News Archives: Faculty and Staff News

HPU faculty members attend TSCA state convention

Two faculty members of Howard Payne University’s Department of Communication attended the Texas Speech Communication Association’s (TSCA) state convention held recently in Amarillo. The faculty members, Dr. Julie Welker and Richelle Hair, both had an opportunity to be on a discussion panel.

Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication, served on a panel titled “Online Communication Classes as Echo Chambers: Are We Killing the Face-to-Face Experience?” which addressed the current enrollment trends of online communication courses. Dr. Welker’s presentation focused on ways to increase student success in online classes, including student training for taking online classes, better pedagogical practices in online education and improving interpersonal communication online.

“Technological increases don’t automatically transfer over to better online communication, despite the perception that it might,” she said. “As student demand for online courses increases, our online classrooms must be a place where good, insightful communication and learning occurs.”

Dr. Welker has been attending the convention for several years and believes the conference is important for communication educators. She also serves on the Bylaws Committee for the TSCA.

“Both secondary teachers and professors at higher education institutions benefit from the rich programs and training opportunities the conference provides,” she said.

Richelle Hair, instructor of communication, served as the chair of the panel titled “Squashing Echoes – Title IX in Higher Education and Sexual Harassment in Secondary Education.” Hair served as the facilitator for this discussion, focusing on how Title IX plays a role in minimizing sexual assault and harassment in both secondary and higher education.

“Faculty must understand the importance and implications of Title IX,” she said. “This is a significant issue that has implications for our students and faculty alike. Students, faculty and staff need to understand their role in reporting.”

Hair added that she was thankful for the opportunity to attend the TSCA conference this year.

“The programs were insightful and I enjoyed collaborating with faculty from other universities,” she said. “TSCA has a warm and inviting environment and I felt I had an open seat at the table to share and learn with my colleagues.”

TSCA is the largest state professional communication association in the nation. Membership in TSCA is open to any communication educator, communication student, communication consultant or individual interested in learning about the field of speech communication. All levels of instruction and areas of interests are represented in the association.

The benefits of membership in TSCA include updated professional awareness, networking with other professionals, and exposure to innovation, teaching methodologies and scholarly works relevant to the discipline of speech communication.

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Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Julie Welker (left) and Richelle Hair recently attended the TSCA state convention.

HPU welcomes more than 120 to first Community Leadership Lunch and Learn event

Howard Payne University recently hosted more than 120 individuals for the first installment of the Community Leadership Lunch and Learn series. The event, held at HPU’s Mabee University Center, featured a meal catered by Sodexo and a presentation on blockchain technology by Dr. Lester Towell, chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems (CIS) and professor of CIS, and Dr. Jodi Goode, assistant vice president for information technology services and chief information officer.

The program also included a student testimonial by Lauren Piper, a junior from Early majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and jurisprudence, and special music by Suzanne Schad, a senior from Briggs studying music education.

Ann Jones Real Estate was the title sponsor for the event. Table sponsors were 3M Brownwood, Blevins Body Shop, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Brownwood Regional Medical Center, Citizens National Bank, Kohler Co., Painter & Johnson Financial, Porter Insurance Agency, Robnett Integra Insurance Services, Smith & Sharpe Insurance Agency, TexasBank, Texas GoldStar Real Estate and Wendlee Broadcasting.

Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, shared his appreciation for the sponsors of the event and all who attended.

“I couldn’t be happier with our first Lunch and Learn event and am thankful for all who supported it,” said Dr. Hines. “Sodexo served a great lunch, Dr. Towell and Dr. Goode gave an insightful presentation and the event was a wonderful opportunity for our community and HPU to connect. I look forward to the next installment of our series in the spring.”

Details about the next Community Leadership Lunch and Learn event will be announced in early 2020. To sponsor a future Lunch and Learn event, please contact Sareta Delgado, executive assistant to the vice president for development, at sdelgado@hputx.edu or 325-649-8048.

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Cutline: Pictured at HPU’s first Community Leadership Lunch and Learn event are, from left, Dr. Cory Hines, HPU’s president; Ann Jones of Ann Jones Real Estate, title sponsor of the event; Dr. Jodi Goode, HPU’s assistant vice president for information technology services and chief information officer; and Dr. Lester Towell, chair of HPU’s Department of Computer Information Systems (CIS) and professor of CIS. Dr. Goode and Dr. Towell gave a presentation on blockchain technology.

