News Archives: Alumni Relations

HPU honors San Antonio’s Kevin Dinnin with Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award

kevin-dinnin-presentation-for-webBROWNWOOD – March 6, 2014 – Howard Payne University recently honored Kevin Dinnin, president and CEO of the San Antonio-based Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), with the Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award. Cowden, a 1984 HPU alumnus, was a victim of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting in July 2012.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and members of the Cowden family were courtside at the San Antonio Spurs game on March 2 when they presented Dinnin with the award, a replica of a statue on HPU’s campus titled “Do As I Have Done.”

“Gordon was a personal friend of mine for more than 20 years, so it has special meaning to me that I was selected to be a recipient of an award that honors his life,” said Dinnin in an interview with Abilene’s KTXS TV station following the presentation.

BCFS is a global health and human services organization with locations and services in the United States and around the world. Under Dinnin’s leadership, BCFS has grown into a multimillion-dollar organization with five subsidiary corporations serving those affected by crisis and disaster around the world with an array of mental health, medical and human service programs.

“Mr. Dinnin has made a tremendous impact in the lives of a countless number of children and families around the world who are suffering severe hardships,” said Dr. Ellis. “He is most deserving of this award which celebrates those who, like Gordon Cowden, display courage in times of adversity.”

Following the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, Dinnin was appointed by Secretary Tommy Thompson to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national summit, “When Terror Strikes.” There he served on the Secretary’s Task Force for Promoting Healing and Restoring Hope for America’s Children and Families and subsequently was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Terrorism. Additionally, Dinnin has served as chairman of numerous non-profit boards in Texas including the Texas Lions Camp for Children with Disabilities, the Texas State Youth and Government Board and The University of Texas Health Science Center Advisory Council for the School of Nursing.

More recently, Dinnin has served as the commander of Health and Medical Branch of Texas Task Force Ike, led an incident management team response to Haiti, developed the Texas Medical Sheltering Task Force for the State of Texas and served as consult to the Federal Emergency Management Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

He is a nationally known subject-matter expert in caring for persons with medical and functional needs during disasters and has been credited with developing the most comprehensive training manual for sheltering persons with medical needs known to be in existence. He is also responsible for establishing and maintaining the largest medical shelter capacity of any state in the U.S.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Bill Ellis (third from right), HPU president, and members of the Cowden family presented Kevin Dinnin of San Antonio (fourth from left) with the Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award at the start of the San Antonio Spurs basketball game on March 2.

This Valentine’s Day, alumni couple reflects on time at HPU

butler grad pic for web_3BROWNWOOD – Feb. 10, 2014 – For Howard Payne University alumni Ben and Angela (Haney) Butler, the university will forever represent more than just an education – it’s also where they met and fell in love. The couple was married on November 2, 2013, just one month before they crossed the stage to receive their Master of Business Administration degrees.

Ben, a Graham native, and Angela, from Denison, both started at HPU in the fall of 2008. After seeing each other around campus for a year, they became friends in the fall of 2009.

“I could always tell that there was something special about Ben,” said Angela. “He was always the guy who would do anything to help out a friend. If you ask any of his friends from HPU, they’ll tell you that he goes above and beyond to take care of other people.”

It wasn’t until the next year, however, that Angela noticed her feelings for Ben were evolving into something deeper.

“I finally told a mutual friend of ours, and he got so excited that he immediately went and told Ben,” she said.

According to Ben, he didn’t quite believe the news for the first few weeks.

“I wasn’t sure if it was true or if my buddies were just playing a joke on me,” he said. “Angela was the type of girl that I always felt was out of my league, and I still do. But on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving that year, as I was getting ready to head home for break, I decided to text her.”

A month later, the couple was “officially” dating and they continued to do so throughout the rest of their undergraduate careers.

“Ben actually chose to get his Master of Business Administration degree through HPU before I did,” said Angela. “He had an extra year of eligibility left in baseball and thought the MBA program sounded perfect.”

