Yearly News Archives: 2014

Nine join Howard Payne University faculty

new faculty fall 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – September 4, 2014 – The fall 2014 semester at Howard Payne University brought nine new faculty members to the HPU classrooms.

“We’re very blessed at HPU to have an outstanding and dedicated group of faculty serving our students,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “We’re confident these individuals are of the same caliber and we’re delighted to welcome them to the university.”

Joining the faculty this semester are Scott Eddy, Dr. Richard Fiese, Dr. Adrian Gil, Dr. Debra Powell, Alexia Riggs, Dr. Nancy Romig, Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard, Kay Teague and Shannon Turner.

Scott Eddy, instructor of mathematics, received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Youngstown State University in 2009 and 2011. His experience includes serving as a math assessment writer, 2012-2014; part-time instructor at Kent State University, 2011-2013; and graduate assistant at Youngstown State University, 2009-2011.

Dr. Richard Fiese is the new dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts and professor of music. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1980 and his Master of Music and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Miami in 1986 and 1989. Dr. Fiese’s previous experience includes serving as professor in music education at Houston Baptist University, 2000-2014; associate professor of music education at the University of Miami, 1995-2000; associate professor of music education at the University of Houston, 1989-1995; and director of bands at Henry L. West Laboratory School in Coral Gables, Fla., 1986-1989.

Dr. Adrian Gil serves as the new director of HPU’s El Paso Center and as an associate professor of business. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1996), Master of Business Administration (2000) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees (2009) from The University of Texas at El Paso. His previous experience includes serving as assistant professor of management at the University of Houston, 2010-2014; associate instructor of management at The University of Texas at El Paso, 2004-2009; research assistant at The University of Texas at El Paso, 2004-2005; production control manager at A.O. Smith Water Heaters, 2002-2004; and purchasing/materials manager at Air System Components, Inc., 1998-2002.

Dr. Debra Powell, previously an adjunct instructor at HPU’s New Braunfels Center, now serves as assistant professor of business administration at the Brownwood campus. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from McMurry University in 1987, her Master of Business Administration degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 1990 and her Doctor of Business Administration degree from Argosy University in 2013. Her experience includes serving as an online facilitator at the Art Institute Online, 2006-present; adjunct in business administration at HPU, 2007 and 2013-2014; fashion and retail management faculty member at Art Institute of Austin, 2008-2010; visiting instructor at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 2005-2006; and various positions, including managerial, at J.C. Penney Co. in various cities, 1988-2004.

Alexia Riggs is HPU’s new dean of libraries and associate professor of library science. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from HPU in 2002, her Master of Divinity degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 2007 and her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas in 2009. She has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. Riggs’ previous experience includes serving as reference librarian at Del Mar College, 2012-2014; technical services librarian at Paris Junior College, 2009-2012; government document librarian intern at Texas Christian University, 2009; and as a music library assistant at Hardin-Simmons University, 2004-2005.

Dr. Nancy Romig joins the HPU faculty as an assistant professor of English. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU in 2004, her Master of Arts degree from Texas State University in 2008 and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Arkansas in 2013. Dr. Romig’s previous experience includes serving as visiting assistant professor of English at HPU, spring 2014; instructor of English at University of Arkansas, summer and fall 2013; teaching assistant for English at University of Arkansas, 2010-2013; graduate tutor at University of Arkansas, 2009-2013; and adjunct at HPU, 2008-2009.

Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard serves as associate professor of nursing and director of the university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Midwestern State University in 1994, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Tarleton State University in 2005 and her Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Phoenix in 2008. She has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctoral degree from the University of Phoenix. Her experience includes serving as program coordinator at Comanche County Medical Center, 2013-2014; L.V.N. to A.D.N. Bridge Program chair at Texas State Technical College, 2010-2014; registered nurse at Texas Nurse Connection, 2006-2012; and registered nurse at CHS/Abilene Regional Medical Center, 2004-2011.

Kay Teague serves as HPU’s new instructor of mathematics. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University in 1991 and her Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1993. Her previous experience includes serving as instructor at Tarleton State University, 2013-2014; instructor and freshman math coordinator at Tarleton State University, 2006-2013; and lecturer at Tarleton State University, 1997-2006.

