BROWNWOOD – November 12, 2014 – As part of its Homecoming 2014 festivities, Howard Payne University recognized 11 individuals for their contributions to the university and beyond during the annual Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.
This year’s honorees included Dr. Thomas Collins ’96, Distinguished Alumnus; Dr. Hilary B. Graves ’50, Distinguished Alumnus; Benjamin E. Hoover ’03, Outstanding Young Graduate; Marilynn Bock Jackson ’73, Coming Home Queen; Leo ’50 and Jane ’52 Lacey, Medal of Service; Dr. Ray ’50 and Nancy ’48 Ellis, Grand Marshals; Meia Daniels ’08, Sports Hall of Fame; Chris Kielsmeier, Sports Hall of Fame; and Dr. Don Newbury ’61, Sports Hall of Fame.
Drs. Bill and Diana Ellis, HPU president and first lady, presented each honoree with a trophy recognizing their accomplishments.
“I was very pleased to help recognize these individuals who have all contributed greatly to society,” said Dr. Bill Ellis. “They make the university proud.”
Dr. Thomas Collins graduated from HPU in 1996 before going on to receive his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 2000. He has since held a large number of professional and academic positions.
Dr. Collins currently serves at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in a variety of roles including the transplant fellowship program director for the Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, director of liver transplant for the Organ Transplant Center, director of procedural skills and simulation and clinical associate professor of surgery.
In addition to being named an Outstanding Young Graduate by HPU in 2006, Dr. Collins received the Webber Prize for Student Research in 1997 from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Additionally, he has published a number of book chapters and peer-reviewed papers.
Dr. Hilary B. Graves came to Howard Payne College in 1947 after being called by God to preach. He graduated in 1950 at the same time as his wife, Ruth. He then graduated from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. While attending both Howard Payne and Southwestern, he pastored small community colleges around Brownwood and Fort Worth. He subsequently completed his doctorate in theology at Trinity University in Evanston, Indiana.
Dr. Graves pastored churches in Texas and southwestern Oklahoma throughout his long ministry. Additionally, he has preached in revivals throughout the Southwest, led crusades in California, Oregon and Washington and preached in crusades in Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong.
Dr. Graves’ first wife, Ruth, passed away in 1980 and Mildred, his second wife, passed away in 2000. After marrying his current wife, Jo Ann, in 2001, the couple felt called to home mission work in Vermont. There they pastored one church and started two others between 2002 and 2008.
Dr. Graves has three children – Ben (who graduated from HPU in 1974), Phoi and Tori.
Benjamin E. Hoover was the first of three brothers to graduate from HPU. While at the university, Hoover participated in the Student Government Association. He graduated from HPU in 2003 and went on to law school at Texas Tech University.
After graduation, Hoover served as an assistant district attorney with the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2012 before moving into private practice at The Nix Law Firm in Wichita Falls. He is past president of the Wichita County Bar Association and was elected to the Wichita Falls City Council in May 2013.
Hoover’s wife, Meagan, is a labor and delivery nurse at United Regional Hospital and the couple has two young children, Grant and Blair.
Before going on to a lengthy career with the university, Marilynn Bock Jackson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard Payne in 1973 with a degree in psychology and minor in sociology. She subsequently earned a master’s degree from Abilene Christian University in 1976.
Jackson has had many roles at HPU including associate professor of psychology, director of testing, director of counseling and director of career services. Additionally, she served as the community counselor for First Baptist Church of Brownwood, area churches and disadvantaged members of the community.
She served as secretary of HPU’s Retired Personnel Association and has served on the boards of numerous community organizations including the Brown County United Way, the Heart of Texas Brown Baptist Association Task Force, the Executive Board of Good Samaritan Ministries and more.
Jackson is a volunteer and past president of the Auxiliary at the Brownwood Regional Hospital; a regular speaker for Christian Women’s Job Corps; and the Good Samaritan volunteer coordinator for First Baptist Church of Brownwood.
She was married in 1957 to William Donald Jackson, now deceased. The couple has two children, Stephen Lee Jackson and Laurie Jackson Sellers.
Leo and Jane (Black) Lacey first met at Howard Payne in 1950 though they did not marry until 1988. Leo enrolled at the university in 1946 and was a letterman on the Yellow Jacket track team from 1948 to 1950. The lettermen of the 1948 team were honored during the Homecoming celebrations 60 years later in 2008. Among other accomplishments at Howard Payne, he was president of his senior class and a member of Future Teachers of America and the first Veterans Club.
Following graduation, he spent one year teaching and coaching before his life changed direction and he began a 39-year career with Texaco, Inc. (now Chevron-Texaco). His wife passed away in June 1986. At HPU late the next year, he reconnected with Jane Black, who had also recently lost her spouse. The pair renewed their relationship and were married in May 1988.
During her Howard Payne days, Jane (Black) Lacey was a yell leader and writer for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper. Among other accomplishments, she was named to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities list, the Who’s Who on Campus list and was a member of the Jacket Coeds and Alpha Chi. She was honored as the Coming Home Queen in 2001.
The Laceys have four children from their previous marriages: Tom Turman, Dick Turman, Debbie (Lacey) Owen and Michael Lacey (deceased). They also have seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Dr. Ray and Nancy (Greer) Ellis met as students at Howard Payne during a debate tournament on the campus of Abilene Christian University. They fell in love and married a year later. Returning from war, he received his master’s and doctoral degrees while she taught school.