Angela, who had taken an internship in her hometown after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, discovered that a long-distance relationship was not what she wanted. Fortunately, she applied for an admission counselor position with HPU’s Office of Admission and was hired soon after.

“I didn’t really think anything about getting an MBA until after I came back to work at HPU and more people began to tell me about their great experiences with the program,” she said. “It was enticing to me because an MBA can help you in so many different fields, and it can be completed in only one year. I decided to follow in Ben’s footsteps and get mine too.”

In between busy work schedules, baseball and other events, Ben and Angela attended graduate classes together at nights and on weekends. Their relationship continued to blossom, and they became engaged on March 16, 2013, at a family friend’s house after a home baseball game.

“I turned a corner and saw Ben standing there with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, his Bible and a little blue box wrapped in white ribbon,” Angela said. “He proposed and I said yes in front of our friends and family. We celebrated the night away.”

Due to the fact that Ben finished his MBA in August and Angela finished hers in December, they had the rare opportunity to graduate together a month after their wedding.

“It was a really cool thing to do,” Angela said. “I even had the registrar’s office make sure that my name said ‘Angela Nicole Butler’ on my diploma instead of ‘Haney.’ When I walked the stage they had me wait for Ben’s name to be called too. We were able to get our picture taken together on the platform, as husband and wife, both graduating with our Master of Business Administration degrees. It was a really great experience to get to share with him.”

The couple now lives in The Colony, with Ben working for Evantage, Inc., and Angela for Lewisville ISD. They’ve joined Prestonwood Baptist Church and say they have been blessed by God’s continual provision.

“As far as the future goes, sometimes it seems like we have a ton of plans and sometimes it seems like we’re just playing it fast and loose,” Angela said. “We would both eventually like to pursue entrepreneurship. We want to travel. We want to raise a family. But right now, we’re just taking it one step at a time and loving each other with everything we have.”

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Photo cutline: Ben and Angela (Haney) Butler graduated from HPU with Master of Business Administration degrees just one month after their wedding. They are pictured with Dr. Les Plagens, left, dean of the School of Business, and Dr. Lois Patton, right, professor of business administration and director of the MBA program.

HPU to celebrate Black History Month

black_history_month_chapel_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – January 29, 2014 – Howard Payne University will celebrate Black History Month in February with a special chapel service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the university’s Mims Auditorium. The public is invited to attend as students and alumni of the university commemorate the “Golden Jubilee” celebration of the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“This program is designed to be educational as well as entertaining,” said Wilbert Rogers, a 1975 HPU graduate and coordinator of the service each year.

Rogers and other members of the African-American Chapter of the HPU Alumni Association have been hard at work writing and rehearsing the program. Rogers writes the scripts based on topics provided by the National Black History Month organization and assigns parts to have as many participants as possible.

Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students, reported that the Black History Month program has been a wonderful addition to the spring semester chapel schedule and encourages involvement by current HPU students.

“This program provides a wonderful opportunity for current students to connect with alumni as together they provide a chapel program which will educate and inspire,” he said.

Gladys Murray, a 1980 alumna of the university, organizes the program and manages the technology used during the service.

“Most of all, we hope to educate the students and other attendees on black history, opening their eyes to the issues that we had to encounter to get laws passed so that they did not have to suffer through these issues,” she said. “We also hope to instill in them that violence is not the way to get things done.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and aimed to replace the longstanding “separate but equal” doctrine which permitted racial segregation.

“It is important for each student to realize his or her potential,” Murray said. “Black History Month is not only for the black people. It was created for all people to become equal. Even today, our success is not because of the color of our skin. We must look past this and see the best in everyone.”

In addition to the HPU performance, the service will be presented the same day at Brownwood High School at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The community is invited to attend either performance.

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Photo cutline: HPU junior Zacchaeus Steidel-Santiago sang “If I Can Help Somebody” during the university’s Black History Month chapel service last year.

