News Archives: Student Life

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 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.

Representatives of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry work with churches in New York

Six representatives of the Howard Payne University Baptist Student Ministry recently traveled to New York City to serve with churches in the city. During the 10-day trip, the team visited and worked with Graffiti Church, First Polish Baptist Church and Maranatha Romanian Baptist Church.

 The group consisted of students Tyler Dingle, a junior from Bellville majoring in youth ministry; Ryan McCord, a sophomore from Round Rock majoring in Bible; Destiny Ramirez, a senior from Odessa majoring in elementary education; TJ Shands, a freshman from Stanton majoring in liberal arts; and Madison Zardiackas, a sophomore from Lockhart majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and social science with an emphasis in jurisprudence. HPU BSM director Keith Platte accompanied the students.

“Taking students on a trip like this is instrumental in helping them see how God works across geographic, racial, socio-economic and generational boundaries,” said Platte.

The group spent three days at Graffiti Church helping with the church’s afterschool program and served meals to people in local parks through the Free Lunch in the Park program.

“Our students got to learn from the people of Graffiti Church about their philosophy of ministry,” Platte said. “Their church is often out in the community serving people as a means to share the love, grace and message of Jesus Christ. They often say ‘meet the need first,’ which is how they believe Jesus would be ministering in their community.”

Following their time spent with Graffiti Church, the BSM team attended a Sunday worship service with First Polish Baptist Church, where Tyler Dingle preached through an interpreter. They also visited Maranatha Romanian Baptist Church, where Dingle also preached. The group visited members of the Polish church, living in other parts of the city, and helped to clean around the church building.

“Cities like New York are global cities,” Platte said. “You can visit people from every inhabitable continent and see the work of God. You can also see the immense need for God’s people to continue serving and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. It was an invaluable time for us to connect with believers from other parts of the world, in different languages sometimes, serving the God who created us for good works.”

Ryan McCord commented on the significance of the trip, specifically the learning opportunity it presented.

“The trip I took to New York with the BSM was both challenging and reformative,” said McCord. “It was unlike any mission trip I had ever been on. We jumped in and did what we could when we had the chance. The biggest thing I learned from this is that you do not need a plan or a set schedule to serve God. Jumping in and helping here and there is just as much a blessing and a valid way to do God’s work.”

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: Six representatives of Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry recently travelled to New York City to serve with area churches. Pictured from left to right are Madison Zardiackas, Destiny Ramirez, Keith Platte, TJ Shands, Tyler Dingle and Ryan McCord.

HPU graduate Karli Conrad ’18 serving as campus missionary intern

BROWNWOOD – November 19, 2018 – Howard Payne University graduate Karli Conrad is serving with the HPU Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) as campus missionary intern for the 2018-2019 school year.

Conrad, a native of Katy, graduated from HPU in May 2018 with a degree in marketing. As a student, she was active in the BSM, serving as a leader and in the senior adult ministry. She also was a member of the Student Activities Council, the Student Planning Committee and business leadership organization Phi Beta Lambda.

She initially had other plans following graduation but felt led to change them as her final year at HPU drew to a close.

“I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after college and was kind of on the fast track to an internship at a corporation in Houston,” said Conrad. “Then God called me to go into a ministry position to serve HPU. When Keith [Platte, director of HPU’s BSM] mentioned the position and asked if I would be interested, I said no initially, but then God changed my heart.”

Keith Platte noted that Conrad has been an immediate contributor to the functions of the BSM.

“She is a very welcoming, inviting person,” he said. “Students find it easy to open up and talk to Karli. She has a passion to see people grow in Christ, to become disciples and disciple-makers.”

The initial adjustment from student to worker was somewhat difficult for her. She had to adapt to her new role as a guide and mentor, rather than a peer, to students. However, she saw the importance of the position, and her recent status as a student made her more relatable to current students. She has enjoyed flipping sides in the student/staff equation.

“I like it because I’m very goal-driven,” she said, “and my goal for students is for them to know Christ and then go out to make Christ known,” she said. “If I can help in any way and plant seeds like the Lord wants me to, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

There are many ministry opportunities available to students through the BSM. Opportunities include mission fundraising events, free meals for all students, student-led worship nights, on-campus fellowship groups for students and various outreach opportunities in the local community.