HPU’s Sutton completes Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

Dr Laci SuttonBROWNWOOD – October 18, 2018 – Dr. Laci Sutton, assistant professor of nursing at Howard Payne University, recently completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P) degree from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

She additionally holds a Master of Science in Nursing Education and Administration degree from Lubbock Christian University and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from HPU.

“I am proud not only of Dr. Sutton’s academic accomplishments, but also of her outstanding service to the university on a daily basis,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer.

Dr. Sutton and Dr. Nina Ouimette, HPU’s dean of nursing, were instrumental in securing HPU’s unanimous approval from the Texas Board of Nursing to offer the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. HPU is authorized to admit incoming students declared as nursing majors as early as the fall 2018 semester. These students will subsequently undergo a rigorous and competitive process to gain admission to the university’s School of Nursing during the spring semester of their sophomore year. If admitted to the program, students will start BSN coursework the following semester (fall 2019).

In addition to incoming first-year students, transfer students and HPU upperclassmen may enroll as nursing majors with plans to apply to HPU’s School of Nursing during the latter portion of their sophomore year.

For more information about HPU and its academic offerings, visit www.hputx.edu. The School of Nursing may be contacted by e-mail at nursing@hputx.edu or by phone at 325-649-8182.

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Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Laci Sutton recently completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P) degree from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

HPU faculty member selected for the Texas Speech Communication Association’s College and University Committee

Dr. Welker for newsBROWNWOOD – October 17, 2018 – Dr. Julie Welker, chair of Howard Payne University’s Department of Communication and professor of communication, was recently named to the Texas Speech Communication Association’s College and University Committee along with several communication educators from other institutions.

“These appointees represent the best and brightest professors from the fields of communication and theatre that Texas universities and community colleges have to offer,” said Wade Hescht, president of the TSCA. “As a committee, the members are spending this year working to encourage and improve speech communication and theatre arts instruction at the college and university levels.”

Membership in the TSCA is open to professionals, educators and students in the communication field. The primary objective of the TSCA is to promote speech communication and theater education in Texas high schools and universities. An annual conference is held by the organization for Texas communication educators and professionals featuring expert panels discussing topics related to the field of communication.

“We’ve worked to create panels and sessions at the convention that provide information useful to a wide audience of educators, to see needs and to provide assistance to local public schools or private schools that need help in different areas,” said Dr. Welker. “I think what we do as communication educators is particularly beneficial in helping students learn how to be more effective communicators in the professional world.”

Dr. Welker graduated from HPU in 1994 and then obtained her master’s degree in communication studies from Southwest Texas University in San Marcos. Dr. Welker also holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. She returned to teach at her alma mater in 1997 and was recently recognized for 20 years of service at HPU.

She is also a member of and active in leadership roles with the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association, an interest group of TSCA; the National Christian College Forensics Association; and the Instructional Development College and University Interest Group. At HPU, Dr. Welker serves as the coach of Student Speaker Bureau, HPU’s competitive speech and debate team, and adjudicates at numerous UIL speech and debate tournaments.

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2019 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). 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 enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the HPU Department of Communication and professor of communication, was selected to serve on the TSCA’s College and University Committee.

HPU faculty member’s recent books highlight theological traditions

Dr. Derek HatchBROWNWOOD – July 23, 2018 – Writings on theology by Howard Payne University’s Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies, were recently released in two books. One book is a tribute to his mentor and prior professor that contains essays by Dr. Hatch and other scholars. The second book, written solely by Dr. Hatch, argues that Baptist theology should embrace the depth of the whole Christian tradition.

Dr. Hatch joined the HPU faculty in the fall of 2011 as part of the School of Christian Studies. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on subjects including the Bible, theology and Christian ethics. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Brownwood with their four young children and are members of First Baptist Church.

As a tribute, “Weaving the American Catholic Tapestry: Essays in Honor of William L. Portier,” was co-edited by Dr. Hatch and Timothy R. Gabrielli. It is a festschrift, which is an honorary book composed of a collection of essays to honor a particular scholar book 1toward the end of his or her career. Dr. Portier, the man whom the book honors, served as Dr. Hatch’s Ph.D. dissertation supervisor. He is a scholar of American Catholicism at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, and serves there as professor and the Mary Ann Spearin chair of Catholic theology.

“The title of the book comes from the symbolism of different strands woven together to make a single tapestry just as Dr. Portier wove together his  different interests and aspects of American Catholicism,” said Dr. Hatch.

