News Archives

HPU’s grounds crew assists Brownwood Area Community Garden with garden updates

BROWNWOOD – January 23, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s grounds crew lent a helping hand in the early stages of Brownwood Area Community Garden’s reconstruction project. Late in the fall 2018 semester, the grounds crew assisted by cutting wooden planks for new garden beds.

By shortening the length of the beds, more space will be left for those in wheelchairs to access the garden. The garden reconstruction project is estimated to take several months and the process will be aided by volunteer work along the way.

HPU staff members who participated are Allen Fisher, irrigation foreman; Terry Pritchett, vice president of facilities and planning; Kenny Richardson, grounds foreman – athletic fields; Harlei Struck, student worker; and Joey Withers, grounds foreman – lawn maintenance.

Pritchett expressed his appreciation for opportunities to work alongside members of the community.

“I think it’s vital for HPU employees to help in our community,” he said. “We are all partners and it is fun getting to know all the good folks with these organizations. I look forward to years of collaboration.”


Cutline: HPU’s Kenny Richardson prepares to cut a plank to be used for Brownwood Area Community Garden’s new garden beds.

HPU’s School of Nursing to offer information session on January 23

BROWNWOOD – January 18, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s School of Nursing will host an information session for prospective students on Wednesday, January 23, at 9:00 a.m. Dr. Nina Ouimette, dean and professor of nursing, and Dr. Laci Sutton, assistant professor of nursing, will share information about the nursing program, applying for admission and more. The event will be held on the HPU’s School of Nursing building, located at 1004 Main Street, and the public is invited.

HPU’s School of Nursing, which is now accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester, features a student-centered curriculum focusing on caring, faith and intellectual inquiry. The nursing major utilizes 51 main nursing concepts for successful entry into nursing practice.

“We are very excited about HPU’s nursing program,” said Dr. Ouimette, “and we look forward to providing more details about how the program can help students reach their goals for meaningful careers in nursing.”

Dr. Sutton encourages all who are interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to attend the session.

“Nursing offers many challenging healthcare career opportunities for mission and service to others,” said Dr. Sutton. “If you want to study nursing with caring faculty interested in your success, HPU is the place for you.”

In July 2018, the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) unanimously approved Howard Payne University’s proposal to offer the pre-licensure BSN degree. The approval was the result of diligent preparation and close correspondence with the BON by HPU administrators and faculty.

HPU’s School of Nursing may be contacted by e-mail at or by phone at 325-649-8182. For more information about the School of Nursing, visit


Photo cutline: Students in HPU’s School of Nursing gain practical, hands-on experience as part of the program’s student-centered curriculum.

HPU’s Hannah Justice accepted to first-choice medical school after completing Joint Admissions Medical Program

BROWNWOOD – January 18, 2019 – Howard Payne University senior Hannah Justice of Brownwood, the first HPU student to participate in the prestigious Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), has been accepted to her number-one choice of medical schools, Texas Tech University.

“Tech was my top choice for medical school and I was so relieved and excited it was a match,” said Justice, a biomedical science major. “JAMP provided so many valuable resources that made the preparation for medical school easier.”

Students from colleges across Texas who participate in JAMP interview with nine medical schools and have guaranteed acceptance to at least one. The students rank the schools based on the ones they would like most to attend. Their rankings and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores are taken into account when matching each student with a medical school.

Justice ultimately ranked Texas Tech as her number one school, but she said that had not always been the case.

“Honestly, it wasn’t my number one choice from the beginning,” Justice said. “It was the interview that really piqued my interest. One of the reasons that I came to Howard Payne was because of the community that is here and that was really something I was looking for in a medical school. Texas Tech is very community-oriented and I felt that it was a place I could truly thrive.”

Justice was accepted into JAMP during her sophomore year at HPU. According to the JAMP website, the program was created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified students pursuing medical education. It provides students with educational and clinical learning opportunities to better equip them as they pursue careers in medicine. She learned about the program from Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology and JAMP faculty director at HPU.

