News Archives: Academics

Three sisters share college experience at HPU

By Amy Pitman, communications assistant

BROWNWOOD – April 6, 2016 – Growing up, the Wolverton sisters each had different thoughts of where they might attend college someday. Their parents, Kelly and Susan Wolverton, taught each of them to follow God’s leading in their lives. Even though they share the same last name, Kelsan, Sharon and Spencer Wolverton have all made individual names for themselves in their majors and hobbies while following God’s lead at Howard Payne University.

Wolverton SistersKelsan, the oldest sister and senior cross-cultural studies major, wasn’t always sure that HPU was where she wanted to attend college. However, after all of the positive outreach she received from HPU faculty and staff during her senior year in high school, Kelsan felt that God was indeed leading her to the university.

“It is the best thing that the Lord could have done in my life,” said Kelsan. “Everything I prayed about wanting in college has happened at HPU, like finding Christian friends, having great professors who care about me and lots of other wonderful opportunities.”

Kelsan will graduate this May and plans to partner with a non-profit organization by traveling to Laos to teach college students for a year.

Although Kelsan may have originally doubted HPU was the place for her, Sharon, the middle sister and junior elementary education major, says she always knew that she wanted to attend HPU, especially after attending one of the university’s summer camps at a young age.

“Even in eighth grade, I already felt Howard Payne was my home,” said Sharon. “One thing that I prayed was that I would make godly friends at HPU who would challenge me and love me for who I am, and that has happened during my time here.”

Youngest sister Spencer, a freshman kinesiology major, was a bit apprehensive about coming to HPU and being in the shadows of her sisters’ accomplishments. Like them, she wanted to be her own person. Coming to HPU confirmed that she could indeed do that while attending the same university.

“The good thing about HPU is that each person has the opportunity to be involved in so many different things and you can really be yourself,” said Spencer. “The three of us all do different things on campus and HPU encourages us to use our talents in areas such as student government, social clubs and mission opportunities, just to name a few. Everyone can make a difference here in their own ways.”

The Wolverton sisters each have individual personalities, talents and goals, but they do enjoy spending time together when they can by watching movies, eating out and encouraging each other during tough times.

“We watch out for each other even though we may not see each other that much,” said Sharon. “We love each other and enjoy being close.”

Kelly, 1996 HPU graduate and pastor of Hampton Road Baptist Church in DeSoto, is very happy that all three of his daughters chose his alma mater.

“I like that they chose to go to HPU because I knew they would excel in the Christian family environment that the school offers,” said Kelly. “I appreciate the faculty and staff at HPU because you aren’t just a number. At HPU, you are a person who is loved like family.”


Photo cutline: (From left) Sharon, Kelsan and Spencer Wolverton enjoy their time as students as HPU.

HPU awards honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to El Paso’s Richard W. Nassar

Dr Richard Nassar for webBROWNWOOD – February 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University recently granted its highest honor, the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, to Richard W. Nassar of El Paso. Dr. Nassar was awarded the degree during the university’s fall Commencement ceremony in December.

Dr. Nassar was born in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1975. He is an active member and ordained deacon of El Paso’s First Baptist Church. Dr. David Lowrie, senior pastor of the church and former member of HPU’s Board of Trustees, wrote a letter to Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, recommending Dr. Nassar for this honor.

“As a Christian businessman he looked for ways to use his professional and personal influence to advance the cause of the Christ in the world, especially in El Paso,” wrote Dr. Lowrie. “He helped many people escape the dangers of persecution by sponsoring them for citizenship.”

Upon his retirement, Dr. Nassar focused his efforts on establishing a dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews, Dr. Lowrie continued in his letter of recommendation.

“In 2013, he helped the church launch the Middle Eastern Studies Ministry which has created a safe place for people of different Middle Eastern faiths to dialogue and seek greater understanding,” wrote Dr. Lowrie. “All the while, Mr. Nassar’s focus has been on presenting the claims of Christ by his words and example. His influence in the Middle Eastern community of El Paso is vast and very significant. I believe Mr. Nassar is the kind of man of courage and peace who offers hope in our world that we can find peaceful ways to live together.”

Dr. Nassar is an author and poet and recently finished a book of Arabic poetry. The collection is scheduled to be published in Lebanon in 2016.