Dr. Richard Jackson elected to Board of Governors at B. H. Carroll Theological Institute

Dr. Richard Jackson(Information provided by the B. H. Carroll Theological Institute.)

BROWNWOOD – October 31, 2013 – Dr. Richard A. Jackson, a 1960 Howard Payne University graduate, longtime Baptist minister and president of Jackson Center for Evangelism and Encouragement in Brownwood, has been elected to serve on the Board of Governors of B. H. Carroll Theological Institute in Arlington.

He was elected to the post at a recent meeting of the board. The announcement was made by Dr. Leon Leach, chairman of the board and executive vice president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Jackson has agreed to serve in this important role,” said Dr. C. Gene Wilkes, new president of the Institute. “Dr. Jackson remains passionate about evangelism and equipping the local church to reach others for Christ. His passion matches Carroll’s mission in every way.”

Dr. Bruce Corley, founding Carroll president who retired this month, commented, “I’m excited to have such a powerful voice and dedicated servant of God in our midst. Richard is a pastoral leader whose record of service is long and impressive, a man of integrity respected throughout the nation and the world.”

Born in Fort Worth, Dr. Jackson, son of a pioneer Baptist minister, is a 1956 graduate of Grapevine High School. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees from Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth (1963). His seminary degree is the equivalent of today’s Master of Divinity Degree. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees by Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and by HPU, on whose Board of Trustees he served for three years.

For a quarter of a century, he was pastor of one of the nation’s megachurches, North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona. Retiring there as pastor in 1993, his leadership was credited with the church’s phenomenal growth. Membership grew from about 500 to more than 22,000.

He has held pastorates in Texas churches such as May, Bluff Dale, Cleburne and Sulphur Springs. During recent years, he has served as interim pastor of 11 churches, most recently First Baptist Church of San Angelo. He also teaches at Howard Payne while directing the work of the Jackson Center. Dr. Jackson receives many invitations to preach at churches throughout the United States.

Dr. Jackson is married to the former Wanda Alexander, his high school and college sweetheart. They have been married for 56 years and have three children and six grandchildren.

Dr. Jackson’s colleagues on Carroll Institute’s Board of Governors include Dr. Russell H. Dilday, chancellor of the Institute; Dr. Don Newbury, HPU chancellor and vice chairman of the board; and Jerry W. Yowell, CLU, State Farm Insurance in Fort Worth, and secretary of the board.

Also on the board are David M. Smith, president of Texmark Chemicals Inc., Houston; Barbara Baugh, president of the John and Eula Mae Baugh Foundation, San Antonio; Don Buchholz, chairman of the board of Southwest Securities Group Inc., Dallas; Dr. Stephen Hatfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Lewisville; Joan Trew, owner at Williams Trew Real Estate Company, Fort Worth; and Jeff Whitfield, attorney at law, Kelly Hart and Hallman, Fort Worth.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Richard Jackson speaks at HPU’s University Convocation in 2012.

HPU junior Lacy Culpepper receives James L. Williamson Scholarship

lacy culpepper receives williamson scholarship webBROWNWOOD – October 25, 2013 – Howard Payne University junior Lacy Culpepper, a management major from Zephyr, recently received the James L. Williamson Scholarship. Williamson, a 1970 HPU graduate and former vice president for development, established the scholarship in 1992 for students pursuing a career in insurance and/or financial planning.

Dr. Les Plagens, dean of HPU’s School of Business, recommended Culpepper for the award.

“On behalf of the HPU business faculty I was proud to recommend Lacy Culpepper for the James Williamson Scholarship,” he said. “The selection was based on his outstanding academic record as well as his character in and out of the classroom. We appreciate the consideration given by James Williamson to establish this fund and to provide this encouragement to a student like Lacy who has an interest in a finance-related career.”

Williamson says he is happy to be a part of a legacy that will continue long after he is gone.

“I first started contributing to the fund on my birthday 21 years ago,” he said. “It didn’t grow overnight – I just went to work and contributed regularly because I cared. It was easy and fun to give, and I’m happy to help. I want students to come to HPU and receive the same extra attention that I received as a student.”

