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Four Ways to Show Genuine Thankfulness

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November is a time during which we stop to enjoy all the things for which we feel especially grateful. This may include things such as our families and pets, cars or other materialistic items and, most importantly, faith. But how often are thoughts of this nature from a prideful heart rather than a heart of sincere thanksgiving?

Here are some ways to show your sincere appreciation and thankfulness this holiday season:

1. Reflect. Take time to write down things for which you’re thankful. Consider people, experiences and other factors that have shaped you. Think of the things you take for granted like food, a bed, talents and abilities you’ve been given. Reflect on the importance of these things and show gratitude to the One from whom all blessings are given.

2. Be real. Don’t simply post on Facebook or social media about how grateful you are for things. If you’re thankful for specific people, take the time out of your day to call or text them and share with them why you’re thankful for their presence in your life.

3. Volunteer. There are many opportunities this time of year to participate in a food drive, Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child or similar charitable project. Give of your time and/or money because you realize how truly blessed you are by what you’ve been given.

4. Be intentional. Giving of yourself means so much more than a shout-out on social media. Drive to your grandparents to spend a weekend with them. Babysit for a friend who needs a night out with his or her spouse. Go to lunch with an elderly person – he or she will appreciate your time and interest and you’ll leave with a little more wisdom about life. Invest in people and realize how blessed you are by the people in your life.

Giving thanks isn’t just for November. Make it a point to do these things more than just once a year. It’s easy to show gratitude and serve when everyone around us is doing the same, but we should be intentional to do all of this year round. Everyone needs a friendly smile, a helping hand or a kind word every now and then and you can be the person to offer that. Reflecting on our blessings also gives us refreshed perspective and a sometimes-needed attitude adjustment. I encourage you to take time to think and act on each of these things and I think you’ll find that you reap the most benefit.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and take time to reflect on the many blessings God has given you – especially grace and salvation.

— Whitney Hooper, assistant director of admission, extension centers

6 Tips to Ace Adjusting to College

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The time has come and you’re beginning a new chapter of your life! With new beginnings come new feelings – often excitement of a fresh start combined with nervousness and confusion as to what this new adventure will hold. Staff members from Howard Payne University’s Office of Admission are here to give you a few helpful tips for acing this new adjustment.

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – The best advice Whitney Hooper, assistant director of admission for extension centers, has been given is simply to remember: “Each person sitting at new-student orientation with you is in the same boat. Sure, someone might know his or her roommate in advance, but most people are desperately hoping someone will say hi to them and be their friend. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and remember everyone is looking for a smiling face and a new friend.”

nbblog825152. Arrive early to class the first week (and always if you can) – The first week of class is a chance to make first impressions, claim your seat and show your professors you’re ready for this. This is definitely not the time to roll out of bed and run to class five minutes late. Set the tone for your semester and impress your professors.

3. Take care of yourself – This goes beyond just physical health – though watch out for the “Freshman 15.” It is important to care for yourself mentally and spiritually, as well. Sidni Kirby, HPU admission counselor, advises students to “seek peace, seek health and call home when life gets busy.”

4. Get involved – This can look different to different people. You can volunteer at a local food kitchen, get involved in your church in an area you feel called to serve or join organizations associated with your school. Seek opportunities and get involved. It can also be a great way to meet people.

5. Define your college experience – College is what you make of it. You can go to a large university, but if you sit inside all day your college experience will be similar to staying home and commuting to college. It’s all about how you decide to spend those magical four years. Get involved, make friends and serve the community or local church. Network. Take internships that build your experiences. Study abroad. Travel. Experience all that life can offer you in this short time because you’ll look back and realize it was one of the greatest seasons that life can bring.

Admission counselor Lacy Culpepper says, “Take advantage of every opportunity to make friends and acquaintances. College is a time during which you can meet some of the best friends you will ever have and lifelong mentors. It’s a time during which you are able to choose who you really want to be and what will define you.”

6. Remember that these years will change your life – College is only a short time in your life, but it can be the best four years if you allow it to challenge and shape you academically, spiritually and professionally. As mentioned above, travel and experience new things as you are able. Find yourself and, most importantly, your identity in Christ. You may find being on your own and making decisions for the rest of your life to be challenging, but remember that, in Christ, each day is a new beginning and a chance to get it right. Keep pressing on and you’ll be just fine.

