Yearly News Archives: 2013

HPU DPS officers undergo additional training

dps_trainingHoward Payne University’s Department of Public Safety team recently underwent additional training at the new headquarters building. The training was specifically in the fields of New Radio Procedures; Hazardous Materials Recognition and Response; and Officer Safety.

The officers were also recently issued new radios to wear on their uniforms. These new systems allow the officers to be in direct radio communication with Brownwood Police and the 911 Center at all times, 24/7. This enables the officers to respond immediately to emergency situations on campus and also provides them a lifeline by which they can call for immediate assistance from other HPU DPS and Brownwood Police Officers, in the event that they discover an emergency.

“Each officer was also issued a Chief’s Unit Commendation for their remarkable duty this past year,” said Chief Paul Lilly. “This was of course a very stressful year in that it was when we transitioned from security to DPS and underwent a great deal of changes, upgrades and training. Further, Officer Randy Weehunt was issued a Certificate of Appreciation for his quick response and assistance to the IT and various departments at last week’s power outage.”

HPU El Paso Center celebrates opening of new facility

el_paso_ribbon_cutting_for_webThe Howard Payne University El Paso Center celebrated the opening of its new facility at the First Baptist Church in El Paso on April 29. Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, gave a special address to the attendees of the open house and Dr. Stephen Kovach, professor of Christian studies for the El Paso Center, offered a prayer of dedication. As part of the celebration, Blanca Gamez, a 2009 graduate with a double major in Christian studies and business management, shared an inspiring story of how her HPU education from the extension center has made a remarkable difference in the life of her family. A special award was given to Bertha Valle, office manager, for her almost 20 years of dedicated service to the extension center. The award was presented by Dr. Ellis and Dale Meinecke, HPU assistant vice president for external programs and church relations.

The extension center’s new home allows for easier access for students all across the El Paso region to attend. Several new courses will be offered next fall as the HPU El Paso Center makes new strides for the future. The Chamber of Commerce, represented by Alicia Ward, held a ribbon cutting and presented the El Paso Center with its own “star” of El Paso.valle_award_presentation_for_web

Pictured from left to right are Dr. Bob Nickell, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso; Christy Meinecke, HPU admission counselor; Alicia Ward, El Paso Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Carmen Santana, professor of business; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Dr. Stephen Kovach, professor of Christian Studies; Dr. David Lowrie, pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dale Meinecke, HPU assistant vice president for external programs and church relations; Robyn Lowrie, pastor’s wife, First Baptist Church in El Paso; Bertha Valle, office manager of HPU El Paso Center; Erick Jimenez, HPU El Paso admission counselor; and Clinton Wolf, First Baptist Church member.

Pictured from left to right are Dale Meinecke, HPU assistant vice president for external programs and church relations; Bertha Valle, office manager of HPU El Paso Center; and Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

HPU to hold spring Commencement on May 11

BROWNWOOD – May 7, 2013 – Howard Payne University will graduate approximately 138 undergraduate and graduate students at its spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m., in the Brownwood Coliseum.

Dr. Ellis Orozco, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Richardson, will deliver the charge to the graduates. The undergraduate degrees will be conferred by Dr. Bill Ellis, university president; Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr., chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost; and Lana Wagner ’97, registrar. Graduate degrees will be conferred by Drs. Ellis and Tew; Dr. Lois Patton, director of the graduate program in business administration and professor of business administration; Dr. Leslie Plagens, dean of the School of Business and professor of business administration; Dr. Joe Robinson, director of the instructional leadership graduate program and associate professor of education; and Dr. Michael Rosato, dean of the School of Education.

Other program participants will include: Corey Ash ’92, director of bands and associate professor of music, directing the Howard Payne University Instrumental Ensemble; Rev. David Cozart ’96, president of HPU’s Alumni Association and minister of education/administration at Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Waco; Tyler Matthew Heidelberg, graduating senior; Ryan David Hogan, graduating senior; Dr. Ronny Marriott, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi; Dr. Justin Murphy, dean of the School of Humanities, professor of history and director of the Academy of Freedom; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace ’71, faculty president and professor of music.

Remote parking and shuttle service to the Brownwood Coliseum for Commencement will be available at the parking lot across from the Packer Administration Building on the HPU campus. Buses with identification signs in the windows will begin picking up passengers from remote parking at 9 a.m. and will continue running until one hour after the ceremony. Parking in the vicinity of the Brownwood Coliseum will be more limited than usual on the day of Commencement.