The couple moved to Abilene when Dr. Ellis began teaching New Testament and Greek at Hardin-Simmons University. He later became dean of graduate studies at HSU and retired from the university in 1993 after 36 years.
When their children were older, Mrs. Ellis entered HSU, earning her master’s degree in education. She was the associational president of the Woman’s Missionary Union for six years, an organization comprised of 48 Baptist churches in Taylor and Callahan Counties. Additionally, she teaches a women’s Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church of Abilene.
Among other roles in the community, she is an emeriti member of the Abilene Woman’s Club, past president of the Hardin-Simmons Round Table and the Twenty-One clubs, and a member of the Abilene Harmony Club and the American Association of University Women. She is also a member of the HPU Woman’s Club and serves on the Board of Development at HSU.
The couple has three children – Bill, Bob and Nancy. Dr. Bill Ellis is president of HPU; Dr. Bob Ellis is associate dean of Logsdon Seminary at HSU; and Dr. Nancy (Ellis) Kucinski holds the position her father once held, dean of graduate studies at HSU.
In eight seasons at HPU, Chris Kielsmeier compiled an impressive 179-44 record as head coach of the women’s basketball team and led the Lady Jackets to a 33-0 record and the NCAA Division III National championship in 2007-08.
He was the winningest women’s basketball coach in HPU history, coaching the school to four straight appearances (2005-08) in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
At HPU, he won a national title, two divisional championships and three conference tournament titles. He is a three-time conference Coach of the Year and was twice named Region Coach of the Year. Kielsmeier was named the WBCA South Region and National Coach of the Year in 2007-08 and was selected the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Small College Coach of the Year.
He is currently the head women’s coach at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska.
As one of Kielsmeier’s players, Meia Daniels was 109-12 over four seasons leading the Lady Jackets to three American Southwest Conference championships, four NCAA III national tournament appearances and a NCAA III National Championship in 2008. A 2008 HPU graduate, Daniels holds seven HPU career, season and game records and five American Southwest Conference records. She is second in career scoring at HPU with 2,118 points.
Daniels received numerous honors as a player at HPU including multiple All-Conference selections, National Player of the Year in 2008, two-time ASC Tournament MVP, two-time Regional Player of the Year and two-time All-American. She was also twice named the American Southwest Conference Athlete of the Year.
After leaving HPU, Daniels spent two seasons as the women’s basketball graduate assistant at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. She helped guide the Wayne State program to a NSIC Conference Championship in 2010.
She currently serves as the head women’s basketball coach at HPU.
Dr. Don Newbury holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from HPU, The University of Texas and The University of North Texas, respectively, with post-doctoral study at Notre Dame University. In 2008, he received HPU’s highest award, the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.
While at HPU, he was sports editor of the college newspaper, sportswriter for the local newspaper and sports director for the radio station. During a six-year stint as publicity director of the Lone Star Conference, he hosted a syndicated weekly radio program with LSC coaches; it was carried by radio stations across Texas. He also was a correspondent for several major Texas newspapers and received the National Award of Merit from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in Kansas City for his work in intercollegiate sports promotion.
During his 40 years in higher education, Dr. Newbury spent almost half of his career in presidencies, including Western Texas College in Snyder (1980-85) and HPU (1986-1997). He currently serves as HPU’s chancellor.
Dr. Newbury was a member of the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and served as president of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association and its successor, the American Southwest Athletic Conference. He was the first president inducted into the conference’s Hall of Honor and was author of the league’s “Code of Conduct” to promote sportsmanship.
Now a fulltime speaker and writer, Dr. Newbury’s reputation as an outstanding speaker is well-known. In his talks, he reflects on his years as a sportswriter and broadcaster, game official and sports publicist for the Lone Star Athletic Conference, president of an intercollegiate athletic conference and member of a national policy-making body for intercollegiate athletics. He is in his 11th year of writing a weekly column, “The Idle American.” It now runs in about 200 newspapers with circulation totaling approximately one million.
Dr. Newbury is married to the former Brenda Pack of Alpine. They have three daughters, all of whom have been public school teachers: Julie (Mrs. Bryan) Choate of Burleson; Jana (Mrs. Kyle) Penney of Tyler; and Jeanie (Mrs. Ryan) McDaniel of Burleson. The Newburys have six grandchildren.
Dr. Thomas Collins ’96 (right) was named a 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of HPU. He is pictured with Drs. Bill and Diana Ellis, HPU president and first lady.
Dr. Hilary B. Graves ’50 (right) was named a 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of HPU. He is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.
Benjamin E. Hoover ’03 was named a 2014 Outstanding Young Graduate of HPU. He is pictured with his award during the Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.
Marilynn Bock Jackson ’73 was named the 2014 HPU Coming Home Queen. She is pictured riding in the HPU Homecoming Parade.
Leo ’50 and Jane ’52 Lacey were the 2014 Medal of Service recipients at HPU. They are pictured during the halftime show of HPU’s Homecoming football game.
Dr. Ray ’50 and Nancy ’48 Ellis were named the 2014 Grand Marshals during HPU’s Homecoming 2014 festivities. They are pictured riding in the Homecoming Parade.
Meia Daniels ’08 was named to the HPU Sports Hall of Fame. She is pictured riding in the Homecoming Parade.
Chris Kielsmeier was named to the HPU Sports Hall of Fame. He is pictured with his award during the Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.
Dr. Don Newbury ’61 was named to the HPU Sports Hall of Fame. He is pictured riding in the Homecoming Parade with his wife, Brenda Newbury, and grandchildren.