“HPU was delighted to present its honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to Dr. Nassar, a man who has made the pursuit of peace among nations and the cause of Christ his lifelong mission,” said Dr. Ellis. “We commend the work he has done in El Paso and around the world and join him in prayer for a more peaceful world.”


Photo cutline: Upon receiving the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, Dr. Richard Nassar addressed the crowd at HPU’s fall Commencement ceremony.

Area businessmen fund HPU student research projects

Smithson Parmley and Smith for webBROWNWOOD – February 9, 2016 – Two students in Howard Payne University’s Research Problems in Chemistry course have received donations from area businessmen to aid in the completion of undergraduate research projects. The students, Samuel Parmley, senior from Bastrop, and Sarah Van Remmen, senior from Santo, each received $300 to fund their studies.

Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry, teaches the course. After consulting with HPU’s development office and being encouraged to move forward, he reached out to Zac Allen, owner of Lazy Eight Ranches in Coleman, and Paul Smithson, CEO of Apollo Computers in Early, to gauge the men’s interest in funding the projects. Following proposals by the students at the end of the fall semester, Smithson chose to support Parmley’s project while Allen elected to fund Van Remmen’s project.

The students will spend the remainder of the spring 2016 semester completing their studies and will use the funds to purchase needed materials. Parmley is creating a library of narcotics with an ion trap spectrometer, a system that could potentially aid law enforcement agencies in the future. Van Remmen is studying the active ingredients in sunscreen and the degradation of these ingredients with normal use.

Smith Van Remmen and Allen for webAccording to Dr. Smith, this is the first time he’s aware of outside donors funding research projects for HPU undergraduate students.

“I’m proud of Samuel and Sarah’s achievements and thankful for the support of Mr. Allen and Mr. Smithson,” he said. “I hope that this exercise provides a model for obtaining community sponsorship of student projects in the future.”


Photo cutlines:

Paul Smithson, left, presents a check to Samuel Parmley, center. Pictured at right is Dr. Derek Smith.

Zac Allen, right, presents a check to Sarah Van Remmen, center. Pictured at left is Dr. Derek Smith.

HPU honors 264 for academic success during fall 2015 semester

BROWNWOOD – February 4, 2016 – Howard Payne University honored 264 students for academic success during the fall 2015 semester. Students must earn a 4.0 grade point average to be named to the President’s List, a 3.65-3.99 grade point average to be named to the Dean’s List and a 3.5-3.64 grade point average to be named to the Honor Roll.

Receiving honors were:

Brittony Nicole Walker, President’s List

Skyler Savanna Schoolfield, President’s List

Jessica Claire Catlett, President’s List

Alahna Nicole Baze, Dean’s List
Ruby Patricia Johnson, Dean’s List
Micah Allen Lasater, Honor Roll
Natalie Marie Stephens, President’s List

Xavier Juiqueil McFalls, Dean’s List

Shawnece Vandela Wormly, Honor Roll

Kierstyn Lauren Evans, Dean’s List

Apex, N.C.
Kristen Nicole Terway, Honor Roll

Arkadelphia, Ark.
Rachel Leigh White, Dean’s List

Emma Danielle Reed, President’s List
Tayler Brittany Rushing, Honor Roll

Erin Elizabeth Buergner, President’s List
Marissa Cheyenne Godbey, Honor Roll
Riley G. Morrison, Dean’s List
Angelica Carolyn Ramirez, Dean’s List
Rebekah Elizabeth Weaver, President’s List

Alexandra Lemus, Dean’s List

Callie Ann Adams, Dean’s List
Don Leland Greenwood, President’s List
Katherine Elizabeth Hailey, Honor Roll
Charles Anthony Long, Dean’s List
Melissa Dawn Ramirez, Dean’s List
Courtney Caprice Seybert, President’s List

