News Archives

HPU’s Dr. Craig Younce returns to Zambia with students

After a mission trip to Zambia in fall 2018, Howard Payne University’s Dr. Craig Younce, assistant professor of biology, returned this spring with a group of students to serve at New Day Orphanage (NDO).

“My expectation for the students was that they would see that the ways they are talented and the abilities God has given them can be used to bring glory and honor to Him,” said Dr. Younce. “In our culture, talent is often used for personal gain, but this opportunity showed them that you can use your talents to help others.”

Those who made the trip were Paulo Flores, junior chemistry major from Chandler; Hannah Justice, senior biomedical sciences major from Brownwood; Angelica Ramirez, senior biology major from Austin; and Brittany Rideau, junior biology major from Beaumont. Sydney Spencer, administrative assistant for the School of Science and Mathematics, also made the journey.

“This isn’t just a trip for one type of student – it is a trip for students of nearly every discipline,” said Spencer, who graduated from HPU through the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy program in 2017. “God is so clearly at work in the lives of the children and workers at the orphanage and it is wonderful to see a population with so little rely on their faith to carry them through. I think we can all take something away from their reverence and trust for our Creator.”

New Day Orphanage takes in children of all ages, provides them with an education and raises them to adulthood. The HPU group served the orphanage by assisting in the refinement of its science curriculum and helping with science demonstrations.

“We worked with the classes almost every morning and performed science, technology, engineering and math demonstrations,” said Dr. Younce. “In the afternoons, we sat with the teachers and explained to them what we did and answered any questions they had.”

Students from HPU were also able to take part in National Youth Day, a holiday recognizing the significance of youth in Zambia. The students from the orphanage had a day off school, which enabled the HPU group to interact with them through games and activities.

“I had the opportunity to be partners with David, a young boy who lives at New Day with his parents,” said Paulo Flores. “We bonded very well and became good friends.”

While in Zambia, the group also had the opportunity to go on a safari.

“The safari was very educational and the overall trip really opened my eyes and challenged me in my spiritual walk,” said Brittany Rideau.

The idea for the trip took shape after Dr. Younce traveled to Zambia with Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in 2018 and felt a call to return and assist the orphanage, where the church group stayed for a night.

“I could hear God telling me that we needed to do something with them,” said Dr. Younce.

Dr. Younce and Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, coordinated with NDO on a plan to bring chemistry and biology majors from HPU to Zambia. Dr. Younce was impressed by God’s timing.

“This year, the university is really emphasizing the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit,” said Dr. Younce. “It’s fascinating that, when all of this was coming to fruition, I wasn’t even aware that was going to be a focus.”

Younce hopes that the trip helped show his students how to bridge the gap between the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit by allowing them to incorporate both their education and God’s vision while serving. He plans to continue making the trip with students in years to come.

“We are currently working on plans to return to Zambia,” he said. “We’ve talked with the orphanage and they said, ‘Yes, come back.’”

Dr. Younce stated he was impressed with his students, who not only demonstrated that they were grasping lessons at HPU but showed tremendous spiritual maturity.

“We are all created for a purpose and that is to carry out God’s mission,” said Dr. Younce. “If nothing else, one of the biggest things that Christ calls us to do is to serve. We all have different skills with which to do that. These students are getting an education and now they can apply it in a way of service.”


Photo cutline one: Senior Hannah Justice and junior Brittany Rideau teach a class at New Day Orphanage in Zambia.
Photo cutline two: Dr. Craig Younce and senior Angelica Ramirez speak to students at New Day Orphanage in Zambia.
Photo cutline three: The group from HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics stands in front of Victoria Falls in Zambia.

HPU hosts 122nd Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting

Howard Payne University recently hosted the annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science. The meeting involved presentations from undergraduate and graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and recognitions of academy members. Almost 400 students and faculty from 30 institutions in Texas attended the conference, the 122nd in the organization’s history.

