News Archives: Alumni Relations

HPU names Laura Benoit director of alumni relations

Laura Benoit director for webBROWNWOOD – September 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently named Laura Benoit as director of alumni relations. Benoit joined the university’s staff in October 2014 as assistant director of alumni relations and was promoted in 2016 to the position of associate director.

“Laura has been a valuable member of our staff for the past three years and is a natural fit in this role,” said Randy Yeakley, vice president for development. “We’re proud to have her working with our vast network of alumni and former students.”

Benoit said she’s enjoyed meeting many of HPU’s alumni and friends.

“These individuals helped shape the university’s rich history, so it’s a joy to have the opportunity to develop relationships with them,” she said.

Prior to arriving at HPU, Benoit served as director of parent relations for Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, New York. She and her husband, Joseph, have two adult children, Amanda and Aaron.

Among other responsibilities at HPU, Benoit will oversee the university’s Homecoming celebrations each fall. HPU’s Homecoming 2017 festivities are slated for October 20-21.

For more information, contact HPU’s Office of Alumni Relations at 325-649-8044 or alumni@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Laura Benoit was recently named director of alumni relations at HPU.

Mark Albin of Crandall among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

AlbinBROWNWOOD – September 26, 2017 – Mark Albin of Crandall has been named Howard Payne University’s Homecoming Grand Marshal. He is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Albin and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

A 1979 HPU graduate, Albin earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree in religious education with a minor in recreation. He was very involved at HPU, participating in the Ministerial Alliance, Dorm Council, Student Foundation, intramurals and the Baptist Student Union among other activities.

He has served as a youth minister and educator and has been in the pawn shop business for more than 30 years. He is an active member at Point View Baptist Church in Combine, served eight years on the Crandall ISD School Board and is a retired Crandall volunteer firefighter.

Albin and his wife, Beth, have three children – Angela, Amanda and Adam – and four grandchildren. Angela and her husband, Tim Groves, are both HPU graduates.

He said that HPU’s small-school atmosphere prepared him for future success.

“Howard Payne is a place where a student, usually away from home for the first time, can develop lifelong relationships in a safe environment,” he said. “I’m truly thankful to be an alumnus of this wonderful university.”

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Cutline: Mark Albin of Crandall is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

Dr. Allen Reed of Brownwood among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

ReedBROWNWOOD – September 22, 2017 – Dr. Allen Reed of Brownwood has been named a recipient of Howard Payne University’s Medal of Service. He is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Dr. Reed and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

After 34 years of service to the university, Dr. Reed retired from HPU in May 2015 as professor of music and university organist. Dr. Reed was an integral member of HPU’s faculty, serving as teacher, performer, mentor, colleague and leader.

He continues to lend his musical talents to the university, often serving as organist for HPU concerts. He additionally plays the organ at Brownwood’s First Baptist Church and Coggin Avenue Baptist Church.

He and his wife, Judy, have three children, Elisabeth, Katie ’01 and David ’05. Additionally, the couple has four grandchildren.

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Cutline: Dr. Allen Reed of Brownwood is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

Mac Eric Villanueba of Paradise among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

Villanueba HC HonoreeBROWNWOOD – September 15, 2017 – Mac Eric “Villy” Villanueba of Paradise has been named Outstanding Young Graduate by Howard Payne University. He is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Villanueba and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Villanueba graduated from HPU in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and a minor in Spanish. While a student, he participated in the Sigma Theta Phi fraternity and the Student Planning Committee.

Since graduating, he has served as a patrol deputy with the Hood County Sheriff’s Office and is currently a patrol corporal for Palmer Police Department. Earlier in 2017, he was honored by the Garland Police Department for taking heroic, life-saving actions in rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle.

He is active in his church, Watermark Community Church of Dallas, where he serves with the young adults ministry and plays in the church league softball team.

He believes the biggest way HPU prepared him for success was by teaching him how to be a Christ-like servant.