Garrett Grayson Wright, Dean’s List

Bryan Austin Baker, President’s List

Jakob Stefan Morgan, Dean’s List

Blooming Grove
Amy Danielle Baskin, President’s List

Isaac Conrad Sommers, President’s List
Danielle Paige Strickland, Dean’s List

Janis Dianne Groves, President’s List

Micah Brannan Huebner, President’s List

Christy Renee Ash, Dean’s List
Katie Ellen Ash, President’s List
Sharon Michelle Berger, President’s List
Blake Lawton Biessener, President’s List
Christina Calleros, President’s List
James David Crow, President’s List
Caleb Nathan Dillard, President’s List
Lexie Shana Farar, Dean’s List
Christopher Brent Freeland, Dean’s List
Misty Ann Fry, Honor Roll
Cherita Mae George, Dean’s List
Tanya Renee Glasscock, Dean’s List
James Roland Hair, Dean’s List
Brogan Shea Henderson, President’s List
Jose Angel Hernandez, Honor Roll
Molly Jane Hull, President’s List
Jerry Talton Hurt, President’s List
Cynthia Lisett Ibarra, Honor Roll
Hannah Celeste Justice, President’s List
Joel Allen Justice, President’s List
Summer Christine King, Dean’s List
Kindry Cruz Kirbo, Dean’s List
Jensen Lee Limer, Dean’s List
Adam Justin Lloyd, Dean’s List
Kelcie Michelle Lloyd, President’s List
Jennifer Yulissa Martinez, Honor Roll
Bridgette Taylor Mayfield, Dean’s List
Lindsey Rachel McKinney, Dean’s List
Saulo Elias Mendoza, President’s List
Grace Victoria Milcherska, Dean’s List
Bailey Claire Myler, Honor Roll
Seth Robert Owen, Honor Roll
Tanner Cole Pennington, President’s List
Megan Leanne Peterson, President’s List
Zachary Vaughn Peterson, Dean’s List
Sandy Rodriguez, President’s List
Heather Ann Rowlett, Dean’s List
Chelsea Louise Taylor, President’s List

Caleb Michael McConnell, Honor Roll
Paighton Leanne McNeely, Dean’s List

Kristian Jalyn Simpson, Honor Roll

Caddo Mills
Savannah Jade Moore, Honor Roll

Canyon Lake
Jennifer Katelyn Cardenas, President’s List

Brooke Lyndsey Goad, Dean’s List

Kristin Anne Cunningham, Dean’s List
TaShana Rae Hooker, Dean’s List

Cedar Park
Emily Janice Peisker, President’s List

Geoffrey Vaughn Rolando, Dean’s List

Robert Devin Caraway, President’s List
Jaime Elizabeth Dodson, Dean’s List
Shawna Sha’Nae Rains, Dean’s List

Matthew David Daniel, Dean’s List

Clifton, Colo.
Caleb Josiah Kostreva, President’s List

Neal Edward Kucinski, Honor Roll

Taylor Cathlynn Armstrong, President’s List
Allison Kate Straach, Dean’s List

Nathan Wayne Byrd, President’s List
Lisa Michelle Moreno, Dean’s List
Angela Rose Parker, President’s List
Jaze Mance Randolph, Honor Roll

Christian Armond Hosley, Dean’s List

Copperas Cove
Nathan Michael Brockett, Honor Roll
Caprica Danyelle Brooks, Honor Roll
Robert Vincent Martinez, Dean’s List

Corpus Christi
Samuel Lang Hoffman, Dean’s List

Crystal City
Michael Roy Garza, Dean’s List

Richard Treviso, Dean’s List

De Leon
Kelci Ann Feist, Honor Roll

Bridgette Lee Cummings, Dean’s List

Bettina Ayna Ballet, Honor Roll
Kelsan Marie Wolverton, Dean’s List
Sharon Allen Wolverton, President’s List
Spencer Kelly Wolverton, Honor Roll

Dripping Springs
Elliott Nicole Gray, Honor Roll

Brittany Elaine Benson, Honor Roll
Melanie Elaine Clark, Dean’s List
Colby Scott Compton, Honor Roll
Abraham Fausto-Jorna Cooper, President’s List
Thomas Harrison Givan, Dean’s List
Morgan Tyler Lacy, President’s List
Crystal Desire’ Ochoa, Dean’s List
Meagan Elizabeth Sessler, Honor Roll
Preston Erika Smith, President’s List
Austin Caleb Throckmorton, President’s List

Sloan Elisabeth Ahrlett, Dean’s List
Tiffani Rose Peeples, President’s List
Hailey Alexandra Perrin, Dean’s List
Dezeray Dawn Tafte, Dean’s List

El Paso
Christina Noriz, Honor Roll
Brian Alan Seguin, Honor Roll
Marina Ariana Sheets-Ochoa, Honor Roll