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, 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 p.m. at the J. Howard Hodge Memorial Bell Towers. For more information about Chime Out and Commencement, contact the Office of University Marketing and Communications at (325) 649-8009 or via e-mail at

HPU faculty and staff members honored for service

underwoods_and_scott_for_webBROWNWOOD – May 2, 2013 – Members of Howard Payne University’s faculty and staff were recently honored at an annual personnel recognition luncheon held on the HPU campus. Dr. Harlan Scott, chair of the biology department and associate professor of biology, was named Outstanding Faculty Member and Jodi Goode, director of information technology, received the Outstanding Staff Member Award.

The outstanding faculty and staff member awards are made possible by the Underwood family of Underwood’s Bar-B-Q and the Porter family of Porter Insurance, respectively.

Certificates recognizing excellence in teaching were presented to Mike Daub, associate professor of accounting; Dan Humeniuk, department chair and assistant professor of social work; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, assistant professor of education; and Dr. Mark Patton, professor of business administration.jodi_goode_and_robert_porter_for_web

Certificates recognizing excellence in service were presented to Katrina Lynn, administrative assistant for business and human resources; Rebecca Mainka, mail room and copy center clerk; and Larry Henderson, custodian.
Special plaques commemorating retirement were given to Tonya Horner, associate professor of mathematics, and Louise Sharp, associate vice president for marketing and communications, chief marketing officer and special assistant to the president.

Also receiving awards were:

Five years of service – Dora Arellano, custodian; Tammy Arreola, accounts payable coordinator; Gretchen Campbell, student account coordinator; Ton Damron, assistant professor of social work; James Darby, adjunct instructor of exercise and sport science; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, assistant professor of biology; Mandy Locker, assistant professor of criminal justice; Alexa Maddox, academic services coordinator; Larry Meadows, adjunct instructor of business administration; Jerome Nowowiejski, adjunct instructor of exercise and sport science; Joshua Prock, head women’s basketball coach; Kim Rosato, instructor of exercise and sport science; Carrie Singleton, campus visit coordinator; Vanessa Stewart, adjunct instructor of communication; and Lance Unger, assistant football coach.

Ten years of service – Martha Fothergill, coordinator of records and reports; Carla Hawkins, assistant professor of modern languages; Kim Schuster, executive assistant to the senior vice president for finance and administration; Bobbie Jo Stewart, circulation services and music library supervisor; and Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education.

Fifteen years of service – Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication; Kathy Hagood, associate professor of English; Scott Owen, assistant professor of exercise and sport science; Diann Prickett, gift processing clerk; and Dr. Julie Welker, department chair and professor of communication.

Twenty years of service – Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies; and Eydie Henderson, administrative assistant for the School of Christian Studies.

Twenty-five years of service – Dr. Art Allen, professor of Christian studies.


Photo cutlines: Jodi Goode received the Outstanding Staff Member Award for the 2012-2013 academic year at HPU. She is pictured with Robert Porter. The award is made possible by the Porter family of Porter Insurance.

Dr. Harlan Scott, right, received the Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the 2012-2013 academic year. He is pictured with Jill Underwood and Paul Underwood. The award is made possible by the Underwood family of Underwood’s Bar-B-Q.

HPU students awarded for servant-leadership qualities

Kalantar Nat Tracy Award for webBROWNWOOD – May 2, 2013 – Five Howard Payne University students were honored recently for their acts of servant leadership on campus and in the local community. Awards were presented during HPU’s annual Servant Leadership Program.

Karla Kalantar, a senior social work major from Houston, was presented with the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award.

The Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was established in 1998 to honor HPU seniors who best demonstrate servant leadership qualities as exemplified by the life of the late Dr. Nat Tracy, a member of HPU’s Bible faculty from 1950-1975.

HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to Shannon Bundy, a junior social work major from Port Aransas; Jonathan Henderson, a senior Christian education major from Plainview; Rebekah Steadman, a junior social work major from Fort Worth; and Erik Swenson, a senior Academy of Freedom major from Carrollton.

Established in 2007 by the Moore Foundation and Barney II Foundation, this award recognizes student excellence in the areas of leadership and service. A $1,000 scholarship is provided to each recipient of the award, and each student designates $250 of his/her scholarship award to be given to his/her chosen charity.
“These students exemplify what it means to be a follower of Christ and a leader among their peers and in the community,” said Dr. Mark Tew, HPU provost and chief academic officer. “It is our honor to recognize them for their achievements.”hpu servant leadership award recipients 2013 for web

Nominations for these awards are solicited each spring from HPU staff, faculty and students.


