News Archives: Alumni Relations

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

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.


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.


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.


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


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

HPU Concert Choir to preview fall concert at Homecoming

hc choir 2014 for webBy Amy Pitman, HPU communications assistant

BROWNWOOD – October 8, 2015 – The Howard Payne University Concert Choir will perform a brief preview of the group’s fall concert as part of HPU’s Homecoming festivities on Saturday, October 17, 11:00-11:30 a.m. The concert will be held in Grace Chapel in the Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center on the HPU campus. The HPU Concert Choir is under the direction of Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities.

Selections to be performed include “Sing a Mighty Song,” by Daniel Gawthrop; “Esto Les Digo,” by Kinley Lange, a former HPU student; “Psalm 23” by Paul Basler, featuring sophomore Carissa Cromer, playing French horn; “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, arranged by Harry Simeone; and “The Storm is Passing Over,” arranged by Larry Nickel. Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music, is the accompanist for the choir.

The HPU Heritage Singers, also under Dr. Garrett’s direction, will also perform one piece, “Seasons of Love,” from the musical Rent. The accompanist for the Heritage Singers is Joseph Dunlap, adjunct instructor of music. As is HPU custom, the concert will end with alumni and former choir members joining the current choir to sing “Send Me, O Lord, Send Me.”

“The choir’s Homecoming concert is a great opportunity for us to give a preview of our fall concert,” says Dr. Garrett. “We are always grateful for the support we receive from the HPU family.”

The public is encouraged to attend this concert, and there is no charge for admission. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: The HPU Concert Choir is pictured during Homecoming 2014 at Grace Chapel.

HPU announces Homecoming parade route

Parade Route Map 2015BROWNWOOD – October 7, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Homecoming parade, a longstanding community tradition, will be held Saturday, October 17, at 9:30 a.m.

Beginning at the Brownwood Coliseum, the parade will travel north on Baker St., turn left onto Center Ave., move across Austin Ave. and enter campus. The procession will end in front of HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center on Center Ave. The best areas to view the parade are downtown and on campus along Center Ave.

The parade will feature student-designed floats and other attractions including the HPU Yellow Jacket Marching Band and the HPU mascot, Buzzsaw. Additionally, there will be a variety of floats and participants from the community.

“HPU’s Homecoming parade is a favorite among members of the campus community and the Brownwood community alike,” said Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations. “Participants are already hard at work on their floats.”

The Homecoming parade is sponsored by Big Country Ford of Brownwood. A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available online at

Click here to download the parade route (PDF).

HPU to recognize 10 honorees during Homecoming 2015

BROWNWOOD – October 7, 2015 – Howard Payne University will recognize 10 individuals during the Homecoming 2015 celebrations, October 16-17.

This year’s honorees include Dr. Dan Crawford ’64, Distinguished Alumnus; Dr. Sally M. (Davis) Kozoll ’61, Distinguished Alumna; Jeff Mitchell ’02, Outstanding Young Graduate; Melba (Harrelson) Barger ’58, Coming Home Queen; Betty Broome ’95, Medal of Service; Gene Deason ’72, Medal of Service; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Grand Marshal; Joe Cardenas ’77, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award; Tim Brasher ’95, Sports Hall of Fame; and Don Kelso ’80, Sports Hall of Fame.

Nine of the individuals will be recognized during the Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, sponsored by the HPU Alumni Association, on Friday, October 16. The banquet begins at 5 p.m. For ticket information, visit or call (325) 649-8044. The Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service award will be presented during the Hispanic Alumni Breakfast on Saturday, October 17.

For more information about these and other Homecoming events, visit

Dr. Dan Crawford ’64, Distinguished Alumnus

Dr. Dan Crawford for webAccording to Dr. Dan Crawford, almost everything he has done since graduation – including public speaking, preaching, teaching and writing – has its roots in what he learned during his time at HPU.