Karla Grace Zachary, President’s List

Ashley Briann Chapman, Dean’s List
Jason Ryan Washburn, Dean’s List

Kwame Sekou Harris, Dean’s List

Farmington, N.M.
Shaefer McIntyre Church, Dean’s List

Olivia Ann Belsher, President’s List

Abraham Esteban Centeno, Honor Roll

Luis Anthony Robles, Dean’s List

Brittany Nicole Cortez, Dean’s List

Fort Worth
Andrew Christopher Errico, Honor Roll
Kevin Ray Leis, Honor Roll
Clifford Lawson Lunceford, Honor Roll
Vivian Thi Nguyen, President’s List
Hannah Elise Williamson, Honor Roll

Chandler Jacob Condra, President’s List

Garden Ridge
Camila Michelle Cotter, Dean’s List

Rachel M. Ellington, Dean’s List

Murry Roy Clingerman, President’s List
Augusta Marie Johnson, Dean’s List

Rachel Ann Mahagan, President’s List
Aaron William Walling, President’s List
Zachary Charles White, Dean’s List
Cameron Andrew Wong, President’s List

Priscilla Deann Gilbert, Honor Roll
Julie Marie Hart, President’s List
Jody Michael Loudamy, President’s List

Hanna Danielle Henson, President’s List

Seth James Rainey, Dean’s List

Michelle Elaine Teague, Dean’s List

David Dean Groves, Dean’s List

Tyler Kirk Jones, President’s List
Katelyn Leigh O’Conner, Dean’s List

Trishawn Jeremiah Townes, Honor Roll

Richard Austin Young, President’s List

Kade Louis Kahanek, President’s List
Dillon Keith McCord, Honor Roll

Haltom City
Dayane Gutierrez, Dean’s List

Trey Joe Carpenter, Honor Roll

Cody Harrison Hughes, President’s List

Jacob Russell Vincent, Honor Roll

Lydia Mae Heinrichs, Dean’s List

Hannah Marie Strebeck, President’s List
Jonathan Bennett Strebeck, Honor Roll

Jessi Nicole Jordan, President’s List

Steven Ray Palousek, Dean’s List

Jerry Bonilla, Dean’s List

Tyler Adam Olin, President’s List

William Noah Payne, Dean’s List

Carrie Deann Leach, President’s List

Analisa Marie Anzaldua, Honor Roll

Vanessa Renae Albert, Honor Roll
Adam McCoy Jones, President’s List
Abner Abdia Reyes, Dean’s List

Kindell Amon Hill, President’s List

Julia Lynne James, Dean’s List

Hannah Joan Ball, Dean’s List

Maggie Ariette Van Nes, Dean’s List

Hailey Ann Green, Honor Roll

David Tyrone Dingle, Dean’s List

James Vincent Abbatiello, President’s List

Jada Evans, Dean’s List

Brett Ollen Quackenbush, Honor Roll

Liberty Hill
Mason Marie Samsel, President’s List

Leonard Paul Baker, Dean’s List
Peyton Nicole Cooley, Honor Roll

Rachel Elizabeth Hughes, Dean’s List

Timothy Layne Counce, Dean’s List

Jaclyn Rose Bonner, President’s List
Rebekah Joyce Lytle, Dean’s List

Rebecca Danielle McFarland, President’s List
Vanessa Monique Pate, President’s List
Amber Rose Shipman, Dean’s List
Heather Renae Starnes, Dean’s List

Nicholas Matthew Keathley, President’s List

Fred Zavala, Honor Roll

Callie Anne Molloy, Dean’s List

Nancy Chiamaka Okafor, Honor Roll

Britt Thomas Boler, Honor Roll
MaryClaire Swallow, Honor Roll

Emily Nicole Ball, Dean’s List
Rebecca May Blohm, Dean’s List
Tyler Christopher Colburn, Dean’s List
Gabriella Glenn Guest, President’s List

Caitlin Courtney Wood, President’s List

Mineral Wells
Rachel Ann Merritt, President’s List

Candace Leeann Montgomery, Honor Roll

Zoe Sunshine Emley, President’s List

New Braunfels
Adam Richard Lalanne, President’s List
Samuel Douglas Soape, Honor Roll

