Monthly News Archives: December 2019

HPU announces holiday closure

BROWNWOOD – December 17, 2019 – Howard Payne University will be closed from Monday, Dec. 23, through Friday, Jan. 3, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Offices will reopen on Monday, Jan. 6.

HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement (the Harrison House), located at 803 Center Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30, and Tuesday, Dec. 31, to process end-of-the-year gifts. On Tuesday, Dec. 31, the public is invited to visit the Harrison House during open hours to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies with staff. Gifts can also be arranged to be made in person or by contacting Dr. Dale Meinecke, vice president for development, by phone at 325-649-8804 or e-mail at anytime throughout the Christmas break.

HPU’s spring 2020 semester begins on Monday, Jan. 13.

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


HPU faculty member speaks at 2nd Global Congress on Sport and Christianity

BROWNWOOD – December 12, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Dr. P. Graham Hatcher, professor of kinesiology, recently spoke at the second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity, held at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The five-day event drew hundreds of scholars and practitioners in the field of sport from around the world and included speakers such as Tim Tebow, professional athlete, sports analyst and author; Loretta Claiborne, recipient of 1996 Arthur Ashe Award for Courage; and Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright professor of systematic theology at Yale Divinity School and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture.

Dr. Hatcher’s presentation, “‘So as the sett be thine:’ thinking Christianly about the nature of tennis,” explored the current game’s shared legacy with its medieval/Renaissance counterpart and how the essential rules of both can spark theological imagination and faith formation. In the presentation, Dr. Hatcher noted that philosophers, scientists, poets and theologians have all found tennis to be a useful resource in addressing much of their respective interests.

During the congress, Dr. Hatcher also participated in the 30th annual meeting of the Christian Society for Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, an international community of Christian scholars and professionals committed to excellence in kinesiology, leisure and sport through faith-integration, professional development, mentoring and fellowship.

“I’m grateful for the Faculty Development Fund and the administrative support that enabled me to attend this meeting and share my faith-centered scholarship with an international audience,” he said.


Cutline: HPU’s Dr. P. Graham Hatcher delivered a presentation titled “‘So as the sett be thine:’ Thinking Christianly about the Nature of Tennis” at the second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity, held at Calvin University.

HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art program presents 25th annual Christmas recital

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art program recently presented its 25th annual Christmas recital. Thirty-five students performed piano, vocal, guitar and percussion solos, duets and trios, and 12 teachers were represented. The event was held at HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

“There was a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 family and friends, and all in attendance were definitely in the ‘Christmas spirit’ when they left that day,” said Diane Owens, director of the program. “We are already looking forward to sharing our music again next Christmas as this tradition continues.”

For information about the HPU Pre-College Music and Art program, please contact Diane Owens at 325-649-8501, 325-636-3000 or


HPU engineering class builds scale model of Regency Bridge

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2019 – A group of engineering students at Howard Payne University recently constructed a scale model of Regency Bridge. The model was one of several constructed for Engineering Design Project, an upper-level capstone course for engineering majors. The class, taken over the course of two semesters, requires students to research and propose a major engineering project and then construct and test the proposed project.

“Our proposal was to investigate and analyze different bridges, build replicas and test them to discover which bridge was the strongest,” said senior Justin Hughes of Llano.

The students’ suspension bridge is a model of Regency Bridge, which spans the borders of Mills and San Saba counties and is located on the Colorado River. According to the city of San Saba’s website, Regency Bridge is the last suspension bridge in Texas still used by automobiles.

“We chose this as our project because bridges are an integral part of society,” said senior Dairon Houston of Brownwood. “We wanted to learn the engineering that goes into constructing them and how different types of bridges do different things.”

Since the beginning of the fall semester, the group has researched various bridges and worked on building models. The building of the suspension bridge model took approximately two weeks.

Senior Gabriel Means of Palestine expressed that their research led them to learn information about bridges beyond the realm of engineering.

“We learned how bridge design has changed and improved over history, as well as how a bridge structure distributes weight and what variables are considered when designing a bridge,” Means said.

The class is overseen by Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, director of the forensic science program and professor of chemistry.

“The students used information learned in their previous Statics, Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials courses to build models of various bridges in Brown and Mills counties,” she said. “They ran experiments on the models to determine the static and dynamic loads associated with different parts of each bridge and compared their findings. It was a great experience for the students.”

The group will conduct the next phase of the project in the spring.

“We plan to use the information gathered this semester to build a working, full-sized bridge next semester,” said Hughes.


Cutline: Gabriel Means, Justin Hughes and Dairon Houston constructed a scale model of Regency Bridge for their Engineering Design Project class.

New Horizons Band expands music opportunities for senior citizens; informational meeting scheduled for Dec. 17

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts is pleased to announce the formation of the Heart of Texas New Horizons Band in January 2020, as part of the New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA).

The band is open to adults who are at least 50 years old. No previous musical experience is required. Participation is free, thanks to an initiative by the HPU Department of Music and a grant from the New Horizons International Foundation. An informational meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 17 in the band room of HPU’s Davidson Music Complex. Classes for beginners will be held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., starting January 14.