Dr. Crawford received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible with minors in English and religious education in 1964. During his four years at HPU, he was involved in the Baptist Student Union, the Life Service Band and the Ministerial Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for HPU’s Alumni Association and is a past president of the organization.

Following his time at HPU, Dr. Crawford went on to study at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received his Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees in 1967, 1976 and 1981, respectively.

Dr. Crawford has served in a variety of ministerial and teaching roles and has spoken, ministered and traveled in all 50 states and more than 55 countries. He has written for a number of Christian publications and is the author of “Dr. Dan’s Monday Morning Manna” posted online every week at

His wife, Joanne (Cunningham) Crawford, is a 1965 HPU graduate. The couple has two children, Danna (Crawford) Presbaugh and James Crawford, and two grandchildren, Whitney (Presbaugh) Kennedy, a 2014 HPU graduate, and Price Presbaugh. Dr. and Mrs. Crawford reside in Fort Worth.

Dr. Sally M. (Davis) Kozoll ’61, Distinguished Alumna

Dr. Sally Kozoll for webDr. Sally M. (Davis) Kozoll said HPU has encouraged her by nurturing in her a strong value system along with service and compassion for others.

Dr. Kozoll is a 1961 graduate of HPU with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a minor in speech. She also attended Texas State University where she obtained her Master of Education degree in special education. She received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of New Mexico with a major in foundations of education and minors in psychology and anthropology. She currently serves as a tenured professor at the University of New Mexico.

During her time at HPU, Dr. Kozoll participated in student organizations such as Mission Band, Friday Extra, College Theater, Jacket Coeds, Psi Upsilon Chi (psychology) and Beta Gamma Pi (science).

Dr. Kozoll is a consultant with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, through which she worked with seven nations to develop substance-abuse prevention programs for youth. She also serves and consults with organizations in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

Dr. Kozoll and her husband, Dr. Richard Kozoll, who is a preventative medicine physician, work together on many projects to improve the health and well-being of often-forgotten and under-served rural people groups. The couple lives in Cuba, N.M.

Jeff Mitchell ’02, Outstanding Young Graduate

Jeff Mitchell for webBrownwood resident Jeff Mitchell said devotion and care from his HPU family was a major influence in who he became in life. Mitchell received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and computer information systems with a minor in mathematics from HPU in 2002. He participated in many activities during his time at HPU, including cheerleading, band and the Baptist Student Ministry.

Mitchell began working for Kohler Company in 1999 as a part-time employee while still a student at HPU. He has since held a variety of progressive management positions with the company and today serves as pottery superintendent, directing a workforce of approximately 760 associates. In addition to his HPU degree, Mitchell earned a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Houston.

Mitchell is involved in a number of church and civic activities and credits mentors among HPU’s faculty and staff for his successes in leadership.

His wife, Kristy (Snider) Mitchell graduated from HPU in 2000. The couple has two sons, Tyler and Peyton.

Melba (Harrelson) Barger ’58, Coming Home Queen

Melba Barger for webMelba (Harrelson) Barger of Brownwood has many cherished memories from her time at HPU, including participating in the university’s first Chime Out ceremony.

Barger graduated from HPU in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a minor in art education. While at HPU, she participated in Alpha Chi, the Life Service Band, Future Teachers of America and the Veda Hodge Hall dorm council. In 1957, she served as editor of the Lasso yearbook.

Barger went on to receive her Master of Arts in social rehabilitation and social services from Sam Houston State University. Her thesis was titled An Investigation into Family Size and Classification Status of Instructional Youth. She taught public school for 30 years before retiring in 1995.

Barger and her husband, the late Dann Barger, also a 1958 graduate, married one day after their HPU graduation. They were married for 52 years until his death in 2010. The couple has two sons, Jon Harrell Barger (wife Kimberly) and James Michael Barger (wife Tammy), and five grandchildren – Evan, Dana, Holli, Alexandria and Garrett.