Carissa Caley Cromer, Dean’s List

Rebecca Nicole Hamilton, President’s List

North Richland Hills
Lacey Mikelle Eagan, President’s List

Gabrielle Trysten Roque, President’s List

Keaton James Fletcher, President’s List

De’andre Rashuad Walker, Honor Roll

Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Jack Henry Judd, Dean’s List

Keeley Jo McKinney, Honor Roll

Red Oak
Tiffany Michelle Bullock, Honor Roll
Brittany Taylor Davis, Dean’s List

Ivyanne Alyssa Nichols, Honor Roll

Richland Hills
Luke G. Jester, Honor Roll

Ally Presley McKethan, Honor Roll

Round Rock
Shawn Michel-Alexa Brody, President’s List
Joseph Thomas Flanigan, Honor Roll

Elizabeth Anne Fargo, Dean’s List

Thomas Parker Kyle, President’s List
Ruben Daniel Lemus, Honor Roll
Michael Joe Sellers, President’s List

San Angelo
Kyndal Nicole Broome, President’s List

San Antonio
Angelica Maria Gray, President’s List
Arthur Joseph Hettler, Dean’s List
William Rangel-Alfaro, Honor Roll
Jacqueline Marie Vega, Honor Roll

San Juan
Lorien Elisse Rubio, Honor Roll

Sarah Jane Van Remmen, Honor Roll

Vanessa Mae Marquez, President’s List

Katelyn Nicole Zimmer, President’s List

Michael Ray Moore, Dean’s List

William Cody Cain, Honor Roll
Courtney Jean Tatum, President’s List

Michael Ryan Hazard, Dean’s List

Zachary Paul Eller, Dean’s List
Maranda Alexandria Marlin, Dean’s List

Tennessee Colony
Colten James Hearrell, Honor Roll

Trophy Club
Thomas Arthur Llewellyn, Dean’s List
Adam C. Snyder, President’s List

Taryn Cheney Cover, President’s List
Ethan Chase Molnari, Dean’s List

Kayla Denae Chadwick, President’s List

Universal City
Joshua Brian Varnes, Dean’s List

Diana Rebeca Puente Chavar, President’s List

Kaitlyn Paige Harrison, President’s List

Michael Nathan Snow, President’s List

Morgan Paige Ashmore, President’s List

Jessye Elizabeth Trefny, Dean’s List

Andrew Kirk Stevenson, Honor Roll

Wolfe City
Brandon Levi Fisk, Honor Roll

Courtney Renee Ake, Honor Roll
Jordan Lisa Pitman, President’s List

HPU graduates 84 at Commencement in December

BROWNWOOD – February 1, 2016 – Howard Payne University graduated 84 students during its Commencement ceremony held at the close of the fall 2015 semester.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and other university representatives conferred the degrees.

Students must have a 3.55-3.69 grade-point average to graduate Cum Laude; a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude; and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduates included:

Rebekah Elizabeth Weaver – Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Summa Cum Laude

Bradley Scott Wilson – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (coaching)

Janis Dianne Groves – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication), Summa Cum Laude

Kellie Lynn Warner – Bachelor of Science in chemistry

Michael Christian Ballejo – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (Christian education concentration)
Christina Calleros – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice
Presley Neshaydith Davila – Bachelor of Arts in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Magna Cum Laude
Jesus Antonio Esparza – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Chelsea Nicole Garcia – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Victor V. Gonzales – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (coaching)
John Gray Gramling – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice, Cum Laude
Brogan Shea Henderson – Bachelor of Science in psychology (counseling/clinical), Summa Cum Laude
Jonathan Rick Henderson – Master of Arts in Youth Ministry
Juan Gregorio Hernandez – Bachelor of Music in music-instrumental (all-level certification)
Jerry Talton Hurt – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry, Summa Cum Laude
Paula Michelle Johnson – Bachelor of Science in social work
Summer Christine King – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude
Kelcie Michelle Lloyd – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Summa Cum Laude
Saulo Elias Mendoza – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Summa Cum Laude
Sierra Montana Westerman – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Laura Caroll Whiteley – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Cristalyn Hope Fitzgerald – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies and political science (general)
Hector John Rodriguez – Master of Business Administration

Marcus David Muldrow – Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Brooke Lyndsey Goad – Bachelor of Arts in family studies, Cum Laude

Courtney Alyse Officer – Bachelor of Arts in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Cathryn Michaela Rasbury – Bachelor of Music in music-instrumental (all-level certification)