Culpepper is an active member of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry and has worked in the university’s Office of Admission his entire time at HPU. As a captain of the Jacket Ambassadors, he trains other student tour guides who introduce prospective students to life on campus.

He called the scholarship a “surprise blessing.”

“It was an extreme honor to receive the scholarship,” he said. “It is difficult for me to express my gratitude to its full extent. I pray that God continues to bless Mr. Williamson and his family so that he can continue to give so generously, allowing students such as myself to one day ‘pay it forward’ as he has done.”

To establish or contribute to a scholarship at HPU, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006 or via e-mail at give@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: Lacy Culpepper, center, recently received the James L. Williamson Scholarship. He is pictured with Williamson (right) and Dr. Les Plagens, dean of HPU’s School of Business.

HPU Homecoming art show to feature work of Susan Harmon

Susan Harmon artworkBROWNWOOD – October 2, 2013 – The artwork of Susan Harmon will be on display during the 2013 Homecoming Weekend, October 4-6, at Howard Payne University. Harmon’s Sight/Insight Collection is housed in Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside of HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

Susan is the wife of David E. Harmon, chair and professor of art at HPU. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Georgia Southern University and is currently working on her Ph.D. from Monash University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research is titled “Inside Madness: Painted Stories of People who Suffer from Mental Illness.” The Sight/Insight Collection, which features 15 mixed-media pieces, follows this theme.

The gallery will be open Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, contact David Harmon at (325) 649-8088 or via e-mail at dharmon@hputx.edu.

A complete list of Homecoming 2013 activities is available online at homecoming.hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: The artwork of Susan Harmon will be on display during HPU’s Homecoming 2013.

HPU to present Homecoming musical “Into the Woods”

BROWNWOOD – October 2, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Music will present Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods” this week as part of the Homecoming 2013 festivities. Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at the university’s Mims Auditorium.

The show is a new spin on classic fairytales including Cinderella, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood.

“The show will be great fun for the entire family, particularly the first act which depicts several fairytales that audiences will remember from childhood,” said Dr. Celeste Church, associate professor of music and director of the musical. “We have a strong cast and beautiful music from the stage, supported by a student orchestra.”

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students/children and may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling (325) 649-8500.

Homecoming Musical

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Photo cutline: HPU will present “Into the Woods” this week as part of Homecoming 2013. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU sophomore.

Community involvement plays big role in this weekend’s HPU Homecoming festivities

BROWNWOOD – October 1, 2013 – Homecoming celebrations will soon be underway at Howard Payne University. The event is scheduled for this weekend, October 4-6.

Homecoming 2013 BannerA banner listing the Homecoming 2013 sponsors was hung Monday at the university’s Mims Auditorium. Sponsors include the Howard Payne University Alumni Association, Early Blooms & Things, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Big Country Ford, Early Chamber of Commerce, Willie’s T’s, Underwood’s Cafeteria, the Breeze (96.9) and KXYL (102.3).

Additional sponsors include Texas Bank, Mills County State Bank, Food Plaza, Ozarka, Sodexo, Adidas, Dr Pepper, Painter & Johnson Financial, Citizens National Bank, Porter Insurance, Robnett Integra, Lamar Advertising and Mid-Tex Credit Union.

“We’re very grateful for our sponsors and the people in the community who show up each year to make Homecoming a huge success,” said Nancy Heady, director of alumni relations. “We’re looking forward to another great celebration thanks to all of the support we receive from the Brownwood and Early communities.”

For a complete schedule of events and more information about HPU’s Homecoming 2013, visit homecoming.hputx.edu or call 325-649-8069.

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Photo cutline: HPU hung a banner on campus in preparation for the Homecoming 2013 celebrations.

