Yearly News Archives: 2014

HPU’s accreditation reaffirmed for the next decade

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2014 – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced during its annual meeting this week that the accreditation for Howard Payne University has been reaffirmed for the next ten years. HPU has been accredited by the Commission on Colleges since 1948.

During a business session in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday morning, delegates from colleges and universities across the southern region were informed of actions taken by the Commission as a culmination of individual institutional reaccreditation efforts.

Among the delegates were Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Robert Bicknell, accreditation liaison.

The reaffirmation of accreditation involves the entire campus community and includes examination of all aspects of university operation including administrative processes, academic programs, student life, library services and physical and financial resources.

Dr. Bicknell leads HPU’s efforts for reaffirmation of accreditation.

“Howard Payne’s success is due to the efforts of so many members of the faculty, staff and administration, who not only produced an accepted report, but have discovered that living by the ‘best practices’ principles of accreditation leads to ongoing success,” said Dr. Bicknell.

HPU’s accreditation was reaffirmed with no follow-up reports required.

“In 2004, the Commission on Colleges required three follow-up reports before reaffirming the university’s accreditation,” said Dr. Tew. “The reaffirmation in 2014 without any follow-up is a testimony to the culture of accreditation that exists on campus today. I am very proud of the university’s faculty, deans and administrative staff for creating such an environment.”

Dr. Ellis also lauded Dr. Bicknell and the rest of the campus community.

“Reaffirmation of accreditation requires a tremendous amount of hard work from numerous individuals on campus throughout the decade-long process,” he said. “I count HPU’s successful journey to reaccreditation among our many blessings this Christmas season.”

More than 2,000 area residents served during Thanksgiving at HPU

BROWNWOOD – December 8, 2014 – Howard Payne University and the Brownwood area started the holiday season recently with the 31st annual Community Thanksgiving Feast.

patton thanksgiving feast for webApproximately 100 volunteers from around the community served 2,127 meals to their friends and neighbors. Volunteers delivered 1,438 of those meals to homes in the area, while 689 people enjoyed the food and fellowship at HPU’s Mabee University Center.

“We could not do this each year without help from the volunteers who chose to serve others on Thanksgiving,” said Bill Fishback, assistant vice president for business and human resources. “We are very blessed to live in a country where we can freely celebrate God’s blessings with our friends.”

A variety of area business and organizations are responsible for the event’s success including the Abilene Reporter-News, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Brownwood Bulletin,, KPSM, KOXE, KXYL, Kroger, Sodexo Food Service and Walmart.

“I also want to thank the people in this area who gave so graciously to support the Community Thanksgiving Feast,” said Fishback. “Again this year, we were able to pay for the food we served because of your generous donations. To everyone who helped, thank you again for reminding me that Thanksgiving really is about God’s blessings and our ability to share them with those around us.”


Photo cutline: Dr. Lois Patton, HPU professor of business administration, was among the approximately 100 volunteers at the 31st annual Community Thanksgiving Feast.

HPU to host financial aid seminars for parents of local students

BROWNWOOD – December 4, 2014 – Parents of local junior and senior high school students are invited to attend a free seminar covering general college financial aid information with an emphasis on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The event will be hosted by Glenda Huff, HPU’s director of student aid, at 6:30 p.m. on January 29 and February 5 in the Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center on the HPU campus.

According to Huff, it is extremely advantageous to begin the financial aid process as soon as possible after January 1.

“Some universities have very early priority dates for awarding financial aid funds,” she said. “These sessions are open to parents of all area students, even those not planning to enroll at HPU.”

University representatives will also discuss HPU’s Heart of Texas Scholarship Program, designed to benefit students graduating from high schools in Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, McCulloch, Mills and San Saba counties. The scholarship awards up to $14,000 annually to students who meet unconditional admission requirements.

For more information about the seminars or scholarships, contact PJ Gramling, director of admission, at (325) 649-8406 or For more information about HPU financial aid, visit or call (325) 649-8015.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau competes nationally, abroad

ssb oxford for webBROWNWOOD – December 3, 2014 – HPU’s competitive speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau, competed recently at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association fall championship tournament held at Texas Christian University and at the Oxford Inter-Varsity Debating Competition held in Oxford, England.

Freshman Braxton Clark, communication and political science major from Southlake, won fifth place top speaker at the TCU tournament.