The book, released in 2017, contains essays from 15 scholars who were colleagues, previous students and scholars who respected Dr. Portier’s work. It took four years to complete, from idea to print.

“It was definitely a labor of love and great way to show the love and deep respect that we all have for William Portier,” said Dr. Hatch.

Another book, “Thinking with the Church: Toward a Renewal of Baptist Theology,” was written exclusively by Dr. Hatch. It was released earlier this year through Cascade Books and is part of a series by the publisher called “Free Church, Catholic Tradition” written for Free Church Protestants, of book 2which Baptists are a part. The book series is designed to help people engage the wider Christian tradition. Reflecting biblically, theologically and liturgically on Jesus, the book offers tradition and catholicity as major themes.

“To take Jesus seriously is to take the whole tradition seriously, including all Christian thinking from the apostles forward,” said Dr. Hatch. “Baptists are an important part of that, but they only came on the scene in 1609 – a mere 400 years ago.

Because of this, he went on to say, as Baptists see themselves participating in the whole church, they find new light for understanding the Bible, the life of the church and questions of religious freedom.

Although this book began as his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Hatch said it turned out to be a more heavily revised version of his actual dissertation.

“Your audience tends to change when writing for a dissertation or for a book,” he said. “Also, an author’s thinking evolves over time in that he or she thinks of better ways to say things and learns more as time goes on.”

Dr. Hatch uses his love and study of theology not only to research topics for scholarship but also in his teaching so that his students will be a benefit to the church as a whole. He aims to recognize theology in the many facets of his life including parenting, teaching, research and writing.

“A theologian at his or her best is a theologian for the church,” he said. “My love of theology is not limited to only one area of my life. I don’t think I would be a good teacher or person if I wasn’t always writing and pushing myself in scholarly endeavors and research in theology.”

These and other books to which Dr. Hatch has contributed or written are available for purchase on Amazon.com. For more information, contact Dr. Hatch at dhatch@hputx.edu or 325-649-8135.

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Cutline: Scholarly works by Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies at HPU, are featured in two recently published books.

HPU faculty, staff convene for fall 2017 semester

opening session for web

BROWNWOOD – August 16, 2017 – Howard Payne University faculty and staff convened this morning in advance of the first day of classes for the fall semester. University employees mark the beginning of each fall semester with a time of worship, prayer, fellowship and planning. Rev. Eddie Ailshie, pastor of First Baptist Church of Early, led the morning devotion time in HPU’s Grace Chapel.

Classes begin August 21.

HPU honors faculty and staff for service to university

Faculty Member of the Year 2017 for webBROWNWOOD – May 2, 2017 – Members of Howard Payne University’s faculty and staff were honored during the annual personnel recognition luncheon held recently on the HPU campus. Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music, was named the Outstanding Faculty Member for the year. PJ Gramling, director of admission, was presented the Outstanding Staff Member award.

The outstanding faculty and staff member awards are made possible by Underwood’s Cafeteria and Porter Insurance Agency, respectively.

Certificates recognizing excellence in teaching were presented to Dr. Marilyn Mathis, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Rodney Stephens, associate professor of English. Certificates recognizing excellence in service were presented to staff members Nikki Donathan, cashier, and Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations.

Special plaques commemorating retirement were awarded to Curly Cox, associate professor of kinesiology; Dr. Marilyn Mathis, associate professor of biology; John Nickols, assistant professor of history and government; Dr. Joe Robinson, professor of education and director of the graduate program in instructional leadership; and Lana Wagner, registrar.

HPU Staff Member of the Year 2017 for webAlso receiving awards were:

Five years of service – Estevan Arbaiza, head men’s soccer coach; Emily Attaway, part-time director of financial reporting; Karina Daniel, director of corporate, community and foundation relations; Kelly Franke, coordinator of transfer credit and records; Sarah Griffin, library administrative assistant; David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art; Cindy Harris, development database manager; Dr. Brad Lemler, dean of the School of Business and professor of accounting; Dr. Denny Megarity, assistant professor of chemistry; Meia Netter, head women’s basketball coach; Will Ogden, custodian; Bob Pacatte, assistant chief of the HPU Department of Public Safety; Kim Pickard, financial aid counselor; Dr. Debra Powell, associate professor of business administration; Kenny Richardson, grounds athletic foreman; Matthew Rutkowski, El Paso Center admission counselor; Susan Sharp, teacher certification officer for the School of Education; and Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations.