“As a supervisor, I get to be a servant to my officers and I get an opportunity to reveal to them a Christ-centered style of leadership,” he said. “I honestly believe that I would have not learned all of these things if it were not for HPU.”

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Cutline: Mac Eric “Villy” Villanueba of Paradise is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

Dr. Mark Baker of Fort Worth among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

Dr Mark BakerBROWNWOOD – September 11, 2017 – Dr. Mark Baker of Fort Worth has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of Howard Payne University. He is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Dr. Baker and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Dr. Baker, HPU class of 1972, earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a major in chemistry and a minor in biology. While at HPU, he participated in the Yellow Jacket Band, Gamma Beta Phi Society, Kappa Kappa Psi-Zeta Beta Chapter and Alpha Chi-Texas Pi Chapter. Following graduation, Dr. Baker earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed an internship at Public Health Services Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, and his residency at Fort Worth Osteopathic Medical Center. Dr. Baker currently serves at Graham Regional Medical Center.

He has received many honors and awards throughout his career including Distinguished Alumnus of the Year from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (1995); Fellow in American Osteopathic College of Radiology (2005); Dean’s Award for Philanthropy – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (2006); Honorary Doctorate Degree from Rocky Vista University, College of Osteopathic Medicine (2017); and Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association (2017).

He has numerous publications to his credit, and his professional activities and civic engagement are extensive. He and his wife, Rita, have two adult children, Christopher and Carrie.

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Cutline: Dr. Mark Baker of Fort Worth is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

Candis Hicks of San Angelo among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

Candis HicksBROWNWOOD – August 29, 2017 – Candis (Rodgers) Hicks of San Angelo has been named a Distinguished Alumna of Howard Payne University. She is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Hicks and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Hicks completed a Bachelor of Music Education degree from HPU in 1978. While at the university, she was involved with Baptist Student Union and A Cappella Choir. She was also a class officer her junior and senior years. Upon graduating from HPU, she earned a Master of Music Education degree and administrative certification from Angelo State University.

She has completed 31 years in public education, including time spent as a choral music teacher, principal and private studio voice and piano teacher. She has also served as a wedding coordinator and as a consultant for the San Angelo Symphony. Her civic involvement includes serving with Young Life San Angelo, a children’s ministry, as well as teaching Sunday School and being active in Bible study through her church. She has one son, Hunter Rodgers Hicks.

Hicks said attending and graduating from HPU was one of the greatest blessings in her life.

“Howard Payne brought forth a missions heart in me that had been building since childhood,” she said. “The spiritual emphasis and spirit of the campus gave me a foundation for both good and bad times that lay ahead. The education classes were specific in what teaching would entail and the camaraderie with other music majors, as well as the choral experiences, gave me a great starting point, support system and network.”

For more information about HPU Homecoming 2017, visit www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

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Cutline: Candis (Rodgers) Hicks ’78 is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

HPU confers 134 degrees at close of spring 2017 semester

BROWNWOOD – June 22, 2017 – Howard Payne University awarded 134 degrees during its Commencement ceremony held at the close of the spring 2017 semester.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and other university representatives conferred the degrees.

Students must have a 3.55-3.69 grade-point average to graduate Cum Laude; a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude; and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduates included:

Alleyton
Danielle Mae Parkhurst – Bachelor of Arts in social science (global studies)

Anson
Kierstyn Lauren Evans – Bachelor of Science in forensic science

Arlington
Tayler Brittany Rushing – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)

Austin
Ashley Paige Miller – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general)

Ballinger
Ely Chance Self – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Magna Cum Laude

Bangs
Don Leland Greenwood – Bachelor of Science in psychology (counseling/clinical), Summa Cum Laude
Katherine Elizabeth Hailey – Bachelor of Science in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and social science (jurisprudence), Summa Cum Laude
Melissa Dawn Ramirez – Bachelor of Science in biology

