Neal, junior communication major from Chandler, and Alek Mendoza, freshman theatre major from Bangs. Richelle Hair, instructor of communication, assisted the team.

The HPU speech and debate team will travel to Salina, Kansas, in March to compete in the National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament.


Cutline: Lucy Manning and Tyler Olin, members of HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team, received speaking awards at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Spring Championship tournament.

HPU hosts second annual Choral Conducting Workshop

BROWNWOOD – February 15, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts recently hosted its second annual Choral Conducting Workshop. Conductors from area schools, high school students and HPU students attended the two-day workshop, held January 25 and 26.

Dr. Pam Elrod-Huffman served as the resident clinician at the workshop. She is the director of choral activities at Southern Methodist University.

A survey conducted by the HPU Department of Music revealed positive feedback from the workshop’s attendees.

“I have never attended a more useful professional development opportunity,” said one survey respondent. “I learned so much about rehearsal techniques and got some excellent, hands-on help with becoming a more clear and intentional conductor. I returned to my students re-energized to tackle the rest of the year. I can’t wait for the next one.”

Over the two days of the clinic, attendees experienced the building blocks of choral conducting by honing physical gesture and pragmatic rehearsal techniques.

“Each conductor grew and was challenged in several ways, including myself as the facilitator, and I’m so thankful for all in attendance,” said Dr. Chris Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. “Special thanks goes to Dr. Huffman, the conductors, the participants, the students and especially the magnificent members of the Howard Payne University Concert Choir.”

To conclude the first day of the clinic, a concert was held featuring workshop attendees and HPU’s Concert Choir. Dr. Huffman directed the choir in a performance of “In this Place” at the concert.

Christina Hallwachs, of Burkburnett High School, and Chris Jarvis, of Wichita Falls High School, directed performances of “5 Hebrew Love Songs.” David Mills, of Chapel Hill ISD and Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church, directed “I am the Rose of Sharon” and Jennifer Reeves of Brownwood High School directed “Locus Iste.” Camila Cotter, an HPU senior music education major from Garden Ridge, directed “Kyla Vuotti Uutta Kuuta.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Dr. Pam Elrod-Huffman, director of choral activities at SMU, served as the resident clinician at the HPU School of Music and Fine Arts Choral Conducting Workshop.

HPU student and alumna judge area robotics contest

BROWNWOOD – February 11, 2019 – For the third year in a row, Howard Payne University provided arena judges for the TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) Area 15 Robotics Contest.

This year’s competition took place on January 19 in the gymnasium of the John H. Glenn Middle School in San Angelo with elementary and middle school participants. Students from Brownwood and Early also took part in the competition.

Stephanie Irene Tarigan, an HPU senior mathematics major from Brownwood, and Clara Octani Tarigan, a December 2018 graduate in engineering science, served as arena judges.

“Mrs. Laura Howard, the present coordinator of the contest, invited HPU to serve as judges this year,” said Dr. Hendra J. Tarigan, assistant professor of engineering science and director of HPU’s engineering science program. Dr. Tarigan accompanies the students each year. “In 2017 and 2018, Mrs. Angela Gau from Ballinger High School was the coordinator.”

Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, said she is proud of the students’ ongoing involvement in the community.

“Our science and math students have much to offer and I am pleased they have chosen to share their gifts in this way,” she said.


Cutline: HPU alumna Clara Tarigan (left) and senior Stephanie Tarigan recently served as arena judges for the TCEA Area 15 Robotics Contest.

HPU receives 2018 Tree Campus USA® recognition

BROWNWOOD – February 11, 2019 – The Arbor Day Foundation has once again recognized Howard Payne University as a Tree Campus USA® institution for the university’s ongoing commitment to effective urban forest management. HPU has received the Tree Campus USA designation since 2016.

In a letter congratulating HPU on its 2018 recognition, the Arbor Day Foundation said its Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and personnel in the spirit of conservation.

HPU celebrated Texas Arbor Day in late 2018 with several activities on campus for 96 fifth-grade students from Coggin Intermediate School in Brownwood. The series of environmental awareness hands-on activities emphasized predator/prey relationships, food chains and food webs. Renee Burks of the Texas A&M Forest Service was also on campus to discuss the role of trees and the importance of maintaining trees in a healthy ecosystem. The event culminated in the young students’ participation in a tree-mulching ceremony.

A large number of HPU students and personnel coordinated the event.

Terry Pritchett, assistant vice president for facilities and planning, serves as chair of the university’s Campus Tree Advisory Committee which also includes representatives from HPU’s student body and personnel.

“God has blessed HPU with a beautiful campus and I’m proud of the efforts of all those who work hard to maintain it to His glory,” said Pritchett.


Cutline: Renee Burks of the Texas A&M Forest Service leads BISD students in spreading mulch around a newly-planted tree on the HPU campus during the university’s 2018 Texas Arbor Day celebration.