HPU announces Homecoming Parade route

Homecoming Parade 2012 for webBROWNWOOD – September 27, 2013 – Howard Payne University has announced the parade route for Homecoming 2013. The parade, sponsored by Big Country Ford, will travel around the HPU campus Saturday, October 5, beginning at 11 a.m., and the community is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The parade will wind its way from HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center around the Mabee University Center, down Fisk Street to Austin Avenue, where it will turn and re-enter the campus on Center Avenue. The parade will end on HPU’s Wilson Walkway.

A variety of reunions and other events will also be held throughout the weekend. Alumni and visitors can register for Homecoming events and purchase tickets by visiting homecoming.hputx.edu or by calling 1-800-950-8465 or 325-649-8069.

“This year, six student organizations are preparing floats for the parade including Alpha Psi Omega, the Archery Club, Chi Alpha Omega, Delta Chi Rho, Sigma Theta Phi and the Student Government Association,” said Francie Harvey, director of student activities.

The Homecoming Court, alumni honorees and marching band will also be featured in the parade.

“We’re thrilled to have some new organizations participating in the float-building contest this year and feel confident it will be a wonderful event,” Harvey said. “We hope the community will come and enjoy!”

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Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s Student Foundation carry banners during the 2012 Homecoming Parade.

HPU’s Homecoming 2013 celebration scheduled Oct. 4-6

Homecomming logoBROWNWOOD – September 20, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Homecoming celebration will be held Friday through Sunday, Oct. 4-6. This year’s theme is “There Is No Place Like Homecoming,” honoring L. Frank Baum’s classic book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Alumni and visitors can register for Homecoming events by visiting homecoming.hputx.edu or by calling 1-800-950-8465 or 325-649-8069. A full calendar of events and tickets are available online.

Approximately 40 events will be held throughout the weekend, including the following:

Performances of “Into the Woods” will be held at the university’s Mims Auditorium. Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For ticket information, contact the School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

The Golden Graduate Luncheon for the Class of 1963 will be held Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Mabee University Center’s Bullion Suites.

HPU’s soccer teams will take on Concordia University Friday afternoon (women at 1 p.m. and men at 3 p.m.) and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday (women at 1 p.m. and men at 3 p.m.). The games will be held at HPU’s Citizens National Bank Soccer Field.

Homecoming Convocation will begin at 2 p.m. Friday in Mims Auditorium. The Homecoming Queen and Princess will be crowned.

The Alumni Awards Banquet, sponsored by the Alumni Association, will be held Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Mabee University Center’s Beadel Dining Area, during which several Homecoming 2013 honorees will be recognized. Dr. Cynthia Clawson Courtney ’70, award-winning Christian artist, and Dave Lee ’74, well-known trumpeter from the Austin area, will perform.

The university will host Cobbler on the Campus, sponsored by Underwood’s Cafeteria, from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday night at Muse Plaza and Mall. This dessert social is open to all campus visitors.

From 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday evening, the university will host a pep rally and laser light show sponsored by the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce at Muse Plaza and Mall.

Saturday morning, the Hispanic Alumni Breakfast will be held in the Mabee University Center’s Bullion Suites from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The Homecoming Parade, sponsored by Big Country Ford, will travel around the HPU campus on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. The parade will wind its way from HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center around the Mabee University Center, down Fisk Street to Austin Avenue, where it will turn and re-enter the campus on Center Avenue. The parade will end on HPU’s Wilson Walkway.

HPU’s volleyball team will compete against Hardin-Simmons University (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and UT Dallas (3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) on Saturday. Both games will be held at the Brownwood Coliseum.

The Picnic on the Plaza, sponsored by the Early Chamber of Commerce, will begin at noon on Saturday at Muse Plaza and Mall on the HPU campus.

The HPU Yellow Jacket football team will play Louisiana College at 2 p.m. Saturday at Gordon Wood Stadium.

On Sunday at 9 a.m., married alumni are welcome to participate in renewing their vows in HPU’s beautiful Grace Chapel.

A variety of reunions and other events will be held throughout the weekend. A complete schedule of events is available online at homecoming.hputx.edu.