Boerne
Daniel Harris – Bachelor of Arts in biblical languages and cross-cultural studies

Brady
Bracken Cole Bean – Master of Arts in theology and ministry

Brownwood
Elizabeth Sue Allen – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies and English
Chad Holman Anders – Bachelor of Arts in communication studies (public and media)
Abby Noelle Anguiano – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6)
Tammy Fay Arreola – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (physical education), Cum Laude
Christy Renee Ash – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development), Magna Cum Laude
Gabriel Wise Cardenas – Bachelor of Science in business administration
Teresa E. Cavitt – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership
Abram L. Choate – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership
James David Crow – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude
Kegan Dean Duncan – Master of Business Administration
Shannon Rose Ellis – Bachelor of Arts in family studies
Cherita Mae George – Bachelor of Arts in English language arts and reading (high school: grade 8-12)
Jennifer Lee Gwathmey – Master of Education in instructional leadership
Jessica Leigh Harris – Bachelor of Business Administration in management
Amelia M. Iafrate – Master of Business Administration
David Andrew Lambert – Bachelor of Arts in history (high school: grade 8-12)
Stephen A. Lynn – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership
William Hays Massey – Master of Business Administration
Jordan Audrey Mays – Bachelor of Arts in family studies
Daniel Juan Meza – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Jakob Richard Morris – Bachelor of Arts in English
Eanna Martin O’Gorman – Master of Business Administration
Eva Adelaida Ozuna – Bachelor of Arts in family studies
Priscilla Lynn Rodriguez – Bachelor of Science in biology
William Thomas Rumfield – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)
Stephen Kelly Skelton – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Stephanie B. Turney-Ivey – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership
Mari Amy Villarreal – Bachelor of Business Administration in management
Brittony Nicole Walker – Bachelor of Science in family studies

Bryan
Dezmun D’Andre Williams – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Cibolo
Gabriela Castillo – Master of Education in instructional leadership

Cleburne
Taylor Renea Bicknell – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Copperas Cove
Robert Vincent Martinez – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology

Desoto
Sharon Allen Wolverton – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Magna Cum Laude

Dublin
Aaron Robert Callaway – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (all-level certification)

Early
Chad Worth Burleson – Master of Education in instructional leadership
Colby Scott Compton – Bachelor of Arts in studio art, Cum Laude
Kelly Franks – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (all-level certification)
Thomas Harrison Givan – Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing, Magna Cum Laude

Eastland
Cody Neal Perrin – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and history (European emphasis), Magna Cum Laude
Dezeray Dawn Tafte – Bachelor of Science in athletic training

El Paso
Sarahi Castillo – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)
Roxana Cofresi – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (Bible concentration)
Isabel Gonzalez – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration, Cum Laude
Brian Alan Seguin – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)

Ferris
Olivia Ann Belsher – Bachelor of Arts in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Florence
John Curtis Elmore – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership

Floresville
Kyle Alan Ramon – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Fort Worth
Keafer King Clegg – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership
Trey Weldon Franks – Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing
Hannah Elise Williamson – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (all-level certification), Magna Cum Laude

Fredericksburg
Kara Rene Strange – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Georgetown
Isaac Harrison Howell – Bachelor of Arts in theatre
Rachel Ann Mahagan – Bachelor of Business Administration in management information systems, Summa Cum Laude
Mason Marie Samsel – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Summa Cum Laude
Sydney Drew Spencer – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, social work and social science (global studies), Magna Cum Laude
Scott Thomas Turner – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry
Aaron William Walling – Bachelor of Science in biology, Cum Laude

Goldthwaite
Priscilla Deann Gilbert – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6)
Julie Marie Hart – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Summa Cum Laude
Jody Michael Loudamy – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Summa Cum Laude

Granbury
Kayla Michelle Smith – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6)

Greenville
Anna Lauren Jeffers – Bachelor of Arts in Christian education, Magna Cum Laude