“Being active with the BSM can help in your personal walk, growing with Christ,” said Conrad. “To get involved is to be in communion, to be together with your peers in a tight-knit ministry that is so rewarding.”

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


Cutline: HPU graduate Karli Conrad ’18 is working as the campus missionary intern for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters.

HPU announces 2018 Homecoming Court

2018 Homecoming Court for webBROWNWOOD – October 25, 2018 – Howard Payne University has announced its 2018 Homecoming Court. The Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned next Friday, November 2, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are seniors Sabrina Martinez of San Antonio, Angelica Ramirez of Austin and Gabrielle Roque of Houston. Princess nominees are Amanda Collins of New Orleans, Jada Jones of Cibolo and Sarah Ramos of Pflugerville.

Sabrina Martinez is the daughter of retired Major Paul A. Martinez and Yvonne E. Martinez. An elementary education major, Martinez’ campus involvement includes the Delta Chi Rho sorority.

Angelica Ramirez, the daughter of Jesus L. Ramirez I and Kimberly Ramirez, is a biology major. She serves as chaplain for Delta Chi Rho and Tri Beta and is a Student Government Association senior senator, a resident assistant and a college outreach intern at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church.

Gabriella Roque, the daughter of Cris Roque and Ruby Robinson, is a biology major. She is vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the HPU softball team. Additionally, she volunteers through the Special Olympics and at an animal hospital.

Amanda Collins is the daughter of Wayne Smith and the late Rhonda Collins. An elementary education major, Collins’ campus involvement includes Chi Alpha Omega and Jacket Journey.

Jada Jones is the daughter of Kenneth and Carla Matthews and Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Jones. A biology major, Jones is active with Chi Alpha Omega and the HPU women’s basketball team.

Sarah Ramos, the daughter of Eric and Anna Ramos, is a business management major. Her campus involvement includes Delta Chi Rho, Jacket Ambassadors and Student Activities Council. Additionally, she serves as a Jacket Journey leader and as a student worker in HPU’s Office of Admission.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on Southwestern University on Saturday, November 3. The game begins at 4 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

For a complete list of Homecoming 2018 activities, visit


Cutline: Howard Payne University’s 2018 Homecoming Court includes (top row, left to right) Angelica Ramirez, Gabrielle Roque and Sabrina Martinez and (bottom row, left to right) Jada Jones, Amanda Collins and Sarah Ramos.

HPU to host Encounter Week fall revival September 17-19

1. Saleim Kahleh photoBROWNWOOD – September 13, 2018 – Howard Payne University will host Encounter Week fall revival services next Monday, September 17, through Wednesday, September 19. This year’s guest speaker is Saleim Kahleh and worship will be led by the Clayton Tyner Band.

Kahleh was raised as a Muslim in a loving Islamic home. After his first year of college, he went on a quest to find the truth about God and religion. The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Kahleh, and now he testifies around the world about the goodness of God. He graduated in 1984 from Houston Baptist University and is now employed there in the role of associate university minister. He is founder of Saleim Kahleh Ministries.

The Clayton Tyner Band is from San Antonio. Tyner graduated from HPU in 2012 and went on to lead worship at San Antonio City Church where he met the rest of the band. Last year, they became involved with a City Church campus getting ready to become a church plant. They believe music is just a small part of what it means to worship Jesus and hope their passion invites others to experience Him as well.

2. Clayton Tyner Band photoEncounter Week services will be held in HPU’s Mims Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. All Encounter Week services are open to the public.

“Mr. Kahleh has been a part of HPU’s revival services in the past and it’s always a blessing to have him back on campus as well as HPU alumnus Clayton Tyner, who is amazing in worship,” said Keith Platte, Chapel coordinator and director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. “The community is invited to join us for this time of worship and prayer.”


Cutlines: 1. Saleim Kahleh, founder of Saleim Kahleh Ministries, is the scheduled speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week services.
2. The Clayton Tyner Band will lead worship at HPU’s Encounter Week services.

HPU students and alumni serve at 2018 Wyoming Youth Evangelism Conference

Wyoming photo for webBROWNWOOD – June 27, 2018 – Howard Payne University students and alumni were among a group of 13 from May First Baptist Church that traveled to Wyoming toward the end of the spring semester to serve at the state’s Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC). The event was held at College Heights Baptist Church in Casper, Wyoming.