HPU students who presented during the conference were Hannah Justice, a senior from Brownwood majoring in biomedical science, and Paulo Flores, a junior from Chandler majoring in biochemistry.

“I was encouraged seeing all the hard work that other students have put into making discoveries that benefit humanity – from agricultural research to wildlife biology to cancer research and so much more,” said Justice. “I am grateful for the opportunity to share my research with fellow scientists. I have spent three semesters working on my research and thesis, and to be able to share what I’ve learned with others was rewarding.”

Dr. Craig Younce, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and associate professor of biology, coordinated the event with the TAS. He stated that the event carries benefits for all students, whether they presented projects or simply attended the conference.

“What’s nice about having this meeting on our campus is that it allows us to have more HPU students involved than would normally attend,” said Dr. Younce. “This gives them the opportunity to see what these presentations should look like, giving them experience before learning these methods in class.”

Dr. David L. Lambert and Celene Rosen were honored during the conference as the 2019 Texas Distinguished Scientist and the 2019 Outstanding Texas Educator, respectively.

Dr. Lambert earned both his BA and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford. He has taught at The University of Texas in Austin since 1969, serving as the university’s director of the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis from 2003 until 2014. Rosen graduated from the University of Wisconsin and obtained her master’s degree from Lamar University. She currently teaches in the Plano Independent School District.

First organized in 1880 and in its current form since 1929, the TAS promotes scientific research in Texas colleges and universities, encourages research as a part of student learning and enhances the professional development of its professional and student members.

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: Pictured at the Texas Academy of Science banquet held at the conclusion of the meeting are (left to right) Cole Bené, a senior from Allen majoring in biology; Angelica Ramirez, a senior from Austin majoring in biology; and Hannah Justice, a senior from Brownwood majoring in biomedical science. The three were among the HPU students who attended the TAS meeting.

Students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Communication visit Austin

Students and faculty from Howard Payne University’s Department of Communication classes recently toured several Austin-area businesses and the Texas Capitol. Twenty-three students from three communication classes took part in the trip, led by Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication, and Richelle Hair, instructor of communication.

The trip was an opportunity for students to visit businesses and organizations that represent high levels of achievement in their respective industries.

“Each spring, as part of our curriculum, we include an experiential learning component in our communication classes,” said Dr. Welker. “By meeting with professionals in the communication field, our students gain valuable insight into future careers. These contacts have provided communication majors with helpful insights and networking.”

The group spent two days in Austin, toured the Texas Capitol and met with the communications staff of Sen. Dawn Buckingham, state senator for Texas State Senate District 24. The group visited GSD&M, an advertising agency whose clients include the United States Air Force, Pizza Hut and Southwest Airlines. Students and faculty also visited Raise Your Hand Texas, a non-profit public education advocacy organization founded by Charles Butt, CEO and chairperson of H-E-B.

Communication majors on the trip were Audrey Binion, senior from Brownwood; Caleb Callaway, junior from Early; Kyra Chapa, senior from Pasadena; Mackynlie Conklin, sophomore from Midland; Katie Cravey, junior from Huntsville; Jaime Dodson, senior from Cisco also majoring in psychology; Bailey Farmer, sophomore from Alvin; Yancy Flores, senior from Plainview; Hailey Green, senior from Kennedale; Haylee Maddox, senior from Bellville also majoring in practical theology; Esmeralda Maldonado, sophomore from Whitney also majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence; Noah Marlin, senior from Brownwood; Madi Neal, junior from Chandler also majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence; Aimee Orozco, senior from Shepherd also majoring in Spanish; Seth Rainey, senior from Gonzales; and Spencer Wolverton, senior from DeSoto.