Gunter
J Brian Bailey – Bachelor of Science in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and social science (jurisprudence)

Hallettsville
Dillon Keith McCord – Bachelor of Arts in biblical languages and youth ministry

Harper
Taylor Kay Reid – Bachelor of Science in biology

Huntington
Tonya Gale Williams – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration, Cum Laude

Justin
Hannah Joan Ball – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development), Magna Cum Laude

Kaufman
Daniel Esperon Palacios – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology

Kerrville
James Vincent Abbatiello – Bachelor of Arts in communication studies (public and media), Summa Cum Laude

Kingsville
Brett Ollen Quackenbush – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Las Cruces, New Mexico
David S. Goniotakis – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (biblical languages concentration)

Lexington
Joshua N. O’Conner – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Lockhart
Josiah James Horton – Bachelor of Music in church music (voice)

Lytle
Jaclyn Rose Bonner – Bachelor of Arts in communication studies (public and media), Summa Cum Laude

Mansfield
Mikayla Elizabeth Burckhard – Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

May
Vanessa Monique Pate – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Magna Cum Laude
Amber Rose Shipman – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Magna Cum Laude

Midland
Garland Lucas Burge – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership
Andrew Mitchell Erwin – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
MaryClaire Swallow – Bachelor of Science in family studies

Mission
Gil Eduardo Jaime – Bachelor of Science in biochemistry

Montgomery
Candace Leeann Montgomery – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Magna Cum Laude

New Braunfels
Jana Lee Acosta – Master of Education in instructional leadership
Matthew Ryan Aguirre – Master of Business Administration
Alicia Dees – Master of Business Administration
Dallas Joe Freeman – Bachelor of Science in business administration, Summa Cum Laude
Matthew Alexander Nunez – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Daniel Reina – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration
Jennifer Ann Sanders – Bachelor of Science in business administration, Summa Cum Laude
Sandi Renee Shahan – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

Nocona
Rebecca Nicole Hamilton – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Oakland, California
Sabrina M. Ochoa – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Odessa
Alex Jay Sanchez – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Orange Grove
Sara Ashleigh Wood – Bachelor of Science in life science (high school: grade 8-12)

Perryton
Keaton James Fletcher – Bachelor of Science in biology, Summa Cum Laude

Pleasant Hill, California
Jack Henry Judd – Bachelor of Science in criminal justice (forensic science), Magna Cum Laude

Ponder
Jorden Alexander Young – Master of Education in sport wellness and leadership

Ralls
Amber Jo Willson – Master of Education in instructional leadership

Roanoke
Roderick Boardman Adams – Bachelor of Science in English language arts and reading (high school: grade 8-12)

Robert Lee
Lubbock Michelle Roe – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (youth ministry concentration)

Rockwall
Blake Robert Wynn – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice (forensic science)

Saginaw
Elizabeth Anne Fargo – Bachelor of Science in athletic training

Salado
Thomas Parker Kyle – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies, Summa Cum Laude

San Angelo
Anthony Edward McCarson – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology

San Antonio
Andrew Uriah Collazo – Bachelor of Arts in biblical languages
Taylor Gorman – Bachelor of Science in business administration, Cum Laude
Arthur Joseph Hettler – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (all-level certification), Cum Laude
William Rangel-Alfaro – Bachelor of Science in athletic training
Jacqueline Marie Vega – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general)
Nathan Richard Weyrauch – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting

San Marcos
Erin Renee’ Hudson – Master of Education in instructional leadership

Savannah, Georgia
Shanique Denise Davis-Campbell – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Scurry
Rachel Renea Hitt – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Seguin
Robin Rae Kunkel – Master of Business Administration

Southlake
Braxton Stone Clark – Bachelor of Arts in social science (global studies), Magna Cum Laude

Springtown
Elizabeth Ann Rainey – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6)