Photo cutlines: Karla Kalantar was named the recipient of the 2013 Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award at HPU.

HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to, from left, Rebekah Steadman, Shannon Bundy and Jonathan Henderson. Not pictured is Erik Swenson.

HPU alumnus to appear on Travel Channel’s “Burger Land”

BROWNWOOD – May 2, 2013 – Don Blake, a 1977 Howard Payne University alumnus formerly of Brownwood, will be featured on the Travel Channel’s “Burger Land” on Monday, May 6, beginning at 8 p.m.

The owner of Blakes BBQ and Burgers in Houston, Blake was profiled in the 2011 book “Hamburger America,” a state-by-state guidebook to the best hamburger restaurants in America.

Blake often uses the word “serendipity” to describe his successes in the business, a word he says he first learned while a student at HPU.

“I remember sitting in Chapel when I was a sophomore,” he said. “The speaker said ‘serendipity’ and it stuck in my mind.”

Though he attributes many of his achievements to serendipity, his business wouldn’t be what it is today without hard work and a knack for making great burgers.

“I would like for you to join me in watching as we celebrate the successes of an HPU graduate and former resident of Brownwood,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “Hopefully we’ll also learn a few tips on making burgers worthy of a Travel Channel special.”

Episodes of “Burger Land” featuring Blake will repeat throughout the month of May. Visit for listings.

Chassidy Carroll honored with HPU Spirit of Social Work award

spirit_of_social_work_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 30, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented the Spirit of Social Work award to Chassidy Carroll, a 2008 HPU graduate and co-founder of Hope Home Ministry of Brownwood. Carroll received the award for “many years of outstanding social work service helping others.”

Hope Home is a non-profit, faith-based transitional home for young women who are released from juvenile correctional facilities. The program focuses on teaching girls the life skills they need to become responsible adults and giving them true hope through a growing relationship with Jesus.

“I’m so grateful that God has allowed me to be a part of His work in the lives of the young women we serve,” Carroll said. “Seeing Jesus transform their hearts and watching them realize their worth, often for the first time, is a beautiful thing.”

HPU’s Social Work Advisory Board is comprised of individuals throughout the community who have an interest in the social work profession and HPU’s social work program. The board annually presents a Spirit of Social Work Award to an individual whose career reflects an outstanding contribution to the social work profession. It has been awarded to other individuals in the local community who have collaborated with the social work program and to distinguished program graduates.

“It is amazing to witness someone who has a vision for a specific ministry in college who then steps out in faith to create a service to address that need,” said Dan Humeniuk, director of HPU’s social work program. “Chassidy’s story of the founding and operation of Hope Home Ministry is truly inspirational.”


Photo cutline: Dan Humeniuk, director of HPU’s social work program, presents Chassidy Carroll with the 2013 Spirit of Social Work award.

Five HPU seniors honored at annual Sumners Banquet

sumners_scholars_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 30, 2013 – Five graduating seniors in the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom honors program at Howard Payne University were recently honored during the annual Sumners Banquet held on the HPU campus.

The Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholars honored during the banquet included Charity Chambers, of Derby, Kan.; Gabi Guerrero, of Red Oak; Landon Hankins, of Decatur; Kait Kelm, of Lindale; and Kelley Miller, of Paradise. The students dined with members of the Foundation, the HPU Board of Trustees and Academy of Freedom Board of Directors, as well as Sumners Scholar alumni from HPU, before receiving plaques and expressing their gratitude to the Foundation.

Current HPU Sumners Scholars present at the banquet included Catherine Mullaney, a junior from Boylston, Mass.; Jessica Ramirez, a senior from Bangs; and Robin Scofield, a junior from Naples, Fla. Liz Rogers, a junior from Grand Junction, Colo., was studying abroad in London at the time of the event.

The Sumners Scholar program provides a generous scholarship of $5,500 per semester for two years. Students are selected after an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation.

“Sumners Scholars not only receive significant financial assistance but, more importantly, the opportunities to attend lecture series by national figures and participate in public policy seminars and student leadership conferences,” said Dr. Justin Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Academy.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.


Photo cutline: Five HPU seniors were honored during the annual Sumners Banquet. Left to right: Charity Chambers, Gabi Guerrero, Kait Kelm, Kelley Miller and Landon Hankins.