News Archives: Alumni Relations

Early HPU artifact discovered in attic of Brownwood home

ellis and music faculty for webBROWNWOOD – December 14, 2015 – An item found in the attic of a Brownwood home was recently given a prominent new location at Howard Payne University. A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma – the oldest known in existence – was discovered and donated to the university by Derek and Stephanie Kirbo of Brownwood.

The diploma was awarded to Miss Bessie Doswell Ramey in 1898 upon the completion of “the full course in Piano, Harmony, and History of Music.” The university, which was founded in 1889, granted its first degree in 1895.

“The diploma is in astonishingly good condition given its age,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. Dr. Ellis presented the diploma to representatives of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts during the university’s Recital Hour. The artifact is now on display in the university’s Davidson Music Complex.

The Ramey family was well known in the area, with ties to the Howard Payne founders and other pioneers. Bessie Ramey’s father, John James Ramey, died in 1895. His obituary reads, “Mr. Ramey’s name is inseparably connected with Howard Payne College, of Brownwood, and more than any one man, with the exception of Dr. John D. Robnett, the founder of the institution, supported the college at a time when it was in sore need of friends.”

Although little more is known about Bessie Ramey and her time at Howard Payne, Dr. Ellis emphasized the significance of the diploma’s discovery.

“The individuals who founded Howard Payne built it out of nothing near the very beginning of the establishment of Brownwood,” he said. “Early students like Bessie Ramey paved the way for future generations. We’re so thankful to the Kirbos and will cherish the diploma for many years to come.”

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Photo cutline: A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma found in a Brownwood attic now has a permanent home inside the university’s Davidson Music Complex. Left to right: Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and professor of music; Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; and Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music.

Graduating senior Margarita Solis reflects on HPU experiences

“Howard Payne is Home”

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2015 – Saturday’s graduating class at Howard Payne University is characterized by many dedicated Yellow Jackets. One of them is Margarita Solis of Gonzales, a history major with minors in Bible and English.

She reflects on her first impression of HPU during her senior year of high school.

“It was the hand-written Christmas card from the admission office that caught my attention,” she says. “I liked the campus when I got here, but I had no idea that I would end up loving it so much.”

During her freshman year, she was on her way to lunch one day when a friend asked her to participate in IMPACT Weekend, an outreach event the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) hosts each year. She has attended for the past four years and has been a part of the IMPACT task force for the past two years. She also part of the leadership team for the Nursing Home Ministry through the BSM.

“It is so important to get out into the community as students because we live in this town too,” remarks Solis. “I get to do this along with a group of other Howard Payne students who want to serve and be a part of something greater.”

When asked what she will miss most about Howard Payne, Solis laughs.

“Everything,” she says. “All the events HPU hosts, all the adventures I went on with my friends, the inside jokes with my classmates and professors – each day brought new things to remember.”

Solis has also been a part of Secret Service, the set-up crew for Jacket Journey, as well as a member of Blue Crew, the HPU spirit squad.

“Margarita is one of the kindest, most loving, and all around most joyful people in my life,” says Mike McConnell, fellow senior and student body president. “Her indomitable spirit and ever-present smile have brightened my day on countless occasions, and I am a better person for knowing her the past four years.”

She plans on taking a semester off then spending six months in Peru teaching English and working with a children’s ministry. She then hopes to begin graduate coursework in history and youth ministry.

Solis sums up her HPU experience.

“Howard Payne is a place where you can learn not just what to know for an exam, but things to take with you forever,” she says. “My professors taught me how to learn and how to be prepared. My friends and I grew up together here. I am not sure about my career goals. I just know that I want to make an impact and Howard Payne has prepared me to do that. Howard Payne is home.”

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Photo cutline: Margarita Solis will graduate Saturday from Howard Payne University.

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.

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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 www.hputx.edu/store. 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.

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

HPU celebrates restoration of Steinway piano

Steinway dedication 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – November 3, 2015 – Amid the flurried activity during Howard Payne University’s Homecoming 2015 festivities, a group of people assembled in the choral hall of HPU’s Davidson Music Complex to celebrate friendship, music and a very special piano.

The university hosted a rededication of one of its Steinway pianos in conjunction with the Department of Music’s Homecoming reunion. The Steinway & Sons Model D, also known as the “Concert Grand” piano, was originally donated to the university in 1968 by the late Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Eddie Trussell, 1929 Howard Payne graduates. The 9-foot long, 990-pound piano was used for decades before falling into disrepair.

“Fortunately, Steinway pianos have wonderfully long lifespans,” said Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU’s first lady. “We knew the piano was crafted in such a way that it could be restored rather than replaced.”

Dr. Ellis, along with award-winning Christian artist and HPU alumna Dr. Cynthia Clawson Courtney, co-chairs HPU’s campaign to become a prestigious “All-Steinway School.”

“Steinway & Sons flawless reputation, quality and long lifespan of its instruments will provide outstanding service and performance for our students and faculty for many decades to come,” said Dr. Ellis.