College Station
Troy Edmund Cuff – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Nathan Wayne Byrd – Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Summa Cum Laude

Stephanie Michelle Jackson – Bachelor of Arts in English

Bridgette Lee Cummings – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (family psychology)

Christopher Michael Burnett – Bachelor of Music in music-instrumental (all-level certification)
Marcie Lynn Drew – Master of Business Administration

Corey Wynn Howie – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry
Tiffani Rose Peeples – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication), Magna Cum Laude

El Paso
Raquel Cowans – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration
Matthew Stephen Gray – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)
Reggie Ortiz – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration), Summa Cum Laude

Fort Worth
Edith Angelica Rodriguez – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general psychology)

Dillan Elaine Hanks – Bachelor of Science in athletic training

Gage Logan Smith – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice, Cum Laude

Rachel M. Ellington – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (general psychology), Magna Cum Laude
Christina Ruthann Roush – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Tolli Bre Wylie – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Margarita Melissa Solis – Bachelor of Arts in history

Richard Austin Young – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude

Jessi Nicole Jordan – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and biblical languages, Summa Cum Laude

Honolulu, Hawaii
Camryn Leigh Lopez – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Cum Laude

Dustin Vincent DeJohn – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Richard Charles Porche – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication)

Derrian Arnell Thompson – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)

Liberty Hill
Jacob Ryan Sadler – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Brandon Reno Pace – Bachelor of Arts in Christian education

Marble Falls
Patricia Ann Burleson – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Adrian Renee Sandoval – Bachelor of Science in biology

Patrick Kyle Dillard – Bachelor of Science in social studies composite (grade 8-12)

New Braunfels
Matthew Ryan Aguirre – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
John Marshall Hill – Master of Business Administration
Matthew Wayne Lotz – Master of Business Administration
Randall Scott Murphy – Master of Business Administration
Kevin Douglas Wartsbaugh – Master of Business Administration
Patrick Thomas Youngblood – Master of Business Administration
Rose Marie Zamora – Master of Business Administration

Kelsie Lyn Piland – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (general psychology)

Halye Payge Gilbert – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Colton Jess McCabe – Bachelor of Science in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and political science/pre-law, Cum Laude

Red Oak
Brittany Taylor Davis – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general psychology)

Nathanael Adams – Bachelor of Arts in English

Mikayla Nicole Warren – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

San Antonio
Angelica Maria Gray – Bachelor of Arts in social work, Summa Cum Laude
Zacchaeus Miguel Steidel-Santiago – Bachelor of Arts in communication (organizational and leadership communication)

Santa Anna
Loren Rae Pritchard – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (all-level: early childhood-grade 12)

John Wade Tomlinson – Master of Business Administration

Benjamin Reese Moore – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry

Joel Torres Muzquiz – Master of Business Administration

Dakota Lee Gibson – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting (finance emphasis)
Tyler Garrett Goodwin – Bachelor of Science in athletic training and exercise and sport science (all-level certification)
Courtney Jean Tatum – Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Summa Cum Laude

Trophy Club
Thomas Arthur Llewellyn – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)

Christy Benae Hazelwood – Bachelor of Music in music-choral (all-level certification), Cum Laude

Ashley Marie Moon – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication)

Wichita Falls
Eduardo Nunez – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish

Katrina Nicole Mann – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Seth Ian Pitman – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry

HPU Commencement scheduled for Saturday

BROWNWOOD – December 9, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s December Commencement will be held this Saturday, December 12, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, and other university representatives will confer 94 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Rick Akins ’75, attorney at Akins, Nowlin and Prewitt, LLP, of Round Rock, will deliver the charge to the graduates.

An honorary Doctor of Humanities degree will be presented to Richard W. Nassar of El Paso. Nassar, who was born in Lebanon, immigrated to the United States in 1975. Nassar is an active member and ordained deacon of El Paso’s First Baptist Church through which he founded the Middle Eastern Studies Ministry. Since retirement, he has focused his ministry on establishing a dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews, using his personal and professional influence to advance the cause of Christ.

