Monthly News Archives: August 2019

HPU welcomes new students to campus

Howard Payne University welcomed new students to its campus during Jacket Journey, a student welcome event held August 15-18.

Jacket Journey is held annually before the fall semester begins to help first-year students at HPU become a part of the university community and meet fellow students and HPU personnel.

“It’s always exciting when students arrive on campus for the start of a new semester,” said Dr. Magen Bunyard, vice president of student life and dean of students. “Jacket Journey is a great opportunity for new students to build relationships, learn about HPU history and traditions, grow spiritually and get involved in campus life.”

HPU faculty, staff and returning students helped new students move into the residence halls on Wednesday and Thursday. Jacket Journey began on Thursday with a free lunch for students and their families hosted at the President’s Home by Dr. Cory Hines and his family.

“We at HPU are pleased to welcome these new students to our campus,” said Dr. Hines. “I look forward not only to HPU positively impacting these students’ lives, but also to how this new class will participate in the shaping of our university’s future.”

Additional Jacket Journey events included Chime In, a ceremony symbolizing the beginning of students’ time at HPU; Campus Celebration, a time of worship organized by the HPU Baptist Student Ministry; and S.W.A.R.M. (Serving With A Right Motive), a community-wide service project during which students served at Good Samaritan Ministries, the ARK Domestic Violence Shelter, the Brownwood Area Community Garden and the Brownwood’s Lyric Theatre.

“Jacket Journey is one of my favorite events at HPU because it is such a fun time for the incoming students to get to know one another, returning students and the campus before starting classes,” said Josh Snow, director of student activities. “Everyone here is important, so we try our best to create that atmosphere at Jacket Journey.”

Fall classes at HPU began on August 19. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors and pre-professional programs and participates in six men’s and women’s sports through the NCAA Division III’s American Southwest Conference.

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Photo #1 cutline: Jacket Journey participants are pictured with HPU personnel and Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president.

Photo #2 cutline: Leading students through HPU’s Wilson Gate at Chime In are Dr. Cory and Mrs. Melinda Hines, HPU president and first lady, and Kendall Moore (far right), Student Government Association president.

HPU’s Department of Theatre presents original drama “Mouthpiece” in Edinburgh

Members of Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre and university alumni recently traveled to Scotland to perform an original drama titled “Mouthpiece” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (EFF).

“What I was really excited about and proud to see was our students not just positively representing Howard Payne University, but also God’s kingdom,” said Dr. Nicholas Ewen ’02, assistant professor of theatre at HPU. “I heard from many people, students and directors who talked about how awesome our students are.”

“Mouthpiece,” written by Dr. Ewen, is about a senator who, after an accident, prompts those around him to consider the power of God’s Word. The play has an unmistakably Christian worldview and represented an opportunity for the group to do more than perform.

“We were not there just to have a great experience and perform a play,” said Dr. Ewen. “We were there to share what we believe and that was awesome to be able to do that.”

HPU’s contingent was invited to perform at the festival by the International Collegiate Theatre Festival (ICTF). The ICTF invites institutions to perform at the EFF each year and helps to coordinate their performance opportunities. As part of the ICTF, representatives of HPU at the Festival Fringe lived alongside fellow performers from colleges and universities around the United States.

“Being in Scotland and recognizing that God had prepared us to be there was really rewarding,” said Deejay Moses, a student at HPU majoring in theatre. “Something that we got to do in addition to performing was ministering to other college students who don’t go to school in places like HPU, where we are so immersed in Christ and the Gospel.”

HPU students, alumni and current and former personnel who traveled to and performed in Edinburgh included Lori Arp, longtime HPU theatre contributor; Dr. Ewen; Christopher Ewen, HPU dual-credit student; Jake Bowren, a senior from San Antonio majoring in theatre and communication studies with an emphasis in public and media; Sarah Heinrichs, a junior from Hico majoring in theatre arts with all-level certification; Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor emeritus of theatre; Deejay Moses, a senior from May majoring in theatre arts with all-level certification; Laurel Pinkney, a sophomore from Carrollton majoring in theatre; Cassia Rose ’18; and Isaac ’19 and Jessica ’19 Williams.

“The prayer support that we had definitely made a difference,” said Dr. Ewen. “From the minute we began travelling to Scotland, I could sense we had so much support in prayer. We had so much financial help too – the community really poured out a huge blessing on us and our students to be able to go. Everything fell into place.”