Shannon Turner, previously an HPU staff member, has joined the faculty as instructor of academic services, learning assistance and academic recovery. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees from Tarleton State University in 2000 and 2001. Her previous experience includes serving as director of institutional research and effectiveness at HPU, 2011-2014; computer science/multimedia/English I teacher at Brownwood High School, 2008-2011; computer science/credit recovery/English II teacher at Vista Ridge High School, 2004-2008; English II/computer science teacher at Leander High School, 2001-2004; and graduate assistant for visual basic computer labs at Tarleton State University, 2000-2001.


Photo cutline: Nine individuals recently joined the HPU faculty. Left to right: Dr. Adrian Gil, Dr. Richard Fiese, Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard, Dr. Debra Powell, Shannon Turner, Dr. Nancy Romig, Kay Teague and Alexia Riggs. Not pictured is Scott Eddy.

New HPU students begin semester with service to community

SWARM 2014 Garden for webBROWNWOOD – September 4, 2014 – Many of Howard Payne University’s incoming freshmen, along with several returning students and staff members, spent the last Saturday before classes began serving the Brownwood community. The university’s Serving With A Right Motive (S.W.A.R.M.) project is held each year in conjunction with Jacket Journey, HPU’s weeklong new-student orientation.

Approximately 140 volunteers, coordinated by Keep Brownwood Beautiful, completed community service projects at a variety of locations including Brownwood Area Community Garden, the Corinne T. Smith Animal Shelter and Lake Brownwood.

Francie Clark, HPU’s director of student activities, looks forward to S.W.A.R.M. each year.

“It’s great for our new and returning students to be able to bond as they serve others,” she said. “We’re very excited to welcome the Class of 2018 and to see the impact they continue to make in the community.”

SWARM 2014 Lake for web###

Photo cutlines: Ryan Weeks, foreground, a freshman from New Braunfels, was among the students serving at the Brownwood Area Community Garden.

Many new and returning students including Michael Bailey, a sophomore from Georgetown, helped clear brush and debris from around Lake Brownwood. Photo by Colton McCabe, junior from Gatesville.

Kaeli Goodgion, a freshman from Comanche, was one of several students to help clean cages and walk dogs at the Corinne T. Smith Animal Shelter.

SWARM 2014 Animal Shelter for web


Letter intended for 2012 HPU Homecoming honoree arrives two years later

[The following article was written by Dr. Don Newbury, HPU chancellor and former president.]

joe_and_almola_james_for_webBROWNWOOD – August 28, 2014 – Talk about flowers for the living. Sometimes the final blossoms to complete congratulatory bouquets arrive late, but when they do, the aroma of flowers for the living is simply the best.

Joe James, Howard Payne University alumnus—and his wife of 60 years, Almola—were honored as Distinguished Alumni at HPU’s 2012 Homecoming.

They received dozens of letters, e-mails, phone calls and visitors who were profuse in well-wishing for the cherished Homecoming honors. And a few days ago, he received a letter from a player he coached at HPU almost a half-century ago.

It was intended to be more timely—this letter from Walter (Butch) Barthiaume, a 1968 HPU graduate who mailed the letter almost two years ago. Trouble is, it was held up by postal regulations until delivery almost two years later.

It seems the envelope was opened somewhere along the way without authorization, probably by a ring of ne’er-do-wells seeking “checks in the mail.”

So it was held as evidence by postal authorities until the case was cleared. (A letter from postal officials explained all the details.)

“Butch was one of my favorite players,” James said, “I called to explain to him about the letter, and we got a good laugh from it.” (Barthiaume, who now lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., confirmed there was no check sent attached to the letter!)

A native of Spur and an outstanding football player there, James is a 1955 graduate of HPU, where he received numerous football honors. He completed his Master of Science degree seven years later.

Drafted by the Chicago Bears, he began his coaching career at Hamilton High School in 1955, and coached for several years at Waco LaVega High School before returning to HPU in 1964 as head football coach.

Then, he became a sporting goods representative in 1968, driving more than one million miles over a large part of Texas until his retirement this year.

Almola, his wife of 60 years, is a 1955 HPU graduate who received both Master of Education and Master of Arts degrees in 1966. Her teaching career of 34 years included tenures at LaVega High School, Brownwood High School and HPU.

The couple has two children, and they greatly enjoy traveling, having visited all 50 states.
So much of life seems to be of the “how soon we forget” type. How refreshing when the old coach receives congratulations from a player who didn’t forget. And coach didn’t forget the player, either.


Photo cutline: Joe ’55 and Almola ’55 James were named Distinguished Alumni during Howard Payne University’s Homecoming in 2012.