HPU students who made the trip were junior Isaac Williams, college minister at May FBC; sophomore Eli Williams, church intern at May FBC; freshman Hannah Williams; and sophomore Abi Brown. Alumni who served were Dr. Nicholas Ewen ’02, assistant professor of theatre at HPU and music minister at May FBC; Clarrisa Ewen ’96; and Dustin Wright ’12, youth minister at Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Brownwood. Kase Cox, Taylor Cox, Josh McFarland, Wayne Snell, Linzie Wright and Bethanie Ewen, daughter of the Ewens and dual-credit student at HPU also participated.

While there, the group served in many capacities. Dr. Ewen preached during the general sessions at the conference, Eli Williams led worship and Isaac Williams spoke to students during a small-group session.

Lynda Roark, director of Wyoming YEC, invited the group to lead at this year’s conference. Roark is also the director of Mountain Top Assembly Baptist Camp in Casper, Wyoming, where members of the group have served during the past two summers.

“This group has had a huge impact on the entire state of Wyoming by encouraging, evangelizing and discipling an entire generation of Wyoming’s young Christian minds and hearts,” said Roark.

Dr. Ewen has a long-existing connection to the state, having grown up in Wyoming and attending the camp.

“It was a huge honor and wonderful experience to go back to Wyoming with a group of talented and passionate HPU students,” said Dr. Ewen.

Isaac Williams will continue to serve in Wyoming over the summer as an intern at Mountain Top Assembly Baptist Camp.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU students and alumni were among a group that traveled to Wyoming to speak and lead worship at the state’s 2018 Youth Evangelism Conference.

HPU to hold Commencement ceremony this Saturday

DSC_0879.2BROWNWOOD – May 1, 2018 – Howard Payne University will hold its spring Commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 5, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum. The coliseum is located at 500 E. Baker Street in Brownwood.

Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, and other university representatives will confer the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Delivering the charge to the graduates is Dr. Ray Martinez III, president of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc.

Commencement will be preceded on Friday, May 4, 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 6:00 p.m. at the university’s Mims Auditorium.

For more information, visit the HPU website at


Cutline: HPU’s Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 5, at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Commitment to service: Following God’s will is foremost for graduating HPU senior Josh Dykes

JD photo (cropped)By Seth Rainey, HPU Junior

BROWNWOOD – May 1, 2018 – As Howard Payne University senior Josh Dykes of Mount Pleasant  prepares to graduate in several days, it is clear that there has been a single overriding influence on his life. Obedience to God’s will is the reason why he is at HPU committed to ministry as a vocation and is the guiding factor in his everyday life.

A double-major in youth ministry and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy with a minor in Spanish, Dykes said he has been called to ministry from an early age. As a sophomore in high school, he felt that he wanted to go into youth ministry. He said God affirmed this interest after time spent in prayer and receiving advice from mentors.

“While looking at colleges, I contacted one of my favorite speakers from summer camp and asked him where I should attend college to study ministry,” Dykes said. “He told me, ‘Go to HPU. They have a great youth ministry program.’”

God’s leading, coupled with the speaker’s recommendation, gave Dykes confidence as he prepared to visit and choose colleges.

“On my first visit here I knew HPU was it,” he said.

He maintained a firm commitment to attending HPU. Because of finances, he remained home in Mount Pleasant for a year and studied at a local community college before transferring to HPU.
The care displayed for him by those at HPU has positively shaped his view of the university.

“Dr. Gary Gramling, a professor in the Christian Studies department, met me during my first visit to HPU,” he said. “The next year when I came to HPU, he still remembered my name and where I was from.”

Dr. Gramling noted the ways that Dykes displays care for others in his everyday interactions.

“He is always desiring to learn more and has a servant’s heart,” Dr. Gramling said. “He listens to others, genuinely cares about their needs, and does his best to meet those needs.”

Other faculty also notice how Dykes shares the love of Christ with his fellow students.

“He’s someone students are drawn to because they know he cares,” said Dr. Wheelington, professor of Christian studies. “When he asks ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘How can he pray for you?’ he really means it.”