Additional Commencement program participants include Corey Ash ’92, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Donnie Auvenshine ’75, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies; Rev. Rick Ellington, pastor of Hubbard Chapel Baptist Church of Quitman; Dr. Gary Gramling ’81, director of HPU’s graduate program in youth ministry and professor of Christian studies; Matthew Haynie ’09, vice president of HPU’s Alumni Association; Rev. Doug Hurt, pastor of Northridge Baptist Church of Brownwood; Jessi Nicole Jordan, class of 2015; Dr. Brad Lemler, interim dean of HPU’s School of Business and professor of accounting; Dr. Justin D. Murphy, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities, Brand professor of history and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy; Dr. Debra Powell, assistant professor of business administration; Dr. Harlan Scott, faculty president, associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; Carter Sharpe, first vice chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Lana Wagner ’97, registrar; and the HPU Instrumental Ensemble.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, December 11, 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 university’s Mims Auditorium.


HPU historian publishes encyclopedia of university’s 125-year history

Mangrum and book for webBROWNWOOD – November 23, 2015 – Dr. Robert Mangrum, university historian and professor of history and government at Howard Payne University, has published an account of HPU’s history titled For Howard Payne My All: 125 Years of Christian Higher Education and Service, 1889-2015, An Encyclopedia.

The book, which took 17 years to write, celebrates the university’s history since its founding in 1889. It is available for $30 on DVD or USB Flash Drive from Willie’s T’s in Brownwood. It may also be purchased online at the HPU Stinger Store at All proceeds from the book’s sales will be used to establish an academic scholarship at HPU.

“I am proud to give back to the university in this way,” said Dr. Mangrum. “HPU has played a very meaningful role in my life and my prayer is that the scholarship created from the proceeds helps many students make their own HPU memories.”

During his tenure with the university, Dr. Mangrum has served in numerous capacities on campus, including 30 years as a sponsor of Kappa Kappa Psi National Band Fraternity, four years as faculty sponsor of Student Government, 13 years as director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy (then the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom) and as associate dean of the School of Humanities. He has served on numerous university committees including three self-study committees for reaccreditation.

He has published numerous book reviews in professional journals and served as contributor to The Vietnam War: An Encyclopedia and as a referee for the Journal of Military History. He is currently in his sixth term as mayor of the City of Early.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Dr. Robert Mangrum is pictured with a copy of his book in DVD format.

HPU to host lectures on global religious freedom

BROWNWOOD – November 16, 2015 – Howard Payne University will host lectures by Dr. Elijah Brown, executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, this Tuesday and Wednesday. The events are free and open to the public.

The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative is a Christian organization that champions global religious freedom. The group’s mission, according to its website, is to “empower a global movement to advance religious freedom as a universal right through advocacy, capacity building and technology.”

Dr. Brown’s first discussion, “Africa and the New Testament Church,” will be held Tuesday, November 17, at 7 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. He will lead a discussion on the many fascinating African connections to the New Testament and the early church.

The next morning, Dr. Brown will serve as the guest speaker for the university’s Chapel service, delivering his second lecture, “Global Religious Freedom.” He will discuss the current state of religious freedom and religious persecution around the world. Chapel begins at 10 a.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

“We look forward to learning more about Dr. Brown’s global perspectives on religious freedom,” said Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies. “You will not want to miss these opportunities to learn from and interact with him.”

Book and film on women in geology to profile retired HPU faculty member

Marie Gramann and classmates for webBROWNWOOD – September 30, 2015 – Retired Howard Payne University faculty member Marie Gramann doesn’t consider herself a pioneer in geology, but from a young age the field held natural appeal.

“I was thirteen years old when I decided I wanted to be a geologist,” she said. “I don’t know why. I was raised in Cuero, a small town between San Antonio and Houston. There were no geologists there at the time.”

Gramann went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in geology in 1936 from The University of Texas, one of the first women to earn that particular degree from the institution. She spent the next several years working for oil companies in San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Austin before arriving in Brownwood to teach at HPU.

Gramann’s story – and the stories of several other women in the field – caught the attention of Robbie Gries, past president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). Gries is compiling interviews for a book and film on women geologists in petroleum from 1918 through the late 1980s.

“She is a delight,” said Gries of Gramann. “As I enjoy the late years of my career, I have taken on a project to honor the real pioneers in our field.”

While the project is a few years away from completion, friends and former colleagues are thrilled that Gramann will be recognized in this way.

Betty Broome, who retired from HPU in 2012 as executive assistant to the president, said Gramann was one of the first friends she made on campus when she came to the university in 1986.