HPU holds University Convocation ceremony

newbury 2014 convocation for webBROWNWOOD – August 28, 2014 – Howard Payne University kicked off its fall 2014 Chapel season yesterday with its annual University Convocation ceremony. Dr. Don Newbury, chancellor and former HPU president, addressed the audience.

Dr. Newbury spoke of many notable people in HPU’s 125-year-history including alumna Dr. Cynthia Clawson Courtney and former presidents Dr. Guy D. Newman and Dr. Thomas Taylor. He urged those in attendance to trust God’s plans for their lives.

Other program participants included Corey Ash, associate professor of music; Katie Bonner, HPU senior and president of the Student Government Association; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Amy Kresta, instructor of biology; Katherine Licce, HPU senior; Dr. Allen Reed, professor of music; Dr. Joe Robinson, professor of education; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and president of the Faculty Assembly.


Photo cutline: Dr. Don Newbury, left, HPU chancellor and former president, addresses the university during the first Chapel ceremony of the fall 2014 semester. He is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and president of the Faculty Assembly. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU junior.

HPU cheerleaders report for fall 2014 season

Cheerleaders 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – Aug. 21, 2014 – Members of the Howard Payne University cheer team arrived on campus this week to begin practicing for the upcoming season. The team will make its debut during the first HPU home football game at 1 p.m. on September 20 at Gordon Wood Stadium.

The cheerleaders are under the direction of Skye Darby, cheer coach, and Gretchen Campbell, cheer sponsor and executive administrative assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students.

Back row, left to right: Michael Hanscheck, freshman from Mason; Zachary Eller, junior from Temple; and Kris Lowrey, sophomore from Brownwood.

Middle row, left to right: Samantha Guerrero, senior from Big Lake; Fallon Ferguson, freshman from Milano; Shelby Creed, senior from Brownwood; Lindsey McKinney, freshman from Brownwood; Kelci Feist, junior from De Leon; and Alahna Baze, freshman from Alvarado.

Front row, left to right: Jessica Huckaby, freshman from Eastland; Kindell Hill, freshman from Jarrell; Dorian Buitron, freshman from Floresville; Rosalinda Gonzales, freshman from San Antonio; and Krista Cook, freshman from Brownwood.

New students arrive on HPU campus

JJ group 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – Aug. 20, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s class of 2018 arrived on campus yesterday for Jacket Journey, a week-long introduction to their classmates, the university and the HPU way of life. Classes begin on Monday, August 25.

The new students, in yellow shirts, are pictured with upperclassman group leaders; “Secret Service,” a behind-the-scenes setup and teardown committee; the Student Planning Committee; and student life staff.

HPU faculty member’s book recommended by FCA Magazine

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – Aug. 7, 2014 – “The Last Three Outs,” a novel by John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at Howard Payne University, was recently recommended by FCA Magazine, a national publication of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The novel was the only work of fiction recommended by the magazine in its July/August issue.

“The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes, tells the story of Danny Hill, a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the book loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The book was published by Tate Publishing and is available at and Barnes & Noble.


Photo cutline: “The Last Three Outs” by John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, was recently recommended by FCA Magazine.

HPU education students travel to London

By Kendyl Moore ’14

BROWNWOOD – July 29, 2014 – Eight education majors from Howard Payne University traveled to London recently to learn firsthand about the British education system and compare it to education in Texas.

London group final for webHPU’s School of Education travels to London every other year to allow as many students as possible to attend. Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, associate professor of education, served as the trip sponsor and described it as an incredible learning experience.

“Even though things are done differently in the British education system, it’s still a good way of doing them,” states Dr. Lehrer. “This trip provides a great way to observe a different culture in a setting that’s familiar.”

The group stayed in London but took day trips to Warwick Castle, Hampton Court Palace and the village of Herne Bay. At Herne Bay, on the coast near Canterbury in Kent, the students spent a full day observing a primary school classroom. They compared the differences in teaching styles and the education systems in Britain and Texas.

They were also able to see many historical and educational sites in and around London including Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the London Eye and more.

“My wish is that every HPU student has the opportunity to travel,” says Dr. Lehrer. “It opens up students’ minds and expands their worldviews.”

The students who went on the trip were Jeremy Bartley, senior from Brownwood; Shelby Byrd, senior from Brownwood; Casey Coffee, senior from Early; Allyson Gainey, senior from Kermit; Katie Mann, junior from Blanket; Kensey Martinez, senior from Brownwood; Jill Parson, sophomore from Llano; and Whitney Turnacliff, senior from Andrews.