Other students on the trip were Sawyer Fisher, senior from Bertram majoring in business administration; Abigail Fraser, junior from Wylie majoring in Christian education; Jessica Meeks, senior from Bridgeport majoring family studies; Alek Mendoza, sophomore from Bangs majoring in theatre; Tyler Olin, senior from Howe majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence and psychology; and Madisynn Thames, junior from Euless majoring in cross-cultural studies.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU students and faculty from the Department of Communication are pictured giving the HPU Yellow Jackets’ “Sting ’em” sign on the steps of the Texas Capitol during a recent tour of Austin.

HPU senior Hailey Osborne has worked to turn an inspiration into a career

Howard Payne University senior Hailey Osborne of Corsicana has been a part of a big family for a significant part of her life, something that has shaped and inspired her vision for the future.

Osborne, who will graduate from HPU on Saturday, is majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence and minoring in psychology. Her academic pursuits are rooted in her life story. Her family served as a foster family from 2010 until 2017, also adopting three children they fostered. She finds inspiration for her future in her experiences serving as a supplementary caretaker for the children in her life.

“I’ve always loved kids,” she said. “I’ve always had a kid on my hip since I was young. I was always the oldest – the oldest grandchild, oldest kid. Since we were a foster family, I actually want to be a child advocate.”

Since coming to HPU, the students, faculty and staff of HPU have helped to teach her a valuable lesson, one that extends beyond the classroom.

“You can always grow, but everybody thinks about growing in their jobs or growing in other things,” she said. “I’ve learned from these people how to grow, not only in my job but with Christ as well.”

Similar to its impact on her potential career choice, family influenced her decision to attend HPU. Her grandmother graduated from HPU in 1977 and her grandfather graduated in 1982. An aunt also graduated from the university in 2002. As she prepared to choose what university to attend, her family encouraged her to look at HPU. Osborne attended Navarro College after her graduation from high school in 2016 and planned to attend the University of Houston following the completion of an associate’s degree. However, with continued prompting from family, she looked to HPU.

“I got accepted to HPU within a month and got everything together scholarship-wise – it was a pretty quick process,” she said, “I was really surprised by the quick turnaround. I decided to come here, and here I am.”

Osborne has become involved in many aspects of student life during her time in college. She is a member of the executive councils of local HPU sorority Chi Alpha Omega and the recently formed Black Student Association. She also plays for the Yellow Jacket women’s tennis team.

Her natural inclination for leadership has influenced the roles she now fills within various areas of student life.

“Leadership has always been in my blood, especially being the oldest sibling,” she said. “I’ve always had a driven mindset – my parents have always instilled that into me, since I was young.”

However, Osborne also noted that the faith-led leadership she has experienced at HPU has influenced positive change in the way she chooses to lead, as well as how she lives out her own faith.

“I know when I was younger, in certain situations I would turn to praying with a person, but that wasn’t the first option,” she said. “Before, I might have been kind of hesitant, but now I’m more open to praying with people about their problems.”

As she looks to life after graduation, she is making plans to attend Sam Houston State University to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice. Before leaving HPU, she has been sure to continue the Osborne legacy at the university.

“My brother will be here in the fall,” she said. “I’ve been talking HPU up since I’ve been here. I told him, if you allow it to, it will change you.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, contact the Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU graduating senior Hailey Osborne has turned a passion to work with children into a pursuit of a career as a child advocate.

Students in HPU’s Pre-College Music program honored

Thirty-six students from Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music Program recently participated in the District 8-4 Junior Festival, held in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs and hosted on the HPU campus.

Students entered in the competitive category who receive a superior rating at the local festival are entitled to advance to the State Competition at Texas State University in San Marcos on May 18.

“Our congratulations go out to these students and their teachers for their accomplishments,” said Diane Owens, director of the Pre-College Music program. “We also send our best wishes to those who will compete at Texas State University in May.”

The superior rating in the piano solo category was awarded to Andrew Boren, Alecs Butka, Maddox Butka, Sophia Butka, Vic Cooper, Abigail Dean, Emma Ewen, Christian Fijer, Kirsten Fijer, Christopher Ivy, Cashlyn Kearney, Austin Luker, Avery Luker, Aishwarya Nigalye, Braylee Reeves, Jordan Roberts, Cate Smith, Evan Smith and Matthew Till. The excellent rating in the same category was awarded to Abigail Burks, Brooklyn Butka, Angie Calfa, Tony Calfa and Bethanie Ewen.

