BROWNWOOD – October 21, 2014 – In the early 1960s, excitement swept the Howard Payne University campus when two students achieved international fame. Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson Landon – known around the world as Paul and Paula – recorded their smash hit “Hey Paula” which spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1963. The pair will return to campus this Friday for a concert and unveiling of a Texas historical marker in their honor.
The event is in conjunction with HPU’s Homecoming 2014, October 24-26, which pays tribute to the university’s 125th anniversary.
“We’re privileged to honor Ray and Jill during our Homecoming and anniversary celebrations this year,” said Stephen Sullivan ’11, director of development and alumni relations. “They hold a very special place in HPU history.”
Landon said she always looks forward to returning home to Brownwood.
“My heart will always be in Texas,” she said. “I remember the day I got the call about the historical plaque. I really couldn’t take it all in. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and then couldn’t believe the honor we were being given. I just starting crying and still do when I think about the plaque being at Howard Payne long after Ray and I are gone. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways and I am grateful beyond any words I could put on paper. I wish with all my heart my parents could be there. They are so important to the ‘Hey Paula’ story.”
Hildebrand is also excited to return to his alma mater.
“The Bible says all good things come from God, and the people at Howard Payne and ‘Hey Paula’ were and are good things,” said Hildebrand. “Why would I not want to return to such a good memory?”
The historical marker will be unveiled at the university’s Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet at 6 p.m. on October 25, a ticketed event during which several HPU honorees will be recognized.
Cobbler on the Campus, a dessert social, will follow the banquet at 7:30 p.m. and the concert featuring Paul and Paula will begin at 9 p.m. at HPU’s Muse Mall and Plaza, in the center of campus. Also performing is Holly Tucker, a 2012 contestant on NBC’s The Voice. Admission to the concert is free and the community is encouraged to attend.
A complete schedule of Homecoming events and other details may be found online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming. For more information, contact HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006.
Photo cutline: HPU alumni Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson Landon, known around the world as Paul and Paula, are pictured at the height of their fame in the early 1960s.