The NHIMA is an initiative seeking to expand music making opportunities for adults. The band will join 215 existing New Horizons Bands in America, Canada and Australia, including seven in Texas.

Stephen Goacher, director of the Heart of Texas New Horizons Band and professor of music at HPU, said, “We are offering a ‘quality of life’ opportunity for seniors of Brownwood and our local communities – the opportunity to greet each day with a meaningful challenge through learning and sharing music.”

Those who would like to know more but are unable to attend the informational meeting may contact Stephen Goacher at (325) 649-8167.

The pilot program for the New Horizons Band grew from a medical experiment by the Rochester Clinic and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in 1991 investigating whether senior adults could learn new processes. The experiment proved conclusively that learning never stops and that senior citizens have a great capacity to learn and grow throughout life. The research shows that socialization is an important factor in good health. There is evidence that music making supports good mental and physical health. The mental challenge of learning music is an ideal form of exercise for the brain. Research investigates the link between active music making and wellness. Early studies indicate that music making can reduce depression and increase the strength of the immune system.

New Horizons Bands fulfill important needs for adults, such as the need for challenging intellectual growth, the need to be a contributing member of a group and the need to have exciting events in the future.


Cutline: Pictured are Heart of Texas New Horizons Band advocates Angie Dees, director of the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center; Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts; Kim Springfield, membership director of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce; Leesa Stephens, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries; and Stephen Goacher, director of the Heart of Texas New Horizons Band and professor of music at HPU.

HPU and surrounding communities celebrate the Christmas season

BROWNWOOD – December 9, 2019 – Howard Payne University personnel and students joined with the university’s neighbors in Brownwood, Early and other area communities to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season during “An HPU Family Christmas.” Held at the university on the evening of Dec. 2, the event included a concert, carol singing, the lighting of Christmas decorations and a reading of the Christmas story.

“It was great to enjoy Christmas festivities with the HPU family – our students, personnel, alumni and the surrounding communities,” said Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president. “We were happy to welcome our neighbors to campus to celebrate the Christmas season together.”



The evening began with a Christmas concert at First Baptist Church of Brownwood presented by the combined HPU choirs and the HPU Festival Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. The concert also featured a special appearance by a children’s chorus comprised of students from East and Northwest Elementary schools, directed by Jennifer Gwathmey and Dean Kiesling.

Following the concert, festivities moved to HPU’s Old Main Park with the university’s traditional tree lighting, the singing of Christmas carols and a reading by Dr. Hines of the biblical account of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke. The events on campus were accompanied by hot cocoa, snacks and an appearance by Santa Claus.


Cutline #1: The combined HPU choirs and the HPU Festival Orchestra perform at First Baptist Church of Brownwood.

Cutline #2: Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, reads the Christmas story from the book of Luke.

Cutline #3:Christmas decorations on HPU’s Old Main Park were lit during “An HPU Family Christmas.”

Cutline #4 (for event logo): HPU welcomed the public to an evening of Christmas celebrations on Dec. 2.

More than 2,000 meals served during annual Thanksgiving feast at HPU

BROWNWOOD – December 6, 2019 – More than 2,300 meals were served during the 36th annual Community Thanksgiving Feast, held at Howard Payne University’s Mabee University Center on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly 600 meals were served on campus, while volunteers delivered more than 1,700 meals in the Brownwood and Early areas to those unable to join friends and neighbors at HPU.

Bill Fishback, an organizer of the event and associate vice president for business and human resources at HPU, thanked the more than 550 volunteers and donors who helped make the meal possible.

“The thoughtfulness of these donors and volunteers helped bring countless smiles to those who enjoyed the meal, as well as to those who served it,” Fishback said. “This meal could not have happened without these volunteers’ and donors’ support. Special thanks also goes to our Sodexo food service staff, including General Manager Jeff Hammeken and Chef James Gilbert, for planning and preparing the delicious meals enjoyed by a record number of guests this year.”

To help support future Thanksgiving meals, please make checks payable to the “Community Thanksgiving Feast,” and send them to Bill Fishback, Howard Payne University, 1000 Fisk Street, Suite 210, Brownwood, Texas 76801.


Cutline: The 36th annual Community Thanksgiving Feast was hosted at Howard Payne University.

Howard Payne University thanks donors for overwhelming response on GivingTuesday

BROWNWOOD – December 5, 2019 – Howard Payne University expresses gratitude to its supporters for surpassing the institution’s goals for GivingTuesday, the global day of giving held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. With a total of $68,303 received on December 3, HPU raised more than triple its goal of $20,000 and received gifts from 177 donors, 77 more than the university’s goal.

“HPU was blessed by a strong showing of support from alumni and friends,” said Dr. Dale Meinecke, vice president for development. “There’s an excitement for the university’s new direction and a heightened sense that HPU’s best days are ahead. The response by both regular givers and many new donors shows that people want to be involved in something bigger than themselves.”