William Massey, admission counselor, says “One must keep a still heart even in the most trying of circumstances. Don’t worry when things aren’t going according to your plan. College is an exciting and busy time. Just stay calm and keep moving forward.”

Your future is waiting on you! Get ready to define your experience and your life. It’s all up to you and what you choose to do. Best wishes on this new adventure. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13. Welcome to the HPU family, Yellow Jacket!

Summer in New Braunfels

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Guest post by Brittney Overstreet, 2014 graduate from HPU NB’s MBA program

Brittney Overstreet

Brittney Overstreet

With Texas’ scorching temperatures, what better way to cool off than one of the many water recreational activities in New Braunfels? From floating the river to riding one of the many rides at Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels is just the place to keep you cooled off this summer.

New Braunfels is known for floating the river, or “tubing” as we locals call it. Just hop into an inner tube and enjoy the ride. There are two rivers to choose from in New Braunfels: the Comal and the Guadalupe. Both rivers are natural so flow conditions and float lengths are subject to change. Make sure to check with a river outfitter before floating.

Tubing isn’t the only activity you can do on the river. Many kayakers enjoy navigating the rapids of the Guadalupe River. If you don’t own a kayak or canoe, many outfitters have them available to rent. They will make sure to put you on the best part of the river for your trip.

Located along the Comal River, Schlitterbahn Waterpark is more than 70 acres of water bliss with a variety of rides suitable for all ages. Ride down six stories on the Master Blaster or hop on The Falls to float around the park. Pack a picnic to take a break from this day-long water adventure. With more than 40 attractions, Schlitterbahn is sure to provide fun for the whole family.

Are you looking to wakeboard but don’t have a boat? No worries! Texas Ski Ranch is a cable park that allows you to wakeboard from a cable system on a man-made lake. Texas Ski Ranch also has a boat lake to allow riders to practice wakeboarding behind a boat with one of their professional drivers. The cable park is the perfect place to wakeboard for all skill levels.

Guadalupe RiverIf you have a boat, there are two lakes close by for you to use: Canyon Lake and Lake Dunlap. Canyon Lake has an 80-mile shoreline and is a short 30-minute drive from New Braunfels. Wakeboarding, jet skiing, hoverboarding and jetpacking are some fun activities for the whole family to do on Canyon Lake. Lake Dunlap is a 410-acre lake located in New Braunfels. Boating, water skiing, jet skiing and fishing are common activities along this lake. The public access ramp located off I-35 is the perfect place from which to fish or boat.

If you’re looking for a nice place to have a picnic with a great view, Hinman Island is the place to go! Pack your lunch, lounge in the grass and watch all the tubers float by on the Comal River. Surrounded by trees, Hinman Island even features a playground area for the kiddos to enjoy. Bring your bathing suit so you can jump into the river to cool off.

Landa Park features a spring-fed pool that stays 72 degrees year round. This 1900s historic body of water is one of the oldest bathing pools in Texas. The spring-fed pool has a mushroom fountain and water slide in the shallow end. In the deep end there is a two-story-tall waterslide and an overhead cargo net for climbing, rope swinging and zip lining.

So don’t sit inside this summer, check out some of the awesome water-recreation activities New Braunfels has to offer!

Welcome to the HPU NB Blog

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Welcome to the HPU NB Blog where we will share more information about Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center through blog posts, news articles and spotlights on our amazing students and staff. Bookmark this page or add to your blog reader to be kept in the loop on things involving HPU NB.

HPU NB Sign for webTo make sure everyone is up to speed on what’s going on at HPU NB, let us share a little background information on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

Howard Payne University was established in 1889 in Brownwood, Texas. There’s a rich heritage of fun traditions, amazing faculty and staff, and many students whose lives were forever changed by their experiences at HPU.

How did HPU end up in New Braunfels? HPU was approached by Craig Hall, the real estate agent with the new, exciting Veramendi development. Through discussion and deliberation, HPU accepted the offer and opened doors in New Braunfels, Texas.