Temple
Zachary Paul Eller – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and political science (pre-law) and Bachelor of Science in business administration, Magna Cum Laude

Waskom
Diana Rebeca Puente Chavar – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and political science/pre-law, Summa Cum Laude

Weatherford
Morgan Paige Ashmore – Bachelor of Arts in communication studies (public and media), Magna Cum Laude
Kaylee Jae Blevins – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6)
Bailey Michelle Waller – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood-grade 6)

Wilmer
Lamonica M. Sharp – Master of Education in instructional leadership

HPU alumnus honored for heroism

Eric VillanuebaBROWNWOOD – June 1, 2017 – Corporal Eric “Villy” Villanueba, a 2014 Howard Payne University graduate, was recently honored by the Garland Police Department for taking heroic, life-saving actions after rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle.

Cpl. Villanueba, then a deputy in the Hood County Sheriff’s Office, was on his way home from work last November when he witnessed the single-vehicle accident in Garland. A car went over a bridge, landed on its hood and immediately caught on fire.

“It was about two or three in the morning and I was the only one around,” said Cpl. Villanueba. “I sprinted down the hill praying that there wasn’t more than one person in the car because I knew it would be hard to get everyone out.”

As the flames were near the front of the vehicle, Cpl. Villanueba used his baton to break the back window and a knife to cut through the deployed airbags. Unable to see clearly, he called out but received no response.

“I crawled into the car and saw someone in the driver’s seat, hanging from the seatbelt,” he said. “She was unresponsive and bleeding severely.”

As the flames grew closer, Cpl. Villanueba cut the woman’s seatbelt and began to drag her toward the back window. Others had arrived on scene by that time and helped him pull the woman from the car.

“By God’s grace, it was perfect timing,” he said. “The car engulfed in flames as soon as we got out.”

Cpl. Villanueba, now an officer with Palmer Police Department, credits his training for his quick actions.

“We’re trained to do things like that even if our lives are at risk,” he said. “My only thought was to save as many people as I could.”

He is thankful for education he received through HPU’s criminal justice program.

“Howard Payne gave me a servant’s heart,” he said. “Professors like Lynn Humeniuk teach you how to serve others and be there for others. HPU is where I rededicated my life to God.”

Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program, said she was not surprised to learn that Cpl. Villanueba saved a life.

“He was born to serve and protect,” she said. “As an undergraduate on the HPU campus, Villy was popular with faculty and students and he was a leader who continually gave above and beyond what was needed to get a job completed. I have seen him several times since November and only learned last week from someone else that he saved a woman’s life. He is humble in that way, and a true professional in every sense of the word. I am very proud of this HPU graduate from the criminal justice program, and I know that God will continue to use him in a mighty way.”

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Cutline: Corporal Eric “Villy” Villanueba, a 2014 HPU graduate, was recently honored by the Garland Police Department for his heroic, life-saving actions.

Recent HPU graduate accepted into forensic science graduate program

Kierstyn Evans for webBROWNWOOD – May 16, 2017 – Among the Howard Payne University seniors who crossed the stage during HPU’s recent Commencement ceremony was Kierstyn Evans of Anson. Evans, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science, has been accepted into the forensic science graduate program at Texas Tech University.

Evans is a lifelong fan of Texas Tech and originally planned to earn her undergraduate degree there as well.

“Tech was my dream school,” she said. “I wasn’t planning on going anywhere else.”

Upon learning that the university did not offer an undergraduate forensic science major, however, she was left with a big choice.

“I was either going to stick with forensic science and go to a different school or change my major to go to my dream school,” she said.

Despite being accepted to Texas Tech during her senior year of high school, she decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in forensic science. She took to the Internet to research her options.

Around that same time, she learned about HPU through her high school band director and associate band director, both of whom are alumni. When HPU came up in her searches for undergraduate forensic science programs in Texas, she decided to visit campus.

“I remember that my tour guide talked about how close everyone is on campus,” Evans said. “The more I looked into Howard Payne, the more I liked it.”