“Hannah first felt God calling her into the medical field during one of our medical school tours her freshman year,” said Dr. Hutchins. “That was an exciting day for me, hearing Hannah share her heart during that drive home to HPU.”

During the summer after her sophomore year, Justice participated in her first JAMP internship at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

“You’re required to participate in two summer internships,” said Justice. “The first summer is more focused on MCAT prep. You take classes that continue online through the fall and spring until you take your MCAT. It was very involved and very studious. In addition to the MCAT prep we had to take classes at the medical school level. It was exhausting at times.”

This past summer, Justice participated in her second internship, which took place at McGovern Medical School and was aimed at preparing students for the rigorous medical school interview process. She then took the MCAT and applied to nine of the medical schools in Texas, a JAMP requirement.

“I met the score requirement in the first round,” she said, “so the second summer internship was a lot less stressful because I didn’t have the MCAT looming over my head. A lot of the second internship was focused on preparing for interview season.”

On September 28, 2018, after Justice had completed her time at JAMP as well as her interviews, she requested that Dr. Hutchins help her with the reveal of her match results. Dr. Hutchins confirmed Justice’s match result through JAMP, wrote down the school’s name and put it in an envelope that Justice opened in front of her friends and family that evening.

Justice expressed her gratefulness for the JAMP program and the ways it prepared her for the huge transition into medical school.

“The community that it has given me has been a blessing,” said Justice. “Preparing for medical school is hard: mentally, academically and spiritually. My cohort of fellow JAMPers encouraged me and laughed with me and cried with me along this journey and made it so much more than a task to accomplish.”

After reflecting on the two-year journey leading up to her acceptance, Justice also spoke of the spiritual lessons learned.

“It taught me a lot about myself and who I am in Christ and that this is not something that I’m doing for myself,” she said. “It’s about using the gifts and talents that the Lord has given me to glorify Him. It’s scary to have really big dreams, but it’s a reminder that I can’t accomplish this in my own power. It’s very humbling, but it strengthened me a lot and made me more grateful to have my faith.”

Once she graduates from HPU in May 2019, Justice will attend medical school for four years and then participate in a residency program for three to five years to become board certified in a specialty of her choosing.

“Right now I’m just focusing on enjoying the time that I have with my family and friends and making the most of my senior year at HPU,” said Justice. “I’m currently just trying to prepare myself spiritually for the next four years of medical school. I’m excited for what the Lord wants to teach me and for how He wants to use me during medical school.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 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 HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Hannah Justice, a JAMP participant and future Texas Tech medical student, stands in front of HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science.

HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics introduces S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab

BROWNWOOD – January 17, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s School of Science and Mathematics introduced an innovative class this fall for students seeking to major in biology and a handful of other majors. The class has been named the S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab, which stands for Scientific Training for Inquiry-Guided, Experiment-Based Research.

“This lab is different than a traditional lab because it requires a lot more independent work,” said Dr. Gregory Hatlestad, associate professor of biology. “It was designed so that students would learn all of the techniques that you would need to be able to do research and then move into doing real research projects.”

This style of class was first implemented by The University of Texas and was so successful that other schools began to replicate the class. Dr. Hatlestad was able to implement that same style of teaching at HPU.

“Before I started working at Howard Payne, I was working at The University of Texas as an assistant clinical professor and my job was to teach one of these,” said Dr. Hatlestad. “UT is at the forefront of this type of lab, which has been very successful at increasing graduation rates, retention and GPA – everything that you want out of a course.”

During the first phase of the S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab, students are given packets and a certain amount of time to complete them. These packets provide them with the necessary protocols and techniques they need to complete the assignment and for use in future research.

“Once they learn all the techniques they need, they are actually going to be working on trying to figure out things that people don’t know already,” said Dr. Hatlestad. “So there is an element of unknown in which we are actually going to be doing real research.”