In addition to Dr. Lehrer, trip sponsors included Jill Underwood, adjunct instructor of education, and Paula Hoyle Morelock, former educator and HPU alumna.


Photo cutline: Students and faculty from HPU’s School of Education recently traveled to London. Left to right: Jill Underwood, Katie Mann, Jeremy Bartley, Whitney Turnacliff, Allyson Gainey, Kensey Martinez, Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Shelby Byrd, Paula Morelock, Casey Coffee and Jill Parson.

HPU assistant professor publishes books on women in missions

Melody Maxwell books for webBROWNWOOD – July 22, 2014 – Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, recently published two books analyzing the role of women in missions and church leadership.

Dr. Maxwell’s most recent work, “The Woman I Am: Southern Baptist Women’s Writings, 1906-2006,” references Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) publications and traces developing thought patterns regarding the role of women in missions and church leadership throughout the 20th century. The book was published by University of Alabama Press in early July.

Released in April, Dr. Maxwell’s first book, “Torches in the Corridor: 125 Years of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union,” is an expansion of a thesis she published as an undergraduate student at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. The book features historical profiles of leaders within Tennessee WMU. Dr. Maxwell had the opportunity to premiere her work at the group’s annual meeting in April.

“It is fascinating to look at the ways that changing American culture has affected Southern Baptist women’s roles,” she said. “Over the past century, Baptist women have advocated and filled positions from missionary homemaker to ordained pastor. My books explore these changes and how they were received by Southern Baptists, both women and men.”

Maxwell also has firsthand experience with her subject matter.

“I grew up in Tennessee, where I met leaders in WMU who helped shape my vocation and my life,” she said. “I also served on the national WMU staff, where I observed trends among Baptist women in the 21st century.”

“The Woman I Am” is available for purchase on Amazon and directly through the publisher at “Torches in the Corridor” is available for purchase from Tennessee WMU by calling (615) 371-2038.


Photo cutline: Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at HPU, recently published two books on the role of women in missions and church leadership.

HPU alumna reunited with class ring missing since 1954

Sullivan and Clark with ring for webBROWNWOOD – July 10, 2014 – Elizabeth Clark of Granite Falls, Wash., a 1953 Howard Payne University alumna, was reunited July 4 with the university class ring she lost 60 years ago.

Stephen Sullivan, HPU’s director of alumni relations, and Lindsay Waddell, the woman who found the ring in a San Angelo lake, returned the ring to its owner while Clark, 84, was in Brownfield, Texas, for a family reunion.

Waddell was walking her dogs along the low waters of San Angelo’s Lake Nasworthy in March when she discovered the ring with the letters “A. E. L.” inscribed in the band. She contacted HPU officials who used a 1953 yearbook to find the only graduating senior with those initials – Addie Elizabeth Little. Nathan’s Jewelers of Brownwood cleaned the ring for free, restoring it to almost-new conditions.

According to Clark’s daughter and 1978 HPU graduate Donna Clark-Love, Clark was delighted to get a phone call from Sullivan letting her know her ring had been found.

“She got on the horn and called everybody,” Clark-Love told a reporter with the Associated Press.

Clark remembers losing the ring in the lake in 1954 while on a date with her future husband.

“She was devastated because she had worked so hard to make it through college,” Clark-Love said.

Lubbock-area television news crews and many family members and friends were in attendance as Clark slipped the ring on her finger for the first time in 60 years. The only one of 16 children in her family to graduate college, she fondly remembers her time at HPU.

Clark with ring for web“My son said, ‘Mom, it’s just a ring,’” she told the reporters. “I said, ‘It’s a special ring.’ I felt like I had lost part of me.”

According to Sullivan, the situation is proof of how God sends blessings even in times of extreme drought.

“If Lindsay hadn’t been out there that day we may never have found the ring,” he said, adding that Lake Nasworthy has since returned to full capacity. “We’re very grateful that she not only returned it to the university but was able to drive to Brownfield to personally present it to Mrs. Clark.”


Photo cutlines: Elizabeth Clark recently saw her Howard Payne University class ring for the first time in 60 years. She is pictured with Stephen Sullivan, director of alumni relations at the university.

Despite being at the bottom of a lake for 60 years, the ring was restored to almost-new conditions by Nathan’s Jewelers of Brownwood.