The superior rating in the vocal solo: musical theatre category was awarded to Riley Abernathy, Angie Calfa, Kylie Harris, Marti Millwee, Emmagrace Quillin, and Jordan Roberts. The superior rating in the vocal solo: art song category was awarded to Angie Calfa, Marti Millwee, Sydney Neel and Jordan Roberts. Michael Morales, Emma Soto, Ava Sparks-Hansen and Drew Walker participated in the non-competitive category.

For more information about the National Federation of Music Clubs or to inquire about HPU’s Pre-College Music program, contact Diane Owens at 325-649-8501 or

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

Community Band to present spring concert at HPU

The Central Texas Community Band will present its spring concert on Thursday, May 9, at Howard Payne University’s Mims Auditorium. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

The band is comprised of musicians from Bangs, Brownwood, Coleman, Cross Plains, Dublin, Early, Lake Brownwood, May, Santa Anna and Zephyr. The band has practiced together every Monday evening since mid-January and is conducted by Frank Nelson, assistant professor of music and director of bands at HPU.

The band portion of the concert will include marches, a ragtime piece and several light, energetic program pieces. Also performing will be the Heartland Harmonizers, a local barbershop singing group under the direction of Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry at HPU. The Heartland Harmonizers will perform works such as “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “God Bless America” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

“This is such an exciting opportunity to join with musicians from all over central Texas and to bring a musical offering to the community at large,” said Nelson. “We have musicians ranging from 15 to 70 years of age. I hope everyone will make an effort to come and support this musical community project.”

For more information, contact the HPU School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

HPU presents Commencement ceremony this Saturday

 Howard Payne University will hold its spring Commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 11, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum. The coliseum is located at 500 E. Baker Street in Brownwood.

Dr. Cory Hines, president, and other university representatives will confer the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Delivering the charge to the graduates is Robert Morrison, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and retired educator from Abilene.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, May 10, by Chime Out, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, representing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. Chime Out begins at 6:00 p.m. at HPU’s Mims Auditorium.

For more information, including details on how to access HPU’s livestream of the events, please visit the HPU website at


Cutline: HPU’s Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, at the Brownwood Coliseum.

HPU’s theatre department to present original drama “Mouthpiece” at Brownwood’s Lyric

Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre has announced performances of “Mouthpiece,” an original one-act drama written by Dr. Nicholas Ewen, assistant professor of theatre. The play will be performed Friday through Sunday, May 10-12, at Brownwood’s Lyric Theatre. Each performance will begin at 7:00 p.m. and last approximately 50 minutes.

“Mouthpiece” depicts the story of a senator who, after an accident, prompts those around him to consider the power of God’s Word.

“Simply staged with beautiful renditions of traditional hymns, ‘Mouthpiece’ poses deep questions and portrays the profoundly human cost of belief and unbelief,” said Dr. Ewen. “Particularly poignant in today’s world of corruption and shifting definitions of truth, our drama expresses in rich dramatic detail that the Word of God is, as Hebrews 4:12 says, sharper than any two-edged sword, able to penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to assist with expenses for the group to travel to the International Collegiate Theatre Festival (ICTF) in August to perform “Mouthpiece.” The ICTF is held in conjunction with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

“This play will be performed as part of the HPU Department of Theatre’s mission to share the love of Christ with the world at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,” said Dr. Ewen. “We invite the public to support this mission through prayer that God’s kingdom would be revealed through the witness of these student missionaries and through the performance of this play.”