Betty Broome ’95, Medal of Service

Betty Broome for webBetty Broome of Brownwood attended HPU as a non-traditional student while taking night classes and working full-time for the university. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1995.

Broome was named to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities list in 1994. She also served as second-vice president for the HPU Woman’s Club and received the organization’s prestigious Yellow Rose award in 2012. HPU presented her with the Outstanding Staff Member Award in 2004 and with Excellence in Service awards in 1999 and 2003.

Among other roles, Broome worked as an executive assistant to six different university presidents during her 26 years as a staff member at HPU. Upon retirement, she was named Executive Assistant to the President Emeritus.

Broome remains active at HPU, serving as secretary of the Retired Employees Association. Additionally, she enjoys attending HPU functions including sporting events, concerts, theatre productions, Homecoming and more. She also serves as a member of the Retired Faculty/Staff Area Steering Committee for HPU’s A Call to Send campaign and assists with the scheduling of volunteers for the university’s Food & Essentials Pantry.

Broome and her husband, Clois, have three daughters: Kim Moore, Lara Haddock (husband Jim), and Amy Spargo ’94 (husband Ben ’94). The couple has six grandchildren: James Haddock, Amber Moore, Jack Haddock, Kate Haddock, Emma Spargo and Grant Spargo.

Gene Deason ’72, Medal of Service

Gene Deason for webWith experience as editor of HPU’s Yellow Jacket student newspaper, Gene Deason used his time at HPU to prepare for his long career in journalism.

Deason graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a minor in journalism in 1972. In addition to leading the Yellow Jacket staff, Deason served in the Student Government Association and became a member of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society during his senior year. He was a member of several other student organizations including Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Chi journalism society and Circle K International.

While a student at HPU, Deason served as a part-time reporter for the Brownwood Bulletin from 1969 to 1972. He went on to become a full-time reporter after college and then managing editor, executive editor and assistant publisher at the Bulletin between 1972 and 2000. Deason additionally served at the Stephenville Empire Tribune and Alice Echo News before returning to serve as editor at the Brownwood Bulletin in 2004, the position he held until his retirement in 2012.

Among his many civic activities, Deason is chairman of the Board of Directors for HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and board secretary for HPU’s Alumni Association.

Deason’s wife, Valeri (Chambers) Deason, is a 1973 HPU graduate. The couple lives in Brownwood and has two children, Amy (Deason) Slaughter and Trey Deason, and one grandson, Ross Everett Slaughter.

Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Grand Marshal

Dr. Mitzi Lehrer for webBrownwood native Dr. Mitzi Lehrer retired as associate professor of education in 2015 following 19 years of service to HPU. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in HPU’s School of Education.

Dr. Lehrer received a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics from Baylor University in 1962. She went on to complete her Master of Education degree in 1986 from Abilene Christian University and her Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from Baylor University in 1997.

Prior to her career at HPU, Dr. Lehrer taught for 30 years in a number of public school districts across the state.

Dr. Lehrer served on a variety of committees at HPU and as a faculty sponsor for Kappa Delta Pi. Among other accomplishments, she led student groups from the School of Education on trips to London in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Dr. Lehrer additionally has several family ties to the university including her mother and brother, as well as her uncle, Dr. Guy D. Newman, HPU president from 1955 to 1973. She and her late husband, Wayne, have two children, Robert Lehrer (wife Liz) and Mary Lehrer. They also have two grandchildren, Jacob and Joshua Lehrer.

Joe Cardenas ’77, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award

Joe Cardenas for webJoe Cardenas of Brownwood, this year’s recipient of the Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award, was mentored by Dr. Rivas who encouraged him to attend HPU. Cardenas graduated from HPU in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a minor in history. He attended the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom (today the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy) as a Hatton W. Sumners Scholarship recipient and also participated in student organizations including Kappa Delta Pi and La Hora Bautista.