Pattersons for webDr. Burton and Mrs. Virginia Patterson, who have given faithfully to HPU for a number of years, learned of the restoration needs for the grand piano. Dallas Steinway artisan and technician Mr. Steve Claunch fully restored the instrument to its original grandeur. The Pattersons and their family foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Christianity, graciously funded this restoration in memory and honor of Frank and Pauline Patterson, missionaries to Latin America (1938-1972). Dr. and Mrs. Patterson additionally have an HPU endowed scholarship in their name and donated the organs located in the university’s Mims Auditorium and Grace Chapel.

“The Pattersons have hearts for restoring musical instruments and for Baptist causes,” said Randy Yeakley, HPU’s vice president for development. “We’re very grateful for their love of music, their dedication to HPU and their continued generosity.”

The Trussells’ daughter, the late Lucile McDaniel, graduated from Howard Payne in 1944. Her husband, the late Bill McDaniel, was also a 1944 graduate. Their three children attended HPU and were present at the rededication: Sophia (McDaniel) Faulkner ’70, B.J. McDaniel ’77 and Ruth (McDaniel) Thames ’68. Also present were Steve Faulkner (Sophia’s husband and 1972 HPU graduate), Kristen Ivy (Sophia’s daughter and 2001 HPU graduate), Craig Ivy (Kristen’s son), Julie Ivy (Kristen’s daughter) and Roxanne McDaniel (B.J.’s wife).

“Looking at the piano now, you would not believe it was donated to Howard Payne almost 50 years ago,” said Dr. Ellis. “That’s what makes Steinway pianos the very best. We’re so thankful for the Trussells’ generosity and their gift that still benefits our students today.”

For more information about HPU’s All-Steinway School campaign, visit www.hputx.edu/steinway or call HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006.

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Photo cutlines: Members of the family that donated a Steinway piano to HPU in 1968, as well as HPU faculty and staff members, gather around the piano. Left to right: B.J. McDaniel; Roxanne McDaniel; Ruth Thames; Steve Faulkner; Sophia Faulkner; Julie Ivy; Kristen Ivy; Craig Ivy; Randy Yeakley, vice president for development; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music.

Dr. Burton and Mrs. Virginia Patterson and their family foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Christianity, funded the restoration of the piano.

Chapman and Bonner crowned HPU Homecoming Queen and Princess

Homecoming Queen 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2015 – Ashley Chapman of Ennis and Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle were crowned Howard Payne University’s Homecoming Queen and Princess during a ceremony held today on campus.

Chapman, the daughter of Ricky and Diane Chapman, is a senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in Spanish and political science. She is the presiding senior senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She additionally serves as resident assistant for HPU’s campus apartments. Her future plans are to pursue an internship in public policy and eventually work in a district office.

Bonner, the daughter of James and Rosemary Bonner, is a junior public and media communication major. She is the president of Gamma Beta Phi, a National Collegiate Honor Society. She also serves as the junior class senator for the SGA, as a Yellow Jacket newspaper columnist and is a member of the Model United Nations team and the Baptist Student Ministry. Following graduation, she would like to represent a missions or humanitarian, non-profit organization in the public relations department and eventually be involved in human-rights advocacy.

Homecoming Princess 2015 for webThe Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on East Texas Baptist University this Saturday. The game begins at 2 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

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Top photo: Katie Rose Bonner, HPU’s 2014 Homecoming Queen, crowns Ashley Chapman, the 2015 Homecoming Queen.

Bottom photo: Katie Rose Bonner, 2014 Homecoming Queen, crowns her sister, Jaclyn Bonner, the 2015 Homecoming Princess.

Final preparations underway for HPU Homecoming 2015

Homecoming banner installation for webBROWNWOOD – October 15, 2015 – The Howard Payne University Homecoming banner was installed today at HPU’s Mims Auditorium, the site of registration for the event. Homecoming activities, many of which are open to the community, will be held this Friday and Saturday. A complete list of events and corresponding ticket information is available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Homecoming 2015 was made possible through the generosity of the following sponsors: Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce (Pep Rally), the HPU Alumni Association (Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet), Early Chamber of Commerce (Picnic on the Plaza), Willie’s T’s (Decades Breakfast), Underwood’s Cafeteria (Cobbler on the Campus), Early Blooms & Things (Registration), Wendlee Broadcasting (Golden Graduate Luncheon), Big Country Ford (Parade), Mills County State Bank (Little Jackets’ Nest), TexasBank (Departmental Receptions), Dr Pepper Bottling, Citizens National Bank, Painter & Johnson Financial, Porter Insurance Agency, Winstar Marketing, Adidas, PF&E Oil Company, United Supermarkets, Robnett Integra Insurance Services and Smith & Sharpe Insurance.

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Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s maintenance department install a banner at Mims Auditorium in anticipation of Homecoming 2015.

HPU announces 2015 Homecoming Court

BROWNWOOD – October 14, 2015 – Howard Payne University has announced the 2015 Homecoming Court. The Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned this Friday, October 16, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are Ashley Chapman of Ennis, senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in Spanish and political science; Dillan Hanks of Frisco, senior athletic training major; and Caitlin Wood of Miles, senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in political science and public policy (pre-law).