At HPU, the university’s personnel and students foster an atmosphere conducive to fellowship, friendship and learning. To Dykes, this is an example of why HPU is a great university.

“It’s about the people,” he said. “The people make this university what it is. That’s what HPU is about.”

He added that the faculty, combined with small classes, have provided him with an atypical, positive college experience while at HPU.

“I’ve had classes go get coffee together,” he said. “Everything’s just very personable. Various faculty members, like Dr. Wheelington and Jennings Hall resident director Wes Curton, have really helped me on my walk in ministry.”

In addition to mentoring Dykes in the classroom, Dr. Wheelington serves with Dykes and another HPU student, Julie Jo Yarbro, at Southside church in Brownwood.

“As I look back over mine and Josh’s time together, I wonder if I have helped Josh or if he has helped me in my walk with the Lord. More likely the former than the latter,” said Dr. Wheelington. “And I’m glad for that.”

Dykes plays an active role in the student community of HPU. He is a resident assistant in Jennings Hall, is a member of the Model U.N. team, serves on the Student Appeals Committee and is a member of Delta Epsilon Omega. In past years at HPU, Dykes served on the leadership team of the Baptist Student Ministry, was a member of the Student Government Association and participated in Mock Trial.

Recently, he was presented with the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award. This award is given to selected HPU students in acknowledgement of their character and commitment to service honoring Jesus Christ. He was also recognized as an Outstanding Christian Studies Student during HPU’s spring Academic Awards Convocation.

“The Lord brought me to HPU to be loved and love others,” Dykes said.

He said that the university where he has spent the past three years of life has been an important part of his walk in ministry and his personal growth as he prepares to graduate.

“If you are looking for a place to grow, especially in your faith,” he said, “you can find it at HPU.”

HPU’s Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum. For more information and a livestream of the event, visit

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Howard Payne University senior Josh Dykes is committed to following God’s will for his life.

Finding community at HPU: Haylee Maddox uses her time to challenge herself and form relationships

By Seth Rainey, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – April 27, 2018 – As she searched for colleges to continue her academic career, sophomore Haylee Maddox of Bellville sought out a place where she would be challenged to grow spiritually and academically.

“College is this beautiful time to be challenged in every way because you’re not going to get this time back,” Maddox said.

Haylee Maddox for webIn her college search, she found Howard Payne University to be an institution that would fulfill her academic and spiritual goals, while also giving her the possibility of playing softball at the collegiate level. However, due to injuries in her later years of high school, she was unable to pursue college athletics. Additionally, Maddox chose to participate in a year-long Christian Leadership program known as “Link Year,” paving a nontraditional path for the future HPU student.

She did not visit the campus until Day 1, an HPU-hosted event at which incoming students come to campus in the spring and early summer to register for their first classes at HPU. Upon arriving, she immediately recognized a sense of intentional interconnectedness between fellow students and determined to find her place within this community.

“Right off the bat, I found a solid friend group and got plugged in with the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM),” said Maddox.

These first experiences in university life, what she dubbed the “real world” away from family and familiar surroundings, gave her hope of finding belonging at college.

Maddox is challenging herself academically as a double major in practical theology and communication. She is also very involved in extracurricular activities, participating in numerous student organizations.

She recently became the president of HPU’s Christian women’s sorority Pi Theta Chi. Additionally, she is on the BSM’s leadership committee and serves as a sophomore senator in the Student Government Association. She also writes for “The Yellow Jacket” student newspaper and serves as the treasurer for Appointed, an organization for women going into ministry.

Maddox believes that student involvement in campus life enhances the university experience. She is active in a variety of capacities to help others benefit from personal participation.

“I truly want HPU to be for everyone else what it is for me,” said Maddox.

She appreciates the chances HPU has offered her to get to know a diverse group of people. The university’s size and structure allow students to serve in multiple ways. She said this accessibility to involvement is part of what makes HPU unique.

“There are so many influential people here, but they aren’t concentrated in one area,” said Maddox. “I really like the involvement that everyone has here on campus.”

Looking back, Maddox recalled that she thought she knew what to expect from college when she was in high school. However, the differences between her expectations and reality have been enriching to her.

“HPU has been exactly what I needed from my college experience,” she said, “and what I continue to need.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options for students. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU student Haylee Maddox speaks during the weekly university chapel service.