The EFF is the world’s largest theatre festival and attracts upwards of 500,000 visitors each year. More than 50,000 performances are staged during the three weeks of the festival and are hosted in any available venues, including hotel lobbies, restaurants and churches. It originated with eight theatre troupes performing on the outskirts of the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival. The festival has become iconic in the world of theatre, inspiring numerous other “fringe” festivals around the world.

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Members of the HPU Theatre Department recently traveled to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and performed the original drama “Mouthpiece,” written by Dr. Nicholas Ewen ’02, assistant professor of theatre at HPU. Pictured from left to right are members of HPU’s theatre department and trip participants Sara Heinrichs; Laurel Pinkney; Cassia Rose ’18; Jessica Williams ’19; Deejay Moses; Isaac Williams ’19; Jacob Bowren; Dr. Nicholas Ewen; and Christopher Ewen.

HPU Women’s Club kicks off new school year with dessert social

The Howard Payne University Women’s Club welcomed the 2019-2020 school year by hosting a dessert social on campus. The “HPU Sweet Life” event brought more than 80 women together to celebrate their love for HPU and to get to know more about the purpose of the Women’s Club.

The evening provided an opportunity for all HPU women – employees and spouses of employees, as well as friends of the university – to fellowship with one another, vote on officer positions for the 2019-2020 school year and meet the new Women’s Club president, Melinda Hines.

Melinda Hines, HPU’s first lady, stated her goal for the event was to bring women together to celebrate HPU and get excited for the upcoming year and the future of the Women’s Club.

“Our hope is that, together, we can create a community of women who share a heart to serve and who feel encouraged and connected to each other, our wonderful university, our students and the Lord,” she said.

Hines expressed her excitement at being at HPU to serve alongside her husband, Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, and appreciates the opportunities her new roles provide for service.

“It is such an honor and privilege to serve in this capacity,” she said. “I know the Lord has called not only my husband but also myself and our children here, and we are looking forward to the days and years ahead as we make HPU and Brownwood home.”

She also encouraged women to join with her and the members of the Women’s Club as the organization seeks to serve HPU and the community.

“Whether it has been years since you were last involved, you are a previously active member or even if you have never been a member, we hope that you will prayerfully consider joining the HPU Women’s Club,” said Hines. “Our hope and prayer are that together we can glorify Christ and promote the spirit of the university, both on campus and within our community, in a way that enriches the lives of Women’s Club members, Howard Payne University students, faculty, staff and the surrounding Brownwood and Early area.”

Joining Melinda Hines as officers for the 2019-2020 year are Tammy Arreola, social coordinator; Laura Benoit, vice president; Gretchen Campbell, service coordinator; Tracey Carrier, HPU Women to Women coordinator; Nikki Donathan, treasurer; Doris Goacher, service coordinator; Tammy Lowrey, secretary; Katrina Lynn, treasurer; Christy Meinecke, HPU Women to Women coordinator; Jordan Pitman, Yellow Rose Luncheon coordinator; Jane Rodgers, social coordinator; Candace Rohrer, Yellow Rose Luncheon coordinator; Susan Sharp, communications coordinator; and Rebekah Sterling, communications coordinator.

Requirements for membership include $25 in annual dues. If you are interested in joining the Women’s Club or would like to pay your dues, please visit


Cutline: This year’s officers of the HPU Women’s Club are, from left to right, Tracey Carrier, Doris Goacher, Christy Meinecke, Laura Benoit, Tammy Arreola, Melinda Hines, Tammy Lowrey, Katrina Lynn, Rebekah Sterling, Candace Rohrer and Susan Sharp. Not pictured are Gretchen Campbell, Nikki Donathan, Jordan Pitman and Jane Rodgers.

HPU School of Christian Studies’ Graduate Program Advisory Council holds annual meeting

The Howard Payne University School of Christian Studies’ Graduate Program Advisory Council (GPAC) recently held its annual meeting on the HPU campus.

The council, currently consisting of 16 ministry personnel from Texas, was established concurrently with HPU’s Christian studies graduate programs in 2006. Each year, before the upcoming school year, GPAC members meet to discuss recruiting efforts related to the programs and provide educational suggestions.