Students whose majors require them to take general biology are required to take a lab alongside it. This is typically the traditional general biology lab which meets regularly and is more scripted. Students now have the option of taking either the traditional lab or the S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab. One of the major differences between them is the self-paced nature of the S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab.

“The self-pace was really something that I was interested in,” said Mildreth Rodriguez, freshman biology major from Buda. “I can come in once a week or I can come in twice a week. It’s taught us a lot about time management and being able to figure things out on our own.”

The S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab has open hours so students can come to work on their projects throughout the week. Their hours and progress are tracked and they have to show that they were able to accomplish the assigned tasks. If students attempt experiments unsuccessfully, the experiments must be conducted again. While this adds a level of difficulty to the class, students are given guidance when needed and have the chance to correct their work.

“It’s much more based on learning how to do it right instead of getting it right the first time,” said Pablo Serna, freshman biology major from Fort Worth.

Ultimately, the students are challenged to think critically in the S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab and are given the opportunity to investigate queries a step further.

“That is the goal,” said Dr. Hatlestad, “giving students a better education and experience so they understand what it means to do research and what it means to be accountable for what happens in the lab.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 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 HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Mikala Meadows, a sophomore chemistry major from Newport, Arkansas, and a student in HPU’s S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Lab, prepares to extract plant DNA.

Brownwood Community Band rehearsals begin Monday at HPU

BROWNWOOD – January 13, 2019 – The Brownwood Community Band will begin its spring rehearsals on Monday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Davidson Music Complex (Band Rehearsal Hall) on the Howard Payne University campus.

Frank Nelson, director of bands and assistant professor of music at HPU, is directing the ensemble along with other guest conductors from the area. Community band is open to anyone high school age and up who would like to play his or her instrument with fellow community members. The band will perform selections from numerous well-known composers at its annual year-end concert in May.

“Do not miss this wonderful chance to share the joy of music with the community of Brownwood,” said Nelson.

HPU to host 12th annual Currie-Strickland lectures in Christian ethics

BROWNWOOD – January 7, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s 12th annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics will feature guest speaker Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, assistant professor of Christian ethics and associate dean for Fuller Texas at Fuller Seminary. The lectures are scheduled Thursday, February 7, and Friday, February 8, and are free to the public.

Dr. Kaemingk will focus on the theme “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.” Thursday’s lecture, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., is titled “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Crown.” Friday morning at 10 a.m., Dr. Kaemingk will speak on “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Cross.” Both discussions will take place in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

In addition to his roles at Fuller Seminary, Dr. Kaemingk is a scholar-in-residence for the Max De Pree Center for Christian Leadership. He also serves as a fellow for the Center for Public Justice. His research and teaching focus on Islam and political ethics, faith and the workplace, theology and culture, and Reformed public theology. His book on Christian political ethics, titled “Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear,” was published by Eerdmans in 2018.

From 2013 to 2017, Dr. Kaemingk served as executive director of the Fuller Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture in Seattle, Washington. Founding the institute in 2013, he helped to launch three innovative theological initiatives with the help of two major grants from the Murdock Charitable Trust. These new initiatives were designed to equip regional churches to engage the arts, marketplace and culture of the Pacific Northwest.

He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and holds doctoral degrees in systematic theology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2011, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to go to Amsterdam to study political theology and the European conflict over Muslim immigration. An ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Dr. Kaemingk lives in Houston with his wife, Heather, and their three sons, Calvin, Kees and Caedmon.

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Admission is free but reservations are requested. For reservations or more information, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies by e-mail at or by phone at 325-649-8403.


Cutline: HPU’s 12th annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics will feature guest speaker Dr. Matthew Kaemingk.