Ten years of service – Jason Cook, custodian – inventory crew leader; Tammy Dake, custodian; Troy Drummond, head men’s basketball coach and head golf coach; Dr. Nick Ewen, assistant professor of theatre; Brent Groom, carpenter; Danny Ingram, instructor of music; Yvonne Lundy, executive assistant to the associate vice president for enrollment management; José Mata, head women’s softball coach; and Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer.

Fifteen years of service – Chuck Gartman, assistant professor of Christian studies.

Twenty years of service – Curly Cox, associate professor of kinesiology; Marcie Drew, controller; Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of the School of Humanities and professor of English; and Terrie Wells, administrative assistant for the School of Humanities.

Twenty-five years of service – Bill Fishback, associate vice president for business and human resources; Mary Hill, administrative assistant for the School of Business; Wade Kinnin, instruction and outreach services librarian and assistant professor of library science; and Randy Weehunt, public safety officer.

Thirty years of service – Sharon Riker, administrative assistant for the Department of Athletics.

Thirty-five years of service – Chuck Boland, professor of accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting.

Forty-five years of service – Bobbie Price, certification coordinator and graduation assistant.

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Top: Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, third from left, was presented the Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the 2016-2017 academic year at HPU. She is pictured with Paul Underwood, right; Jill Underwood, second from left; and Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, left. The award is made possible by Underwood’s Cafeteria.

Bottom: PJ Gramling, center, received the Outstanding Staff Member Award for the 2016-2017 academic year at HPU. She is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, left, and Robert Porter, right. The award is made possible by Porter Insurance Agency.

HPU promotes eight faculty members at the start of the 2016-2017 year

BROWNWOOD – September 15, 2016 – Howard Payne University announced the promotions of eight faculty members with the start of the fall 2016 semester. Receiving promotions are Dr. Robert Bicknell, Dr. Derek Hatch, Dr. Millard Kimery, Dr. Stephen Kovach, Dr. Brad Lemler, Dr. Matthew McNiece, Dr. Debra Powell and Dr. Craig Younce.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, expressed his appreciation of these individuals and their commitment to excellence.

“When every faculty member is employed, I challenge them to be educators, scholars and citizens,” said Dr. Tew. “A natural outgrowth of pursuing these goals are achievements that warrant promotion. I am delighted that the university provides an encouraging environment in which faculty continue to grow as professionals and educators.”

Dr. Robert Bicknell, accreditation liaison, has been named dean of extended education. He had served as interim dean since 2013. Since joining HPU’s administration in 1989, he has served in a variety of roles including vice president for academic affairs, provost, professor of music and special assistant to the president for accreditation and adult programs. He had previously served as dean of extended education from 2002 to 2005.

Dr. Derek Hatch, formerly assistant professor of Christian studies, was promoted to the rank of associate professor. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2011.

Dr. Millard Kimery, professor of English and chair of the Department of English, has been named dean of the School of Humanities. He had served as interim dean since earlier this year. He has been a faculty member at HPU since 1997.

Dr. Stephen Kovach, a faculty member at HPU’s El Paso Center, was promoted from the rank of assistant professor of Christian studies and criminal justice to associate professor. Dr. Kovach has been on faculty since 2009.

Dr. Brad Lemler, professor of accounting, has been named dean of HPU’s School of Business after serving as interim dean since 2015. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2012.

Dr. Matthew McNiece, who served as assistant director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy since 2013, has been named director of the program. Dr. McNiece, a 2003 HPU graduate, also serves as chair of the Department of History and Government and associate professor of history and government. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2004-2005, then returned in 2007.

Dr. Debra Powell, formerly assistant professor of business administration, was promoted to associate professor. She served as an adjunct faculty member in 2007 and joined the ranks of full-time faculty in 2013.

Dr. Craig Younce was promoted from assistant professor of biology to associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He has been a faculty member at HPU since 2013.

More information about Howard Payne University is available online at www.hputx.edu.

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HPU honors faculty and staff for service to university

Diann Prickett 2016BROWNWOOD – May 3, 2016 – Members of Howard Payne University’s faculty and staff were recently honored at an annual personnel recognition luncheon held on the HPU campus. Dr. Athena Bean, retiring this year from her role as assistant professor of psychology and university counselor, was presented the Outstanding Faculty Member award. Diann Prickett, gift processing and prospect research associate, was named the Outstanding Staff Member for the year.

The outstanding faculty and staff member awards are made possible by Underwood’s Cafeteria and Porter Insurance Agency, respectively.