“For a freshman to step in and win fifth best speaker at this tournament is quite an accomplishment,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the Department of Communication and SSB coach. “Most of the top 10 speakers are seasoned juniors and seniors. Braxton is an outstanding debater and I’m excited to see what he will do in the future.”

Following the tournament at TCU, the team traveled to Oxford to compete in the Oxford Inter-Varsity Debating Competition, one of the largest and most prestigious debating competitions on the UK University circuit and globally.

In Oxford, the team competed in a different debate format, British Parliamentary Debate. In this format, four teams of two debaters each compete in a round. Students have eight years of eligibility in this debate format so HPU teams debated graduate students, including doctoral candidates and law students.

“What makes this type of debate so challenging is that each debate round is a new topic,” said Welker. “These students have to be versed in many world topics, not just one issue. In this tournament alone, they debated about Hungarian politics, the parliament voting system, human rights issues, freelance journalism in war zones and ethnic-based political parties.”

HPU competed against teams from University of Cambridge, Stanford University, Colgate University and many other universities around the world. There were almost 300 competitors at this tournament.

“Only 16 students advance to finals at this tournament so, strategically, it is very hard to advance,” said Welker. “However, our HPU teams beat many other good schools, including one of the teams in the finals. That is a huge accomplishment, and I’m very proud of our team.”

Students who competed in both tournaments included Clark; Marcos Corley, senior criminal justice major from Corpus Christi; Meg Eakin, sophomore communication major from Plano; Adam Jones, junior youth ministry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Irving; Luis Rodriguez Ortiz, freshman English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownsville; Jared Russell, senior theatre major from Hillsboro; Kaleigh Tankersley, senior communication major from Iraan; and Dorie Walton, senior communication major from Lolita.

After the tournament in Oxford, the team traveled to London where they visited the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and many other attractions.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently competed in Oxford, England. Pictured at the famed Oxford Union are, from left, Dr. Julie Welker, Braxton Clark, Adam Jones, Kaleigh Tankersley, Marcos Corley, Meg Eakin, Jared Russell, Dorie Walton and Luis Rodriguez.

HPU Moot Court team wins regionals, advances to nationals

By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore

BROWNWOOD – December 3, 2014 –Howard Payne University pre-law students once again brought the university to the spotlight with successes in Moot Court. For the second year in a row, HPU students won the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association (TUMCA) regional competition and advanced to the national American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) tournament.

Sommers and Bonner for webKatie Rose Bonner, a senior political science pre-law, history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Lytle, and Isaac Sommers, a freshman social sciences jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Boerne, recently earned the title of TUMCA champions at the Texas A&M School of Law Moot Court Tournament in Fort Worth.

The team dominated with Sommers receiving the prestigious Top Overall Speaker award and Bonner following closely with recognition as third overall speaker. The team’s success gave them an automatic bid to the ACMA National Tournament to be held at Florida International University College of Law in January.

Freshmen Moot Court partners Jakob Morgan, a social sciences jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Blanket, and Skyler Schoolfield, a social sciences jurisprudence, communication and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Aledo, also competed at the TUMCA tournament, finishing as quarterfinalists. Morgan and Schoolfield’s success later garnered them a bid to the national competition as well.

A portion of HPU’s Moot Court team also attended the recent Texas Tech School of Law Moot Court Tournament in Lubbock. Rebeca Puente, a sophomore political science pre-law and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Texarkana, placed as the eighth overall speaker.

Moot Court is an experiential learning program that offers students the opportunity to cultivate their understanding of law interpretation, analytical debate, jurisprudence and case precedents. Students learn to argue both sides of two theoretical cases involving constitutional issues before a simulated United States Supreme Court. The team is led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science.

“Howard Payne University has consistently shown great success competing in collegiate Moot Court,” said Kelley. “The students put in countless hours of work and preparation, and we love seeing that hard work recognized.”

Bonner, a three-year member of the team and two-time regional champion, reflected on her experience as an HPU Moot Court participant.

“Moot Court is one of the greatest opportunities I have received through Howard Payne,” she said. “The program at this school is truly phenomenal, as evidenced by the long record of HPU tournament wins. I am honored to be a part of that tradition, along with my excellent partner, Isaac. I am also grateful for the chance to be coached by Professor Kelley, a past national Moot Court champion, and for the fun and great dynamic we have with everyone on the team.”