HPU announces holiday closures

BROWNWOOD – December 18, 2018 – Howard Payne University will be closed Wednesday, December 19, through Tuesday, January 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Offices will reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

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 Friday, December 28, to process end-of-the-year gifts. Gifts can also be arranged to be made in person or over the phone by calling Randy Yeakley, vice president for development, at 325-649-8804 anytime throughout the Christmas break.

HPU’s spring 2019 semester (evening classes only) begins Monday, January 14. Daytime classes begin on January 15.


HPU music students qualify for international summer programs, accepting donations

BROWNWOOD – December 14, 2018 – Four Howard Payne University music students participated last month in the Summer Program Auditions sponsored by the Texoma Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. The auditions are attended by casting representatives from young artist programs within the United States, as well as international programs. Each of the HPU students received multiple offers from artist programs in England and Italy.

Students attending the auditions were Leland Brown, sophomore vocal performance major from Euless; Sadie Perez, junior vocal performance major from Brownwood; Brendyn Porter, senior vocal studies major from Red Oak; and Andreahnna Rosenquist, sophomore vocal performance major from Brownwood. Perez and Rosenquist are students of Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and professor of voice. Brown and Porter are students of Dr. Gregory Church, professor of music.

“The fact that each of these students attended their first audition for young artist programs and received two or more offers speaks to the level of talent we have in the vocal program at Howard Payne,” said Dr. Celeste Church. “Our students are comparable with singers from the finest schools in our region.”

Students accepted into these programs may participate in a wealth of opportunities including two to six weeks on location, private coaching, language lessons, recital performances, opera scenes performances, and acting and movement instruction, all from professionally recognized instructors. It is a wonderful opportunity that can provide a foundation for graduate work and a career in performance.

“These programs are an important first step for young singers to begin establishing their careers as professionals,” said Dr. Gregory Church. “The money spent to participate in these programs is an investment in the students’ futures.”

Participation in summer artist programs is a privilege, but it is also costly. For the HPU students to take advantage of one of these opportunities, it will require a significant investment of time, energy and financial resources. There are limited scholarships offered for some of the programs, but it falls to these students to pay for their travel and program tuition.

Those interested in supporting one or more of these students in taking advantage of this opportunity, may contact Randy Yeakley, HPU’s vice president of development at 325-649-8804. You may contribute to the “HPU Fine Arts Enrichment Fund” by sending a check payable to Howard Payne University to P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, Texas 76804.

For more information, please contact HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at 325-649-8006 or


Cutline: Four HPU music students recently participated in the Summer Program Auditions sponsored by the Texoma Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, each receiving multiple offers from artist programs in England and Italy. Left to right: Leland Brown, Sadie Perez, Andreahnna Rosenquist and Brendyn Porter.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau competes in Oxford, England

BROWNWOOD – December 14, 2018 – Members of the Student Speaker Bureau, Howard Payne University’s competitive speech and debate team, recently traveled to Oxford, England, to compete in the Oxford Inter-Varsity Debating Tournament, one of the largest British Parliamentary debate tournaments in the world.

Lucy Manning, sophomore communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Fort Worth, competed in the tournament with two separate debate partners, both from Oxford University. Freshman Alek Mendoza, communication and theatre major from Bangs, served as an adjudicator at the tournament. Also on the trip were Dr. Julie Welker, chair of HPU’s Department of Communication and Student Speaker Bureau coach, and Richelle Hair, instructor of communication.

The British parliamentary style of debate at the tournament consists of four teams of two. The teams are presented with a resolution and then given 15 minutes to prepare for the debate. Debaters may not consult the Internet or coaches but may have some printed material available. Contestants are expected to have a broad, working knowledge of world events and issues. Some of the topics debated at this tournament included research into the possible genetic origins of sex, race and sexuality; environmental advocacy and legislation; compulsory military service in Israel; South African township development; and U.S. political ties with Saudi Arabia.

“The best thing about going to an international debate tournament was viewing the different debate styles and learning more about other cultures,” said Mendoza. “I had the opportunity to use my Spanish to communicate with two competitors from Spain and discuss many things that differ in our cultures.”