Current GPAC members include:

  • Jason Atchley ’98, pastor, Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock;
  • Greg Bowman ’92, pastor, Brock Baptist Church;
  • Ricky Cavitt, youth minister, Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood;
  • Brad Echols ’98, youth minister, First Baptist Church in Belton;
  • Elias Garcia ’94, pastor of discipleship, Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston;
  • Chuck Gartman ’72, assistant professor of Christian studies and director of ministry guidance at HPU;
  • Dr. Gary Gramling ’81, dean of the School of Christian Studies, director of Christian studies graduate programs and professor of Christian studies;
  • Randy Johnson ’71, minister of youth education emeritus, First Baptist Church in Richardson;
  • Scott Lane ’90, executive ministry pastor, First Baptist Church in San Antonio;
  • Brett Levy ’96, family pastor, First Baptist Church Georgetown;
  • Chris Liebrum ’73, director of cooperative program ministry, Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT);
  • Cory Liebrum ’98, minister to families, First Baptist Church in Rockwall;
  • Jo Beth MacTavish ’06, youth minister, Kennefick South Baptist Church in Dayton, Texas;
  • Jerome Smith ’75, minister to families, Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston;
  • Jane Wilson, youth discipleship specialist, BGCT;
  • and Dr. Russell “Rusty” Wheelington, youth pastor, Southside Baptist Church in Brownwood and professor of Christian studies at HPU.

“We have an amazing group of advisory council members who have provided and continue provide tremendously valuable input and counsel as we move forward with graduate education in Christian studies,” said Dr. Gramling. “I am grateful to God for the blessing of knowing each of these people.”

The GPAC’s founding members were Chuck Gartman, Randy Johnson, Chris Liebrum, Wayne McAfee ’74 and Jerome Smith, who approached Dr. Don Newbury, then HPU president, and suggested the university offer more educational opportunities to its youth ministry students. Now, HPU offers two graduate programs to students – Master of Arts in Youth Ministry and Master of Arts in Theology.

HPU is the only Texas Baptist university offering both a youth ministry major and a master’s degree in the same field. There are more than 30 students currently enrolled in HPU School of Christian Studies graduate programs, with 62 graduates since the programs’ founding.


Cutline: The Howard Payne University School of Christian Studies’ Graduate Program Advisory Council recently held its annual meeting to discuss recruiting efforts and provide educational suggestions. Pictured from left to right are Greg Bowman, Dr. Russell Wheelington, Jo Beth McTavish, Brad Echols, Scott Lane, Randy Johnson, Jane Wilson, Chuck Gartman, Brett Levy, Cory Liebrum, Jason Atchley, Dr. Gary Gramling, Jerome Smith and Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president. Not pictured are Ricky Cavitt, Elias Garcia and Chris Liebrum

HPU names Dr. Donnie Auvenshine and Dr. Gary Gramling to new roles

Howard Payne University recently named Dr. Donnie Auvenshine and Dr. Gary Gramling to the positions of vice president for academic affairs and dean of the School of Christian Studies, respectively.

Upon entering his new role with the university, Dr. Auvenshine exited his longtime position as dean of the School of Christian Studies. He served in this position since 2007, also serving as dean from 1994 to 2003. He graduated with a B.A. degree from HPU in 1975, going on to earn his M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After several years of teaching, he returned to HPU in 1993 to join the School of Christian Studies faculty.

Dr. Auvenshine and his wife, Sande, have been married for more than 40 years and have three grown children.

In addition to serving in a new capacity as dean of the School of Christian Studies, Dr. Gramling continues to serve as director of Christian studies graduate programs and professor of Christian studies. He has been a member of the School of Christian Studies faculty since 1990. He graduated with a B.A. degree from HPU in 1981, earning his M.Div. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, PJ, also a 1981 HPU graduate and director of admission at HPU, have been married for more than 30 years and have two grown children.

“These men bring a high level of experience and commitment to our university,” said Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president. “They have been key influences to many students and others during their time at HPU. I look forward to how God will continue to use them as they serve our university in new roles.”


Cutline: Pictured from left to right are Dr. Gary Gramling and Dr. Donnie Auvenshine. Dr. Auvenshine was named HPU’s vice president for academic affairs and Dr. Gramling was named dean of the School of Christian Studies.

HPU announces inauguration of Dr. Cory Hines as 20th president

Howard Payne University proudly announces the inauguration of Cory Hines, Ph.D., as the 20th president in the institution’s 130-year history. Inauguration activities are scheduled for September 17-21, 2019, with the Inauguration Ceremony to be held on September 18 at 2 p.m. in Mims Auditorium.