Sommers echoed her sentiment.

“As a freshman at Howard Payne and as someone planning to study law, Moot Court has proven to be an absolutely invaluable experience for me,” he said. “The skills I am learning will better equip me for law school and would be beneficial for anyone regardless of profession.”

Additional team members include Nicole Nehf, a senior from May; Christopher Mitchell, a senior from Wolf City; Colton McCabe, a senior from Gatesville; Zachary Eller, a junior from Temple; Andres Zambrano, a junior from Lake Brownwood; Caitlin Wood, a junior from Miles; J. Brian Bailey, a sophomore from Gunter; and Dani Coquat, a freshman from Three Rivers.

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, voiced his gratitude for those who give HPU students opportunities to succeed.

“God has blessed HPU and the Academy through the members of the Academy Board of Directors,” he said. “We would not be able to provide opportunities like this without their support over the years in establishing endowments and making gifts. I am also so very grateful to have a colleague with the credentials and leadership skills of Professor Kelley.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Isaac Sommers and Katie Rose Bonner were named Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association regional champions at the recent Texas A&M School of Law Moot Court Tournament in Fort Worth.

HPU to celebrate birth of Christ through readings and music

BROWNWOOD – December 2, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts will present its annual Service of Lessons and Carols this Sunday at 8 p.m. at St. John’s Church in Brownwood. The service includes Scripture readings about the prophecies and coming of Christ and music that reflects on the passages being read.

HPU faculty members will read the Scriptures and the university’s Heritage Singers will perform the musical selections with Dr. Allen Reed, professor of music, accompanying.

The event is based on the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge, first held on Christmas Eve 1918. The service was first broadcast in 1928 and, with the exception of 1930, has broadcast annually. In the United States, the service airs on approximately 300 radio stations.

The university’s Heritage Singers are under the direction of Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities.

“The Service of Lessons and Carols is a great way to usher in the Christmas season,” said Dr. Garrett. “We invite the community to join us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ through Scripture readings and music.”

St. John’s Church is located at 700 Main Street in Brownwood. For more information about the event, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art program to host “Christmas at Heartland Mall”

BROWNWOOD – December 2, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art program will host its 20th annual “Christmas at Heartland Mall” celebration on Sunday, December 7, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event will take place at the cinema entrance in the mall, located at 300 Early Blvd.

Students in the program will perform Christmas songs for mall shoppers and other guests. Additionally, there will be an Art Walk during which visitors will have an opportunity to view art created by the students.

“This will be a fun afternoon of Christmas music and art to delight the mall visitors,” said Diane Owens, director of the program and adjunct music instructor. “Please make plans to join us and enjoy the talents of all of our students.”

The Pre-College Music and Art program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. For more information, contact Owens at (325) 649-8501 or

HPU Model United Nations team excels at international conference

By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore

BROWNWOOD – December 2, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations (MUN) team recently represented HPU at the Stockholm MUN 10th Anniversary Conference at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. Six of the 14 participating HPU students received awards at the conference, making HPU the most recognized university in attendance.

MUN Stockholm 2014 for webMUN is a simulation of the United Nations, giving students the opportunity to confer and network with peers across the globe, become aware of and involved with international issues and produce potential solutions to contemporary problems. HPU was the only university from the U.S. to participate in the conference, which hosted approximately 200 individuals from around the world.

Jason Murphy, a senior accounting and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownwood, and James Abbatiello, a sophomore communication major from Kerrville, competed as the delegation of the United Kingdom in the Economic and Social Council, receiving the coveted Best Delegation award.

Group leaders Cara DeLoach, a senior English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from San Angelo, and Mike McConnell, a senior political science, history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Burleson, received the Honorable Mention commendation on the Security Council, on which they served as the delegation of the United Kingdom.

Senior Nicole Nehf, a political science, Spanish and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from May, and senior Justin Moore, a biology major from Brownwood, garnered an Honorable Mention commendation on the Human Rights Council as the delegation of Germany.

Additional students representing HPU included Ivy Nichols, a junior from Richardson, and Gavin Paul Stewart, a junior from Flower Mound, in the Disarmament and International Security Council; Jaclyn Bonner, a sophomore from Lytle, and Sydney Spencer, a sophomore from Georgetown, in the Human Rights Council; Samuel Hoffman, a junior from Corpus Christi, and Ashley Moon, a junior from Waxahachie, in the Economic and Social Council; and Cody Perrin, a sophomore from Eastland, and Patton McClatchy, a sophomore from Bangs, in the European Council.