The HPU team watched the grand final round, held in the famous Oxford Union Debating Chamber.

“Oxford was amazing,” said Manning. “We had the challenge of a new debate format and the chance to discuss important topics with people from all over the world. We debated in the chamber where brilliant discussions have occurred for generations. The history of the Oxford Union was fantastic.”

While in Oxford, the team toured the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and the University Church of St. Mary, the official church of University of Oxford. The HPU group also attended Evensong at Christ Church.

“Experiencing the culture of Oxford is such an important part of our trip,” said Dr. Welker. “Besides the debates, we spend time exploring University of Oxford and learning about the oldest university in Europe.”

After competing in Oxford, the group traveled to London for educational sightseeing. The team visited Parliament, attending debates at both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The group visited Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the British Library, the British Museum, the National Gallery and other various points of interest.

While in London, the group met with an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary, who is stationed just outside of London. The IMB missionary shared with the group about her work, mission and needs in the greater London area. The group was able to pray with her and share a small gift of financial support.

“I really wanted the team to connect with an American who was doing mission work in the greater London area,” said Dr. Welker. “This was a unique opportunity to combine our academic-based trip with understanding more about sharing the Gospel in European nations.”

The HPU debate team has been traveling to Oxford for the international competition since 2011 and plans to continue the tradition of international debate.

HPU library displays Nativity scenes donated by Lumans of Columbus

BROWNWOOD – December 13, 2018 – A collection of Nativity sets from around the world are on display at Howard Payne University’s Walker Memorial Library. The pieces were donated by Howard Payne University alumnus Merrill J. Luman and his wife of 68 years, Elaine. The couple resides in Columbus.

The collection includes approximately 75 Nativity sets from 30 different countries, including Brazil, China, former Czechoslovakia, Israel and South Africa. Each of the sets is unique in design, some having been made of gold or silver, while others were carved out of wood or molded from clay. Many of the Nativities were designed by well-known artists whose cultures can be seen reflected in their distinct depictions of the infant Jesus and His family.

“Every time we made a trip,” Mrs. Luman said, “we got at least one Nativity from every country. Every nation had its own take on the features of the Nativity.”

These diverse artistic interpretations of the story of Christ’s birth are a reflection of the broad nature of the good news of His coming. All the Nativities bear that in common. Each serves as a reminder of the miraculous birth of Christ and the eternal impact it has for all of humankind.

The Lumans’ love for Nativities originated from Mrs. Luman’s appreciation for the season of Christmas. They received their first Nativity in 1968 as a gift celebrating the birth of their youngest son. Their appreciation for Nativities paired well with their love of travel and a remarkable collection was born.

Mr. and Mrs. Luman expressed their desire to leave behind a lasting legacy through their collection.

“We wanted to make sure that, when we are gone, they are in a place where people can enjoy them as much as we have enjoyed them,” said Mr. Luman.

After approximately 50 years of collecting these Nativities, the Lumans admitted letting them go was bittersweet and some tears were shed.

“Merrill and I just love them because they hold so many memories for us,” Mrs. Luman said.

Even so, the Lumans are glad to know their treasured pieces will be seen by many at HPU.

“It’s the birth of our savior,” Mr. Luman said. “If this helps more people to know about the birth of Jesus, or just to think about the birth of our savior, that makes it very important to us.”

Pieces of the collection are already on display in cases located in HPU’s Walker Memorial Library. The Nativities can be viewed by the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The library will be closed for the Christmas holidays from December 19 until January 1. The library plans to display more of the Nativities on a year-round basis. The Lumans have expressed their desire to ultimately give their entire Nativity collection to HPU.


Cutline: A porcelain Nativity scene from China, based on the Japanese art of origami, is on display at the HPU library. The set is part of a collection donated by Merrill J. Luman ’50 and his wife, Elaine.