Participating in the production are Dr. Ewen, who wrote the play, directs it and performs music; Christopher Ewen, a sophomore at May High School, who operates lights; Jessica Catlett, a senior from Alleyton majoring in social work and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, who operates sound; Isaac Williams, a senior from May majoring in Christian education, who performs music; and cast members Sara Heinrichs, a junior from Hico majoring in theatre arts with all-level certification; Deejay Moses, a senior from May majoring in theatre arts with all-level certification; Jake Bowren, a junior from San Antonio majoring in theatre; Cassia Rose, campus visit coordinator and 2018 HPU graduate; and Laurel Pinkney, a sophomore theatre major from Carrollton.

“This show is affecting and personal,” said Pinkney. “Filled with memorable characters and interspersed with traditional hymns, this play will linger in audience members’ minds long after they’ve left the theatre.”

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact the Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline #1: On stage for HPU’s production of “Mouthpiece” are, from left, Laurel Pinkney, Cassia Rose, Jake Bowren, Deejay Moses, Sara Heinrichs, Isaac Williams and Dr. Nicholas Ewen.

Cutline #2: The play “Mouthpiece,” written by HPU’s Dr. Nicholas Ewen, will be performed at Brownwood’s Lyric Theatre May 10-12 at 7:00 p.m

Registration opens for HPU’s Summer and Young Scholars programs

Registration is now open for Howard Payne University’s Summer and Young Scholars day camps for children entering first through sixth grades. The camps, scheduled July 15-19 from 9 a.m. to noon each day, feature fun and innovative instruction in a variety of subjects.

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades will study robotics, 3D printing, science and recreation. The Young Scholars program is designed for children entering first through third grades and the campers will receive instruction in music, robotics, science and recreation.

“Summer and Young Scholars is an excellent opportunity for students to have an engaging academic experience during the middle of the summer, where they can engage in hands-on learning fun,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication Studies. “All of our instructors are either HPU faculty or highly experienced local public school professionals, with a wealth of educational experience.”

The camps will be held in HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. Program participants will also have supervised access to HPU’s wellness center and other campus locations.

“Students in the classes have fun learning about topics not always covered in regular classes, and every day there is some sort of experiential learning or experiment,” said Dr. Welker. “There is never a dull moment at Summer and Young Scholars.”

Cost for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs is $110 per student and includes a souvenir, snacks and supplies. Students must be registered before the event to attend.

“Last year, we met capacity in most of our classes,” said Dr. Welker. “I encourage parents to register their children early to guarantee a spot. Registration is not complete until tuition has been made.”

Online registration is available at For more information about the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars day camps, contact Dr. Welker at 325-649-8508 or via e-mail at

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: Summer and Young Scholars logo

HPU’s Dr. Christopher B. Rosborough to be clinician at Fort Worth ISD small-school choir All-State camp

Howard Payne University’s Dr. Christopher B. Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, was recently invited to serve as a clinician at the 2019 Fort Worth small-school choir All-State camp.

The event will be held June 10-13 and will culminate in a performance by attendees at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

“I am so grateful to collaborate with this region and these schools and districts for the betterment of music education in our state,” said Dr. Rosborough. “The time spent with students and colleagues always serves as mutually invaluable as we navigate the mystery and gift of making music together. For me, the deepest cognitive connections come through our shared experience of learning and ‘musicing’; and often, at least in my experience, those in attendance leave with an equal spiritual depth.”

In fall 2018, Dr. Rosborough also was asked to clinic the Regions 5 and 7 TMEA Small School All-Region Choir at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts, under the leadership of HPU alumnus Arielle Sword ’03, Region 7 and vocal area chairwoman. Dr. Rosborough led the choirs in the performance of five pieces at the concert.

“In attendance for this clinic were 112 students from 21 high schools. They all experienced incredible growth in musicality, vocal execution and personal depth that propelled their performance into unfound heights,” he said. “It was an incredible honor to be hosted by these fantastic choral programs and one of the highlights of my year.”

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: Dr. Rosborough conducts a student choir at the Regions 5 and 7 TMEA Small School All-Region Choir at Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts in November 2018.