Students also had the opportunity to sightsee in Stockholm for two days before the conference began. They enjoyed touring attractions such as the Vasa Museum, home of a restored Swedish warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world, and Gamla Stan, the historic district, as well as indulging in traditional Swedish cuisine and culture.

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, directs the MUN program.

“The Model United Nations students work hard throughout the year to represent HPU at conferences around the world,” he said. “I’m very proud of their efforts and their accomplishments. I am also very appreciative of the generous support from members of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Board of Directors who make opportunities and experiences such as this available for Academy and Howard Payne students.”

In February 2015, the team will travel to the Prague MUN Conference where Cara DeLoach will serve as Chair of the Security Council and Mike McConnel will serve as co-Chair of the Disarmament and International Security Committee.

“This will be the first time that HPU students have served as chairs or co-chairs at a major conference,” Dr. Murphy noted. “It is a great honor that reflects well upon Howard Payne University, the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and the Model United Nations program.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team received six commendations at the Stockholm Model United Nations Conference. Pictured at Stockholm School of Economics are, back row from left, Cody Perrin, Justin Moore, Samuel Hoffman, Gavin Paul Stewart, James Abbatiello, Jason Murphy, Cara DeLoach and Mike McConnell. In the front row, from left, are Ashley Moon, Jaclyn Bonner, Nicole Nehf, Patton McClatchy, Ivy Nichols and Sydney Spencer.

HPU art faculty recognized for professional accomplishments

BROWNWOOD – November 25, 2014 – Two members of Howard Payne University’s art faculty recently earned recognition for professional accomplishments.

Seascape #4 by David Harmon for webDavid E. Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art, shared his panel paper at the 28th Annual National Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists in New York City. The topic was “The Art Canon: The Vital Role of Visual Art in the University.”

In addition, one of Harmon’s painted works was accepted into the Second Annual National Plein Air Competition. The competition was held at the San Diego Artist Guild in San Diego, Calif. Three of his works were also accepted into the 4th International Small Works Show at the Lessandra Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Paintings by Harmon and his wife, Susan, were recently the focus of a joint exhibition at the Frost Center for the Visual Arts at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

Julie Mize, adjunct instructor of photography at HPU, had a photograph accepted into an exhibit at Texas Tech University.

“High and Dry: A Photographic Exhibition of Peoples and Places of the World’s Dry Lands” is sponsored by the International Cultural Center of Texas Tech’s Office of International Affairs. This is the third consecutive year Mize has had a photograph accepted into this exhibit. The exhibit will be open from November 21, 2014 until January 16, 2015.

Rialto Theater by Julie Mize for webMize’s image, “Rialto Theater,” is a black-and-white photograph of the marquee on an abandoned movie theater in Brownfield. Mize used film and darkroom processes to take the photograph and develop the print.

Mize has been the photography course instructor at HPU since 2008. She also teaches art at Brownwood Middle School.


Photo cutlines: “Seascape #4,” a painting by David Harmon, was accepted into the Second Annual National Plein Air Competition in San Diego.

“Rialto Theatre,” a photograph by Julie Mize, was accepted into an exhibit at Texas Tech University.

HPU’s band and choir to present Christmas celebration concert

BROWNWOOD – November 25, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Symphonic Band and Concert Choir will present a Christmas celebration concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 4, in the university’s Mims Auditorium. The concert is free and the community is encouraged to attend as HPU celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

“The musical selections are sure to get the Christmas spirit in full swing as the students perform many Christmastime favorites,” said Corey Ash, director of bands.

Among the program’s selections are Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, Symphonic Prelude on Adeste Fidelis by Claude T. Smith, A Fantasy of Carols arranged by Jay Bocook and many more. There will also be an audience Christmas carol sing-along.

Those attending the concert are encouraged to bring a canned good or boxed dry good as a donation for admission. All of the goods collected will go to Good Samaritan Ministries of Brown County to aid those who need a helping hand during this winter and holiday season.

A reception will follow the concert in the band rehearsal hall of the Davidson Music Complex.

“We hope to see you there but, if not, may your holiday season be filled with the joy of family and friends,” said Ash. “Most especially, may you know the joy of the greatest holiday gift of all time, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.”