HPU has offered classes in New Braunfels since January 2013 when we started our very first program, the Master of Business Administration degree, with six students. Since that time, HPU NB has been very busy planting roots into this beautiful community with a rich history, growing to 50 students in the spring of 2015. We’ve already graduated 10 students in the past two years, with our first undergraduate student earning his degree in May 2015.

The growth we’ve seen is just a beginning! The community of New Braunfels is exploding with new growth and HPU is thrilled that we get to be a part of that. The excitement of HPU is already spreading throughout the community as new students join us each new semester.

To find out more about HPU NB, stay tuned by following us on Facebook or come visit us at 1259 Loop 337 North, Suite 100, in New Braunfels.

Want to know more? Here are some resources for you:

  • Register now for a preview event!

Chill with HPU NB – July 16

Master of Business Administration Luncheon – July 30

HPU’s Academy celebrates anniversary with former FOX News correspondent Jim Angle

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Jim Angle in Mims for webHoward Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its first graduating class with a ceremony featuring special guest speaker Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel.

Angle spoke on the topic “A Look at Wacky Washington and Those Who Want to Lead It.” Prior to his lecture were musical performances by Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; TaShana Hooker, a sophomore from Carrollton; and Hannah Strebeck, a senior from Royse City.

Following the lecture, a VIP dinner was hosted in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center. Guest speakers during the dinner included Academy graduates Dr. Edward Daniel ’66, Mack DuBose ’65, Guy Ben Garner III ’74 and Tristan Summers ’09. DuBose was the first to receive a degree from the prestigious Academy and Garner is the grandson of Dr. Guy D. Newman, the program’s founder.

Other speakers included Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Justin D. Murphy, the Academy’s current director, Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities; Dr. Matthew McNiece ’03, chair and associate professor of history and political science; and current students Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle, and Caitlin Wood, a junior from Miles.

Dr. Murphy and Dr. McNiece presented gifts to Angle and DuBose. At the end of the dinner, Dr. Murphy was also recognized for his involvement with the program since he began teaching at HPU and the Academy in 1991.

“It was humbling to be honored in this way and I’m proud to be associated with the program as well as its graduates and current students,” said Dr. Murphy.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently hosted Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the program’s first graduate.

HPU Model United Nations team brings home several awards from Münster conference

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By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

HPU’s Model United Nations team excelled at the Münster University International Model United Nations conference held in Münster, Germany, bringing home six awards from various committees. The Münster conference is the largest MUN conference in Germany, with students traveling from across Europe and as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan, China and Japan to participate.

Munster Spring 2015 for web“This was the first Model UN Conference in which our students were by themselves as single-member delegations, rather than two-member delegations,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. “This made for a much more challenging conference, especially since seven of our sixteen members were in MUN for the first time. Yet one of the conference leaders told me afterward that our students were the best-prepared team as a whole than any other university.”

This semester’s MUN team included head delegate Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo; co-head delegate Mike McConnell, a junior from Burleson; Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood; Jimmy Abbatiello, a sophomore from Kerrville; Cody Perrin, a junior from Eastland; Nicole Nehf, a senior from May; Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle; Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown; Gavin Stewart, a junior from Flower Mound; Sydnee Petty, a junior from Brownwood; Sam Hoffman, a junior from Corpus Christi; Emily Peisker, a junior from Cedar Park; Jessi Jordan, a senior from Spurger; Rachel White, a freshman from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Maggie Van Nes, a freshman from Keller; and Danielle Parkhurst, a junior from Alleyton. These HPU students represented the countries of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany on their councils.

On the Security Council, DeLoach received the outstanding delegate award for her representation of China, while on the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime Council, Abbatiello, also representing China, received the outstanding delegate award. Bonner took the outstanding delegate and best position paper awards for the International Court of Justice Committee. Stewart secured the outstanding delegate award for the Economic and Financial Committee, with Perrin taking the honorable mention award for the Special Political and Decolonization Committee.

After the conference, the team took a trip to Berlin to visit museums and see the remnants of the Berlin Wall. The day included seeing historical landmarks like the famous Checkpoint Charlie museum, the Topography of Terror museum, the Holocaust memorial, the Führerbunker and the Brandenburg Gate.