Ashley, the daughter of Ricky and Diane Chapman, is the presiding senior senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She additionally serves as resident assistant for HPU’s campus apartments. Her future plans are to pursue an internship in public policy and eventually work in a district office.

Dillan is the daughter of Chris and Dana Hanks. She is a student athletic trainer, is an alumna of Chi Alpha Omega and serves as secretary of the Tri Beta National Biological Honors Society. After graduation, she plans to become a physical therapist.

Caitlin, the daughter of Ron and Sandy Wood, is a member of Gamma Beta Phi and Pi Gamma Mu. She serves as SGA vice president and as chair of the organization’s Campus Beautification Committee. Additionally, she is a member of HPU Moot Court and is involved in the Baptist Student Ministry. She plans to attend law school and eventually work as a litigator or in-house counsel for a faith-based organization or non-profit.

Princess nominees are Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle, junior public and media communication major; Carrie Leach of Hurst, junior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student and social science major; and Sydney Spencer of Georgetown, junior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in social work.

Jaclyn, the daughter of James and Rosemary Bonner, is the president of Gamma Beta Phi, a National Collegiate Honor Society. She also serves as the junior class senator for the SGA, as a Yellow Jacket newspaper columnist and is a member of the Model United Nations team and the Baptist Student Ministry. Following graduation, she would like to represent a missions or humanitarian, non-profit organization in the public relations department and eventually be involved in human-rights advocacy.

Carrie is the daughter of Jason and Cindy Leach. She is a member of the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team, is an SGA Senator and is a member of the Model United Nations team. Her career aspirations include becoming a human-rights advocate.

Sydney is the daughter of Eric and Tina Spencer. She is a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, the SGA secretary, the vice president of Gamma Beta Phi and is involved in the Honors Code Council, the Social Work Club, Model United Nations and Pi Gamma Mu. She also serves as an office assistant in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. Her future plans are to pursue a career in international adoptions or in the United Nations.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on East Texas Baptist University this Saturday. The game begins at 2 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s 2015 Homecoming Court includes (from left) Dillan Hanks, Caitlin Wood, Ashley Chapman, Jaclyn Bonner, Carrie Leach and Sydney Spencer.

HPU to present “Godspell” musical during Homecoming 2015

By Christy Ash, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2015 – Howard Payne University will present the musical Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz, in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming 2015 festivities. The showings will be October 15, 16 and 17, beginning at 8:00 p.m. each evening. Tickets may be purchased at the door and are $8 for adults and $5 for HPU students and children under 13.

Godspell portrays Jesus’ followers as they experience His parables through a variety of games, storytelling and comedy. The show uses musical styles that range from pop to vaudeville.

Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music, serves as director of the musical.

“I’m sure the fun and games in this show are not exactly the dynamic between Jesus and His disciples, but there must have been more of that than we realize between these dear friends who traveled together during Jesus’ ministry on earth,” she said. “Jesus invested His life in teaching the disciples what it means to love and care for others. He did it in ways they could understand – parables.”

Cast members include Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music; Brett Ellis, senior from Brownwood; Timothy Emery, junior from Brownwood; Marissa Godbey, sophomore from Austin; Josiah Horton, senior from Lockhart; Isaac Howell, junior from Georgetown; Victoria Malone, junior from Fort Worth; Brittany Martin, senior from Goldthwaite; Danielle Strickland, sophomore from Boerne; and Elizabeth Wallace, senior from Snyder. Nick Ewen, assistant professor of theatre, serves as technical director and Bryce McWhirter, sophomore from Pflugerville, serves as stage manager.

Band members are Joseph Dunlap, adjunct instructor of music; Jonathan Grady, 2014 HPU graduate; Angel Hernandez, junior from Brownwood; Micah Huebner, senior from Brazoria; Drew Lambert, senior from Brownwood; Dillon Phillips, music consultant; and Garrett Ratliff, sophomore from Cherokee.

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Photo cutline: HPU will present the musical Godspell during Homecoming 2015. Dress rehearsal photo by Christy Ash, HPU junior.

HPU library to host authors’ reception and display during Homecoming 2015

Homecoming 2015 Library display for webBROWNWOOD – October 12, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Walker Memorial Library will host an Authors’ Reception and Archival Display in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming 2015 festivities. The reception will be held Saturday, October 17, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the HPU library. The library will remain open until noon on Saturday.

Sixteen authors will participate in the event – all HPU alumni, faculty or staff – and many of the authors’ books will be available for purchase. Additionally, several HPU yearbooks from various years will also be available for purchase during the reception.

Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries, said coffee and muffins, free of charge, will be served in the main lobby of the library for Homecoming guests.

“We look forward to seeing alumni and community members at the library during the Homecoming celebrations,” she said. “This is a great opportunity to meet these authors and learn more about HPU’s history.”

For a full list of participating authors and more information about Homecoming 2015, visit www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

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Photo cutline: Photos, books and memorabilia will be on display at HPU’s Walker Memorial Library during Homecoming 2015.