“We are pleased to recognize Diann and Athena for their outstanding work this year and grateful to the Porter and Underwood families for their continued generosity toward the university,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

Certificates recognizing excellence in teaching were presented to Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of HPU’s Christian studies graduate programs, and Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program.

Certificates recognizing excellence in service were presented to staff members Sandra Alexander, retiring from her role as data specialist, and Jeremy Hogue, systems administrator.

Dr. Athena Bean 2016Special plaques commemorating retirement were awarded to Alexander and Bean as well as Dr. Art Allen, professor of Christian studies; Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication; Don Gunter, general maintenance; and Dr. Kenneth Word, professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Also receiving awards were:

Five years of service – Guy Ament, assistant football coach; Robert Anders, part-time assistant baseball coach; Dr. Danny Brunette-López, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Hispanic Studies; Jonathan Burcham, custodian – work order/special requests crew leader; Casey Cox, grounds supervisor; Jayla Devery, student account coordinator; Nikki Donathan, cashier; Allen Fisher, groundskeeper I; Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies; Dora Hernandez, facilities department coordinator; Dalton Hutchins, head tennis coach; Amy Kresta, instructor of biology; Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Christy Meinecke, major gifts officer, south central region; Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies; Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry; Magda Rodriguez, custodian; Dr. Carmen Santana-Melgoza, professor of business administration; Coby Sauce, director of media relations; Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry; Shannon Turner, instructor of academic services, learning assistance and academic recovery; and Larry Walls, first assistant athletic trainer.

Ten years of service – Tim Cooper, instructor of multimedia communication and computer information systems; P.J. Gramling, director of admission; Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology; Becky Keith, data management coordinator, enrollment services; Mike Lee, instructor of communication and director of student media; Tammy Lowrey, executive assistant to the president; Dr. Matthew McNiece, associate professor of history, chair of the Department of History and Government, and assistant director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy; and Dr. Mike Rosato, adjunct in the School of Education.

Fifteen years of service – Dr. Athena Bean, assistant professor of psychology and university counselor; Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science and director of HPU’s Outdoor Recreation Center and physical activity courses; Dr. Pam Bryant, professor of chemistry and dean of the School of Science and Mathematics; Ferrisa Childs, assistant director of student aid; Mike Dillard, assistant professor of business administration; Cynthia Givan, departmental administrative assistant in the School of Humanities; Carrie Harding, part-time coordinator of the Heart of Texas Literature Center; Mike Terrill, assistant professor of athletic training and director of the athletic training education program; and Jill Underwood, instructor of education.

Twenty years of service – Sandra Alexander, data specialist, financial aid; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, adjunct in the School of Education; Kyle Mize, assistant vice president for university communications; Dr. José Romero, associate professor of mathematics; Dr. Harlan Scott, associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; and Dr. Lester Towell, professor of computer information systems and chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems.

Twenty-five years of service – Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music.

Thirty years of service – Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor of theatre, director of theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre.

Thirty-five years of service – Cheryl Mangrum, associate director of admission; and Dr. Evelyn Romig, distinguished professor of literature.

Forty years of service – Glenda Huff, director of student aid.

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Top picture: Diann Prickett, center, received the Outstanding Staff Member Award for the 2015-2016 academic year at HPU. She is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, right, and Robert Porter, left. The award is made possible by Porter Insurance Agency.

Bottom picture: Dr. Athena Bean, second from left, was presented the Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the 2015-2016 academic year at HPU. She is pictured with Paul Underwood, far left; Jill Underwood, second from right; and Dr. Bill Ellis, far right. The award is made possible by Underwood’s Cafeteria.

HPU faculty and staff members support heart health awareness

Heart Month 2016BROWNWOOD – February 23, 2016 – Several Howard Payne University faculty and staff members wore special t-shirts on Friday in support of the American Heart Association’s American Heart Month. A group of HPU employees wear the shirts each February to increase heart health awareness.

Back row, left to right: Diane Hackney, custodial supervisor; Ferrisa Childs, assistant director of student aid; Sarah Griffin, library administrative assistant and acquisitions coordinator; Susan Sharp, administrative assistant for the School of Education and certification officer; Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication; Tammy Dake, custodian; and Renee McClung, custodian.

Front row, left to right: Gretchen Campbell, executive assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students; Dora Hernandez, facilities department coordinator; Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication; Nikki Donathan, cashier; Lucina Ortega, custodian; and Cheryl Mangrum, associate director of admission.

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