Other activities open to the public include the Inaugural Chapel Service at 10 a.m. on September 18; the Inaugural Reception, following the Inauguration Ceremony; and the Inaugural HPU Family Tailgate, scheduled for 11 a.m. on September 21, preceding the HPU football game at Gordon Wood Stadium. Details on inauguration activities are available at

“On behalf of the Howard Payne University Board of Trustees, I am pleased to invite the public to our campus as we formally inaugurate Dr. Cory Hines as our new president,” said Pastor Ray Still, chair of HPU’s Board of Trustees. “HPU has planned a full slate of meaningful activities that will appropriately honor our institution’s past as well as the exciting new era that has already begun under Dr. Hines’ leadership.”

Dr. Hines, a 1997 graduate of HPU, was named president at a special meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees on March 18, 2019. His first official day in office was April 1.

“The circumstances of these past few months have reminded me again and again how blessed I am to have been called to lead my treasured alma mater,” Dr. Hines said. “I am both honored and humbled by these upcoming inauguration activities, and I look forward to joining with the extended HPU family as together we celebrate this university and express our gratitude to God for His faithfulness to HPU throughout the past 130 years.”

Dr. Hines, a native of Gainesville, Texas, earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in religious education from HPU in 1997. He pursued graduate work at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned the Master of Arts degree in Christian education in 2000, and Dallas Baptist University, where he earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree in leadership studies – higher education in 2012.

Prior to his return to HPU, Dr. Hines served as an administrator at Dallas Baptist University. During his years at DBU, he held various leadership roles as vice president in the areas of enrollment, advancement, graduate affairs, external affairs, and alumni and community relations. He also taught at DBU and provided leadership in the creation of several graduate programs there. His professional experience also includes full-time ministry, having served as executive pastor and student pastor at Ferris Avenue Baptist Church (now The Avenue Church) in Waxahachie.

Dr. Hines and his wife, Melinda, have two children, Mackenzie and Caleb.


Cutline: Dr. Cory Hines, pictured at Howard Payne University’s Commencement ceremony in May, will be inaugurated as the institution’s 20th president on September 18.

Patterson follows Justice through HPU’s biomedical science program

Howard Payne University’s biomedical science program reached two significant milestones recently with the graduation of its first program participant and the admittance of its second student. Hannah Justice of Brownwood, who was admitted to the program as a sophomore in 2017, graduated in May and Morgan Patterson, a junior from Kerrville, will begin coursework in the program this fall.

The demanding program prepares students for various health professions through challenging coursework similar to what they will encounter as graduate students. To be considered for admission to the program, students must complete 60 semester hours with a GPA of at least 3.0, complete required biology and chemistry courses, submit an application packet to the program and interview with the Biomedical Science Admissions Committee.

“HPU students pursuing the biomedical science degree will begin as a biology major,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology and director of HPU’s biomedical science program. “Once they’ve met the requirements for admission, they can then apply to become a Biomedical Scholar and finish their HPU degree in biomedical science.”

From her perspective as a newly minted HPU graduate, Justice appreciates the ways the experience prepared her for her future in the medical field and for life.

“This program is very rigorous,” Justice said, “but you’re given so many resources and get to be in a program that’s specifically tailored to what you want to do. It has definitely prepared me to go to graduate school. Working with Dr. Hutchins has also been very rewarding. She has given me guidance in the classroom and in life and has encouraged me, supported me and believed in me when I didn’t always believe in myself.”

Justice largely attributed her completion of the program to the support of friends, family and others in the HPU community. She explained that being at HPU helped her to focus on Christ as the motivation for her hard work.

“You need people in your life who are there to encourage you and also keep you humble,” she said. “The great thing about this program being at HPU is that it provides that kind of accountability by reminding you of who you are in Christ and who you’re doing this for.”

Justice also gave advice for those preparing to enroll in the program in the future.

“Don’t let the hard work scare you,” she said. “Pursuing any sort of pre-health profession is sometimes dubbed as impossible, especially if you’re attending a small university, but if you are willing to put in the hard work and be diligent then it’s completely possible.”

Justice has been accepted to her first choice of medical schools, Texas Tech University, where she will be studying for the next four years. She will then participate in a residency program for three to five years to become board certified in a specialty of her choosing.

“When working with our department to design the biomedical science program, I had students like Hannah in mind,” said Dr. Hutchins. “She is driven, curious and has a love of science and people. She persevered through hard semesters and allowed the Lord to guide her as she made decisions about her future. Getting to mentor Hannah over the last few years has been such a treasure to me.”

As Justice was wrapping up her time in the biomedical program and at HPU, Patterson was just getting started. She completed her sophomore year and is majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy as well as biomedical science. She interviewed for admission to the program in spring 2019.