While a student at HPU, Cardenas served as dorm supervisor, campus supervisor and behavioral trainer for the Texas Youth Commission.

He went on to obtain his Master of Education degree and superintendent certification from Tarleton State University. Employed by Brownwood ISD for 25 years, Cardenas currently serves as a BISD administrator.

Cardenas was a U.S. Army Sergeant and Vietnam veteran honorably discharged. He is married to Ronnie (Wise) Cardenas, a 1981 HPU graduate. The couple has three children – Natalie ’13, Juanita Mercedes ’14 and Gabriel, an HPU junior.

Tim Brasher ’95, Sports Hall of Fame

Tim Brasher for webBrownwood resident Tim Brasher said professors at HPU reinforced family values and taught him to balance life’s priorities. Brasher graduated from the university in 1995 with a degree in exercise and sport science.

While at HPU, Brasher was named the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) men’s tennis Player of the Year during his senior season of 1994. Additionally, Brasher helped lead the team to a TIAA championship in 1991 and NAIA and NCAA III national tournament appearances in 1991 and 1994. In three seasons, he received 2nd and 1st Team All-TIAA honors, twice a NAIA All-District selection.

Upon graduating, Brasher served as HPU head tennis coach from 1995 to 1997. He guided the women’s team to an American Southwest Conference championship and a NCAA III national tournament appearance in 1996. That same year, he was named TIAA women’s Coach of the Year. On the men’s side, Brasher led the Yellow Jackets to an ASC Championship in 1997 and to two appearances in the NCAA III national tournament. He also was tabbed as the ASC men’s Coach of the Year in 1997.

Today, he runs a successful business, Brasher & Co., in Brownwood. He and his wife, Michelle, have three children – Blake, Lilly and Abby.

Don Kelso ’80, Sports Hall of Fame

Don Kelso for webBig Spring resident Don Kelso said HPU taught him to work hard and stay faithful even while being an underdog. As an All-American defensive lineman for the Yellow Jackets in 1979, he would go on to sign free-agent contracts with the Houston Oilers and Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL).

Kelso graduated from HPU in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and health with a minor in history. He went on to serve as a teacher and coach for more than 30 years with stints in McCamey, Crosbyton, Jacksboro and Big Spring.

After redshirting his freshman year of 1975 at HPU, Kelso would start at offensive guard for two seasons, earning 2nd Team All-Lone Star Conference honors. He then moved to the defensive side of the ball his junior and senior seasons of 1978 and 1979. He was 2nd Team All-Lone Star Conference his junior season and 1st Team All-Lone Star Conference along with his All-American honor in his senior year of 1979.

Kelso stays involved in his local church by serving as a deacon. Additionally, he teaches a Sunday School class for adult couples. Kelso and his wife, Jean (Barnes), whom he met at HPU, have two sons: Clayton (wife Kelsey) and Brendon. The couple has two grandchildren, Brenley and Cannon.

Works by HPU art faculty on exhibit during Homecoming 2015

BROWNWOOD – October 6, 2015 – Works by Howard Payne University’s art faculty will be on exhibit during HPU’s 2015 Homecoming celebrations, October 16-17. The exhibit, titled “Artists in Action,” is housed in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

The artists include David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art; Susan Harmon, adjunct instructor of art; and Julie Mize, adjunct instructor of photography. The works feature collage, drawing, ink, painting, pastel and various photographic techniques.

David Harmon said he welcomes art alumni, and all other art enthusiasts, to the exhibit.

“We look forward to seeing former students and meeting new friends during the Homecoming festivities,” he said.

The gallery will be open for special Homecoming hours Friday, October 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, October 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or by appointment. For more information about the show, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood.

A complete list of Homecoming 2015 events is available online at


Photo cutline: Works by HPU’s art faculty, including “Self Portrait – Imagined” by David Harmon, will be on display during Homecoming 2015. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU senior.