The forensic science offering at HPU is a relatively unique program, said Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of physical science and director of the chemistry program.

“Most universities that offer training in forensic science include it as an emphasis under criminal justice, rather than as a standalone major,” he said.

A forensic science major combined with HPU’s friendly campus atmosphere made the university an obvious choice for Evans. She served as a Jacket Ambassador for HPU’s Office of Admission as a student, leading her own university tours.

“I told prospective students that they will have professors who truly care about them,” she said. “There was a professor I had my freshman year who still knew my major and remembered things we talked about years later. I don’t think you can get that from other universities.”

Though it wasn’t what she originally planned, Evans is happy with her decision to come to HPU first.

“I love Howard Payne,” she said. “Especially being from a small town, I feel like I would have gotten lost in the crowd at Tech. I like the small classes at HPU.”

Dr. Smith said Evans is the first student whose progress he has witnessed from beginning to end.

“She enrolled in general chemistry I with me and concluded in instrumental analysis this spring,” he said. “Few students have been willing to enroll in the full complement of chemistry courses that the forensic science degree requires, but Kierstyn persevered. I am proud of her accomplishment and look forward to news of her continued success.”

Another big factor in Evans’ decision to come to HPU was the Central Texas Scholarship which awards substantial financial assistance to graduates from high schools in Jones County and other counties in the Central Texas area. For more information about this and other financial aid opportunities, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Kierstyn Evans, a recent HPU graduate, has been accepted into the forensic science graduate program at Texas Tech University.

HPU Yellow Rose Award presented to Brownwood’s Ann Jones

Ann Jones with rosesBROWNWOOD – April 20, 2017 – The Howard Payne University Woman’s Club presented alumna Ann Jones of Brownwood with the prestigious Yellow Rose Award during the club’s annual Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon held recently on campus.

Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady and Woman’s Club president, surprised Jones with a commemorative plaque and bouquet of yellow roses. The award is given annually to a woman who has exhibited exemplary leadership within her sphere of influence, who has exhibited fiscal, emotional or physical support to the ongoing of the university and who represents Christian values and beliefs foundational to HPU.

Jones and her husband co-owned a manufacturing company in Dallas and later, after selling the family business, moved back to Brownwood. In 2011, she opened her own business, Ann Jones Real Estate.

Jones’ list of civic involvement and volunteer efforts is extensive. It includes affiliations such as Brownwood Community Concert Association Board, Brownwood Preservation Partnership, Arts Council of Brownwood, Keep Brownwood Beautiful, The Woman’s Club of Brownwood, Brownwood Garden Culture Club, Downtown Brownwood Association, Brownwood Coalition, Brown County Republican Women, Brownwood Bulletin Newspaper Advisory Board, Girl Scouts Heart of Texas Council, Board of Trustees for First United Methodist Church of Brownwood, Texas Christian Women’s Job Corps, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross Board of Directors, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Board of Directors and many more.

She impacts the lives of current HPU students through gifts to the Annual Fund, the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Fund and the A Call to Send Campaign.

“Ann is a blessing to everyone who knows her,” said Dr. Diana Ellis. “I personally know she is truly an inspiration. The way she lives her life – faithfully serving and doing what needs to be done – is a gift she freely shares with others.”

Diana Ellis with Shirley Barret for webThe guest speaker for this year’s luncheon was Dr. Shirley Cothran Barret, former Miss America and noted speaker and author.

For more information about the HPU Woman’s Club, visit www.hputx.edu/womansclub, e-mail womansclub@hputx.edu or call 325-649-8305.

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Cutline: The Howard Payne University Woman’s Club recently presented Ann Jones of Brownwood with the prestigious Yellow Rose Award.

Dr. Shirley Cothan Barret, right, former Miss America and noted speaker and author, was the guest speaker at this year’s Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon at HPU. She is pictured with Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady and Woman’s Club president.