“It was such a moving and impactful experience to visit places where such great and horrible historical events occurred,” said Jimmy Abbatiello. “In Berlin we did more than visit tourist sites, we witnessed the aftermath of tragedy and the rebuilding of a bright future for the German people.”

With many new friends from all over the world and great experiences with collaboration and diplomacy, the HPU team looks forward to future conferences and more opportunities to prepare for the future through the learning experiences that come with Model United Nations.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently brought home several awards from a conference in Münster, Germany. Left to right: Sam Hoffman, Mike McConnell, Nicole Nehf, Gavin Stewart, Katie Rose Bonner, Danielle Parkhurst, Sydney Spencer, Emily Peisker, Sydnee Petty, Jessi Jordan, Cara DeLoach, Maggie Van Nes, Rachel White, Jimmy Abbatiello, Jason Murphy and Cody Perrin.

Ashley Moon – My second London semester

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Ashley Moon is a junior communication major from Waxahachie, TX. For more information on this and other CGE/CAPA programs, please visit or

moon blog 1

In late November of 2013, I found out that in less than two months, I would be spending a semester in London for the second time.

After my first semester, I started to appreciate Howard Payne for what it was; the professors are intelligent and understanding, the community is small and open, and the atmosphere is relaxed. Out of all the things HPU has done for me, I am most grateful for their flexibility in allowing me and encouraging me to study abroad.

If I didn’t go to Howard Payne, I would have never gone to London. That thought is impossible for me to comprehend. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I never lived in Europe or experienced the spectacular city that London is.

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To my surprise, my second semester in London was even better than the first (didn’t think that was possible)! I decided to study the second time through an organization called CAPA International. Through this program, I was a part of a large group of American students from all over the country who learned from British professors in a classroom setting. Luckily, I was able to fill my entire schedule with upper-level communication classes. In addition to taking classes, CAPA gave me the opportunity to work an internship.

Prior to moving across the pond, CAPA had me fill out an extensive internship application in which I explained my interests and career goals. An internships team looked through all the applications and literally found me a perfect match!

I am a communication major with an emphasis in public & media relations. My goal is to use my media skills (photography, video, writing and/or graphic design) through journalism or advertising. In London, I interned with a photographer. We worked on fashion shoots, advertising product shots, packages for families and conceptual artistic shoots. I also wrote for his website and learned a lot about Photoshop and graphic design. In addition to getting experience in so many areas of interest, I became great friends with my boss and his wife. Together, they taught me so much about photography and even more about life.

Through CAPA, I also had the chance to live with a family in England. The previous year, I had stayed in an apartment in a central area with other American students. Since I already had this experience, I decided to live with a host family. The Moylettes made my experience in England so incredible. They had two daughters ages 15 and 12 and a 10-year-old son. I never felt homesick while I was in England because I was constantly surrounded by amazing people who cared about me.

I will always encourage students to study abroad. It truly is such an incredible experience, and Howard Payne is too accommodating to refuse. When I studied abroad this last semester, I actually spent less money than I would have if I stayed in Brownwood.

CAPA provided me with some financial assistance as well. They offered a scholarship to one person in their program to be the “official vlogger”. I competed for this scholarship and received it. I was to make one video blog per week, explaining what I was doing in London and how my semester was going. CAPA shared these videos on their social outlets, giving me exposure while promoting their organization.

Independently living in England gave me a sense of confidence that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. So much of my time there was spent listening to or observing others. I can’t explain the exciting energy that is present in every area of London. There is always someone new to meet, something interesting to explore, and something challenging to be taught.

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Another awesome part of living in London is the opportunity to travel to other places. Because the countries in Europe are so geographically close, it is very easy to travel between them. I had the chance to travel to Scotland, Wales and France, all on a college student budget!

I have never regretted any aspect of my time abroad. There were challenges that I faced, such as homesickness or being short on money, but I learned how to deal with those things and they made me a stronger and well-rounded person.

After going abroad the first time, a hunger for travel was instilled in me. I will have traveled to 6 countries all before my 20th birthday! My life has become incredibly exciting through traveling and meeting people from around the world, and I pray that my fire for adventure never burns out.

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