HPU’s Homecoming festivities scheduled October 16-17 to celebrate “Timeless Traditions”

Homecoming sign at HPU for webBROWNWOOD – October 1, 2015 – Howard Payne University will celebrate many time-honored traditions at this year’s Homecoming, slated for October 16-17. “Timeless Traditions” is the theme for the event, at which alumni and friends of the university will convene on the HPU campus for a full schedule of activities.

Alumni and visitors may register for Homecoming events online; some require purchased tickets while many are free of charge. For complete details, visit or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (325) 649-8044 or via e-mail at

New events this year include Reunion Pre-Game Gatherings for the classes of 1965, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2005 at Gordon Wood Stadium prior to the football game on Saturday, and an Authors’ Reception and Archival Display at HPU’s Walker Memorial Library on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Additional events are highlighted below.

When they arrive on campus, alumni and visitors will have an opportunity to immediately reconnect with HPU friends at Mims Auditorium during Registration, sponsored by Early Blooms & Things. Those who registered in advance may check in the registration booths to pick up nametags, t-shirts and other materials.

Performances of “Godspell” will be held at the university’s Mims Auditorium on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children 13 and younger. Tickets may be purchased through the Homecoming website or at the door on the evenings of the performances. Those who purchase tickets online for Thursday’s performance should contact the Office of Alumni Relations prior to the event at (325) 649-8044.

The Golden Graduate Luncheon honoring the Class of 1965, sponsored by Wendlee Broadcasting, will be held Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of the university’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

The Homecoming Court will be presented during Homecoming Convocation at 2 p.m. on Friday in Mims Auditorium.

The Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, sponsored by HPU’s Alumni Association, will be held Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Beadel Dining Hall of the Mabee University Center. During the banquet, the Homecoming 2015 honorees will be recognized. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.

Following the banquet on Friday will be Cobbler on the Campus sponsored by Underwood’s Cafeteria and a Pep Rally sponsored by the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce at HPU’s Muse Plaza and Mall. These festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday morning’s Decades Breakfast, sponsored by Willie’s T’s, begins at 7:30 a.m. During this time, alumni are invited to reunite with friends from their class decades in the Beadel Dining Hall of the Mabee University Center.

Also at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday will be the Hispanic Alumni Breakfast in Bullion Suites B and C of the Mabee University Center and the Letterman’s Breakfast in the Beadel Dining Hall.

The Homecoming Parade, sponsored by Big Country Ford, begins at 9:30 on Saturday morning. The parade will follow the same route as last year, beginning at the Brownwood Coliseum, traveling down Center Ave. and ending at the university’s Doakie Day Art Center. The best areas to view the parade are downtown and on campus along Center Avenue.

Little Jackets’ Nest, sponsored by Mills County State Bank, will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 on Saturday behind the Packer Administration Building. This is a time of games and other fun activities for children.

A variety of departmental and student-organization receptions, sponsored by TexasBank, will be held Saturday morning from 10:30 a.m. until noon. A complete list of participating departments and organizations is available online at

Picnic on the Plaza, sponsored by the Early Chamber of Commerce, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Muse Plaza and Mall and Beadel Dining Hall.

A tree dedication in memory of Shawn Brown, class of 1998, will take place on Saturday from 11:35 to 11:50 a.m. at the Muse Plaza and Mall.

The HPU Yellow Jacket football team will play East Texas Baptist University at 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Gordon Wood Stadium.

A variety of reunions, athletic events and other events will be held throughout the weekend. A complete schedule of events and ticket prices are available online at

In addition to the sponsors listed above, HPU thanks the following business for their support: Dr Pepper Bottling, Citizens National Bank, Painter & Johnson Financial, Porter Insurance Agency, Winstar Marketing, Adidas, PF&E Oil Company, United Supermarkets and Robnett Integra Insurance Services.


Photo cutline: A sign on the HPU campus along Austin Avenue announces the dates for Homecoming 2015.

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.