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.