“Miss Gramann was a friend to faculty and staff, and enjoyed getting to know the students in her classes,” Broome said. “Though retired for many years, she can still carry on a lively discussion about fracking!”

Gramann has been a member of AAPG for more than 60 years and is a past member of geological societies in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and Abilene.

“She knows so much about geology,” said Margaret Blagg, a family friend. “She knows everything about the geology of this area.”

With Gramann’s membership in the organization, she also receives the AAPG Explorer magazine. Gramann herself was featured in the magazine in 2013.

“She has a keen interest in them,” Blagg said. “She reads every issue cover to cover.”

Following her career in the oil industry, Gramann moved to Brownwood in the 1960s to be nearer to family. She was approached by a friend, the late Dr. George Baker, who was then head of Howard Payne’s music department.

Marie Gramann 1974 for web“He said, ‘Why don’t you let me make an appointment for you with the dean? They don’t have anyone to teach geology,’” said Gramann. “I had never taught before in my life.”

Gramann signed a teaching contract on a Saturday in 1965. School began the following week.

“Nobody in his or her right mind would do what I did,” Gramann said, laughing.

That Monday and Tuesday, she drove to Austin and Waco to consult with colleagues at The University of Texas and Baylor University. They gave her a few rocks and minerals to begin her lab and suggested a textbook and lab manual.

Gramann stayed busy as a first-year teacher.

“I would read and read and read, then type a lecture, then go to school, then come home and read and read and read,” she said. “I made it, somehow.”

Some of her favorite memories from Howard Payne include geology field trips with students and a concert the band dedicated in her honor. A page in the 1974 Lasso yearbook reads, “Because of the inspiration she has given us in friendship, in professionalism, in scholarship and in personal conduct, the 1974 Lasso is dedicated to Marie Gramann, assistant professor of geology.”

Dr. Jack Stanford, professor emeritus of biology who retired from HPU in 1999, worked closely with Gramann.

“Students loved her,” he said. “She knows her subject very, very well. She loved field trips and was always well prepared for them. She knows absolutely everything about the geology of Brown County.”

Gramann said she’s a “people person.”

“I just enjoyed everything about teaching at Howard Payne,” she said.

She retired in 1990 following 25 years of teaching. She still laughs when she thinks about her start at Howard Payne.

“The one thing I never, ever intended to do was teach,” she said. “Don’t ever say what you never intend to do, because you might do it.”

Brownwood resident Gene Deason, a 1972 HPU graduate, said Gramann was not only one of the best professors he had at the university, but also one of the dearest individuals he has ever had the honor to know.

“Her enthusiasm for the subject she taught was contagious,” he said. “Students had to find out what all her excitement was about when we went on field trips and discovered how many stories those rocks and dirt could tell. What started out as a science class needed for my degree turned into an unending appreciation of what the layers of earth lying just below our feet, or visible due to excavations for highways, can tell us about the past.”

After he graduated, Deason became better acquainted with Gramann as a fellow member of the community.

“I came to appreciate not only her professionalism and knowledge, but also her goodness and kindness,” he said. “I am thankful God put me in her path.”


Photo cutline: Marie Gramann, right, is pictured in the field with classmates from The University of Texas. The students were the first female participants in UT’s geology field course. Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences.

The 1974 Lasso yearbook was dedicated in Marie Gramann’s honor. She is pictured, in a photo from the yearbook, in her office at HPU.

HPU junior Sarahi Castillo awarded UPS Scholarship

BROWNWOOD – September 22, 2015 – Sarahi Castillo, a junior at Howard Payne University, was recently selected to receive a UPS Scholarship provided by the ICUT Foundation and its national partner, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Sarahi is the daughter of Maria C. Medina and Larry Medina of El Paso and a 2013 graduate of Montwood High School. She is majoring in exercise and sport science at HPU and is a member of the women’s basketball team.

At the national level, CIC teams with the UPS Foundation to distribute funding of the UPS Scholarship. Through the program this year, the ICUT Foundation awarded $88,200 in UPS Scholarships to 36 students at private institutions across Texas.

CIC is an association of 744 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. One of CIC’s major program areas is its work with member fundraising consortia of private colleges, including the ICUT Foundation.


Photo cutline: HPU junior Sarahi Castillo was recently awarded a UPS Scholarship.