Dr. Meinecke noted that, on social media, numerous alumni shared heartfelt reflections on HPU’s positive impact on their lives academically, professionally and spiritually.

“They encouraged fellow alumni and university friends to give in order to secure these same life-changing experiences for the next generation of Christ-centered servant leaders,” he said.

Donors had the opportunity to give to HPU’s Annual Fund, student scholarships, campus improvements and the renovation of the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom building, which houses the university’s prestigious Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“There’s a clear vision right now as directed by our new president, Dr. Cory Hines, and our Board of Trustees that makes it easy for donors to connect one of their passions with God’s purposes for HPU,” Dr. Meinecke said. “There was also motivation for supporters to give because of a $10,000 matching gift and then an additional $5,000 matching gift. With the matching gifts, every dollar given was doubled up to $30,000.”

HPU’s communication to prospective donors in advance of GivingTuesday emphasized how all gifts, regardless of size, would benefit students.

“The gifts from our donors will go to secure HPU as an outstanding academic community where students can retreat to the heart of Texas and receive a genuinely Christ-centered, quality higher education,” said Dr. Hines. “With these funds, we will be able to offer more scholarships to students and improve learning and living spaces that will enhance the student experience. We are also grateful for those who gave toward renovating the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom building, home of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, which equips and trains many of HPU’s best and brightest students. We are truly grateful to every donor who partnered with us to make this day a huge win for our students.”

GivingTuesday began in 2012 as a response to Black Friday and highlights the importance of giving to non-profit organizations that serve their communities.

Prospective donors who were not able to give on GivingTuesday can still donate and support HPU’s students by visiting


Cutline: Howard Payne University expresses thankfulness for the support shown on GivingTuesday.

HPU to hold fall Commencement ceremony this Saturday

Howard Payne University will hold its fall Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at 10 a.m. at the university’s historic L.J. Mims Auditorium. The auditorium is located on HPU’s campus, near the intersection of Center Avenue and Austin Avenue.

Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, and other university representatives will confer the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Delivering the charge to the graduates is Dr. Steve Bezner, senior pastor of Houston Northwest Baptist Church.

Commencement will be preceded on Friday, Dec. 6, by the Chime Out ceremony, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, symbolizing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to those students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. Chime Out begins at 6 p.m. at L.J. Mims Auditorium.

Both events will be livestreamed on Facebook at


Cutline: HPU’s historic L.J. Mims Auditorium is the site for the university’s fall Chime Out and Commencement ceremonies.

Eight from HPU’s social work program participate in Mission Waco Poverty Simulation

Six Howard Payne University students, a faculty member and a retired faculty member recently took part in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation. The goal of the trip was to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America. This was HPU’s 10th year to participate in the event.

Mission Waco creates a safe, controlled weekend of experiences that are designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty. HPU students joined approximately 25 other people of various ages to go through this simulation together.

Those who made the trip included Rachel Derrington Bourke, professor of social work and director of the social work program; sophomore Felicia Guzman of Natalia; senior David Manolof of Midway, Arkansas; senior Shantel Oplotnik of Brownwood; senior Destiny Sharp of Brownwood; senior Andrew Taylor of Brookesmith; and sophomore Diana Torres from Houston.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor emeritus of social work, also accompanied the group, making this his 10th time participating in the poverty simulation.

“It was a privilege to once again participate in the weekend with a group of HPU students,” he said. “The experience always serves to emphasize how people of faith should respond to poverty. It is always my hope that the students bring back a greater sensitivity to those who live in the margins of society and a clearer understanding of their obligation as Christians to advocate and assist those in need.”

Attendees experienced a very small sample of the hunger, tiredness and hardship many homeless people have to endure on a daily basis. With the exception of travel to a service project, they walked everywhere they needed to go, which totaled about 14 miles over the weekend.

“The experience helps social work students better understand the needs of the marginalized and oppressed,” said Derrington Bourke. “When it is time for the students to go into practice, they will be better informed to provide services and create community initiatives to build pathways out of poverty.”

The group had the opportunity to attend a church service and worship at the Magnolia Market Silos in Waco on Sunday morning. Mission Waco conducts the church services and, as part of the simulation, participants walked one-and-a-half miles to the worship site. Groups of people from all over Waco, including college students, families and homeless people, join together to worship there.

“Once at the Silos we were greeted by the biggest smiles and warmest welcomes,” said Shantel Oplotnik. “The congregation was full of homeless people. What an inspiration it was to see those who have absolutely nothing praising God.”

Derrington Bourke expressed the importance of these types of experiences for students going into the social field.

“Our future social work leaders are tasked to help communities break down the stereotypes about people in poverty and build partnerships,” said Derrington Bourke. “The goal is to provide resources so each and every individual will be able to reach his or her full potential.”


Cutline: Eight from HPU participated in the 2019 Poverty Simulation in Waco. From left to right are Rachel Derrington Bourke, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program; Diana Torres; David Manolof; Felicia Guzman; Andrew Taylor; Destiny Sharp; and Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor emeritus. Not pictured is Shantel Oplotnik.