“I was nervous for my interview, but I’m really excited to be the next person in the program,” said Patterson. “I‘ve known my whole life that I’ve wanted to be somewhere in the health field. When I applied to HPU I just knew that this program was my best chance at getting into a graduate school in the health field.”

Patterson said she has wanted to be a veterinarian since high school, but was unsure until college.

“When I was in high school I wanted to be a vet, but I thought I wasn’t cut out for it,” she said. “When I came to college that changed. In our health professions seminar class with Dr. Hutchins we heard from a local veterinarian and everything he said just really spoke to me. I just felt that was where God was calling me.”

Though initially nervous, Patterson is excited to begin work in the program.

“I’m looking forward to all of the opportunities that it’s going to open up for me, such as getting to meet professionals who are already in the field,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to working with Dr. Hutchins. I think she does a great job at connecting students to the right resources and the right people.”

Dr. Hutchins is confident that Patterson will thrive in the program and is eager to see her grow in her field of study.

“Morgan joins our biomedical science program this year having already demonstrated that she can handle rigor in the Honors Academy and her science courses, all while being a collegiate athlete,” said Dr. Hutchins. “Each of those alone is challenging! In addition, Morgan is incredibly humble and kind. I am excited to walk that road with her as she prepares for a profession in veterinarian medicine. She will be excellent.”

As Dr. Hutchins looks to the future of the program, she expresses her enthusiasm for the students and for the university’s positioning to help equip them for meaningful careers.

“Hannah, Morgan and other Biomedical Scholars who come through our program will take with them not only their academic training in the sciences, but also their Christian liberal arts education and worldview,” said Dr. Hutchins. “These things will help ground them as they become health care providers.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU graduate Hannah Justice (left) stands with junior Morgan Patterson (right). They are the first and second students, respectively, to enroll in HPU’s biomedical science program. Justice completed the program and graduated in May 2019.

HPU’s Dr. Derek Smith and Frank Ritter ’17 instruct students at 4-H Horizons Camp

Dr. Derek L. Smith, former associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University, and Frank Ritter ’17 recently led a workshop for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students during the 4-H Horizons Camp, sponsored by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service and HPU.

The camp is held each year at the Texas 4-H Conference Center on Lake Brownwood with up to 100 elementary and middle school student participants. During the four-day camp, youth spend six hours per day studying in a project area of their choosing, such as woodworking, veterinary science, wildlife and STEM-robotic.

This year, 15 students chose the STEM-robotics track. These students learned how to build and program Lego robots, construct trebuchets, test water quality and explore forensic science through pattern recognition in fingerprints and microscopic examination of hair samples.

“These hands-on activities make learning fun, while reinforcing teamwork and communication skills in these talented kids,” said David Smith, the camp’s administrator. “Most of our content experts and project leaders come from within the Extension, but these kids benefit every year from the outside expertise that local professionals, such as Frank and Derek, possess.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Dr. Derek Smith, former associate professor of chemistry, and Frank Ritter ’17, led a workshop for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math as part of the 4-H Horizons Camp at the 4-H State Conference Center.

HPU to host Part-Time Job and Internship Fair August 28

Howard Payne University’s Office of Career Services invites area businesses and organizations to participate in its Part-Time Job and Internship Fair. The event will be held on August 28 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Mabee University Center’s Bullion Suites.

Employers will meet one-on-one with and accept applications from students seeking positions in a variety of professions. A six-foot-long table and two chairs will be provided for displaying organization information. Electrical outlets and Wi-Fi access will also be available to each registered employer. Private interview areas will also be made available to prospective employers upon request.

“Part-time employment can be dually beneficial,” said Tammy Arreola, HPU’s career services coordinator. “Employers are connected to a young and motivated workforce while students have the opportunity to earn workplace experience that can act as a supplement to traditional classroom education.”

A light breakfast, pizza and beverages will be provided for attendees and participating businesses. Table coverings are required. If an employer does not have a table cover, HPU will provide one for a $20 fee payable at the time of registration. Employers may register for a booth online at Registration ends August 23.

Howard Payne University is a Christ-centered, close-knit academy, located in the heart of Texas since 1889. HPU has extension centers in El Paso and New Braunfels. More than 100 majors, minors and pre-professional programs are offered by the university. Since 1889, more than 17,000 students have graduated from HPU.

For more information about the Part-Time Job and Internship Fair, please contact Tammy Arreola at 325-649-8630 or