News Archives: Guy D. Newman Honors Academy

Howard Payne University graduate Isaac Sommers prepares for Harvard Law School

Isaac Sommers photo for releaseBROWNWOOD – June 4, 2018 – Months before graduating from Howard Payne University in the spring of 2018, Isaac Sommers was already readying himself for the next step in his academic career.

He graduated May 5 from HPU with a double major in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy, and social science with an emphasis in jurisprudence.

Sommers was informed of his acceptance to Harvard Law School in March. He said he is quite excited about pursuing his unique opportunity this fall.

“Harvard Law School has plenty of resources and many areas of focus in terms of what is available to study, which will open a lot of doors for me,” said Sommers.

He said his educational path has been influenced through the instruction he has received at HPU.

“I’m interested in going into public service and working in government,” said Sommers. “The Honors Academy is very oriented toward people who want to go that route. The focus on civic leadership and public policy offered in the Honors Academy are two things that are very much related to public service.”

Dr. Matthew McNiece, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy director and associate professor of history and government, said that Sommers has been an excellent student in the Honors Academy.

“We’re incredibly proud of Isaac’s accomplishments both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. McNiece. “He is a tremendous example of the Honors Academy’s motto, ‘Facing the Future with Faith and Knowledge,’ and we are eager to see how God continues to use him for great things both at Harvard and beyond.”

During his time at HPU, Sommers was very active in campus activities and student leadership roles. He was particularly involved in Student Government (SGA), serving as a freshman class senator in fall 2014, sophomore class presiding senator from fall 2015 through spring 2016, SGA vice president from fall 2016 through spring 2017 and SGA president from fall 2017 through spring 2018.

Sommers was also the captain of the Moot Court team, was the vice president of Gamma Beta Phi national honors and service society and participated in Student Speaker Bureau for several years.

“Through his involvement in SGA, Isaac has faithfully served as an advocate for HPU students and the entire HPU community,” said Dr. Magen Bunyard, vice president of student life and dean of students. “His love for the Lord, commitment to learning, sense of humor and concern for others have positively influenced our campus.”

His alma mater has also had a personal impact on Sommers.

“I started off much more introverted than I am now, though I still consider myself a pretty strong introvert,” he said. “HPU gave me the opportunity to come out of my shell in that sense and embrace the community that it has, because there really is a great community here.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Recent HPU graduate Isaac Sommers is set to attend Harvard Law School in the fall.

HPU Sumners Scholars attend public policy lecture by Alan M. Dershowitz

BROWNWOOD – May 23, 2018 – Four students from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently attended a public policy lecture through the Institute for Policy Innovation. Alan M. Dershowitz, acclaimed civil liberties attorney, spoke on the topic “The Constitution: Rights and Wrongs” as part of the IPI’s Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series.

Students attending the lecture were Rachel Hughes, senior from Llano; Tyler Olin, junior from Howe; Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne; and Rachel White, senior from Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

HPU Sumners Scholars are selected for the competitive four-semester program after an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation. The foundation provides a $7,500-per-semester stipend for its participating students to be used for tuition, fees, books or room and board. Additionally, the students are invited to attend annual leadership and policy analysis conferences, such as this one, to supplement their learning.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.

“The Sumners Foundation is committed to promoting programs that increase understanding of civic responsibility and personal potential which is of great interest and importance to faculty and students in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of the Honors Academy and chair and professor of history and government. “We’re very thankful that our students have opportunities such as these through the Sumners Foundation.”

More information about the Academy and the Sumners program may be found at www.hputx.edu/academy and www.hputx.edu/sumners, respectively.

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Three HPU seniors honored at annual Sumners Scholars Banquet

Sumners Scholars graduates 2018BROWNWOOD – May 21, 2018 – Three graduating seniors from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were honored during the recent Sumners Scholars Banquet. The students, who were selected during their junior year as Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholars, were each awarded a plaque and a copy of the book “The Wisdom of Hatton W. Sumners and The Sumners Foundation Scholarships.”

Honored for completing four semesters as Sumners Scholars were Rachel Hughes of Llano, Isaac Sommers of Boerne and Rachel White of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The students also took the opportunity to express gratitude for the opportunities provided to them by the foundation.

The highly competitive and prestigious Sumners Scholar program offers students the opportunity to attend special lectures, seminars and conferences featuring world-renowned leaders from both public and private sectors. It also provides a generous scholarship of $7,500 per semester for two years. Students from the Honors Academy are selected following an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.

“We’re very thankful for the Sumners Foundation and its continued support of HPU and its students,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy.

For more information about the Sumners Scholars program at HPU, visit www.hputx.edu/sumners.

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Cutline: Three HPU students were honored during the university’s annual Sumners Scholars Banquet. Left to right: Rachel White, Rachel Hughes and Isaac Sommers.

HPU honors students and alumni for national success in Moot Court

McNiece and Ellis with Moot Court National ChampsBROWNWOOD – April 16, 2018 – The Board of Directors for Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy held its regular meeting and luncheon recently, during which a resolution was read honoring four individuals for national success in Moot Court.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of the Honors Academy and chair and professor of history and government, presented framed copies of the resolution to HPU’s Moot Court national champions. Receiving the honor were students Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, as well as 2002 HPU graduates Lorianna (Anderson) Kelley and Rob Welker. Kelley now serves on HPU’s faculty as assistant professor of government and Moot Court adviser.

In 1993, HPU was a founding member of the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association. Kelley and Welker were named national champions for Oral Advocacy in 2002, and Hahn and Sommers were Brief Writing national champions in January 2018.

“HPU’s Moot Court program has enhanced the traditional and experiential education of well over 200 students since its inception,” said Dr. McNiece. “We’re proud to recognize the remarkable achievements of our past and present Moot Court students.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU recently honored four individuals for national success in Moot Court. Left to right: Dr. Matthew McNiece, Jordan Hahn, Lorianna Kelley, Rob Welker, Isaac Sommers and Dr. Bill Ellis.

HPU Model United Nations team dominates Germany conference

HPU Munster AwardsBROWNWOOD – April 16, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Model United Nations team won six awards at the 2018 Münster University International Model United Nations conference, more than any other team in attendance. The conference was held recently in Münster, Germany, with more than 200 student delegates representing 40 nations.

Model United Nations takes current world issues and asks students, who represent various countries as delegates, to try to solve them through diplomatic means. Students learn the art of diplomacy through caucusing, writing position papers and presenting in formal settings, all while following the model of the United Nations. The theme of this year’s conference was “Might Makes Right? Challenging Power and Privilege.”

Bringing home awards for HPU were Lainee Hasty, senior from Runaway Bay, representing South Africa on the United Nations Environmental Assembly; Caleb Kostreva, junior from Clifton, Colorado, representing Kuwait on the UN Security Council; Morgan Andie McCoy, junior from Whitehouse, representing India on United Nations Women Council; Emma Reed, junior from Kennedale, representing the Russian Federation on the UN Security Council; Penny Stehlik, sophomore from Round Rock, representing the Russian Federation on the 4th General Assembly: The Special Political and Decolonization Committee; and Jessica Swonger, junior from Midway, Arkansas, representing El Salvador on the Economic and Social Council.

Hasty, Kostreva and McCoy were each named Outstanding Delegate, while Reed, Stehlik and Swonger received Best Position Paper awards. Also representing HPU were Alex Bingham, junior from Bridge City; Jessica Catlett, senior from Alleyton; Joshua Dykes, senior from Mount Pleasant; and Charles Lewis, sophomore from Boerne.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, associate professor of psychology and chair of HPU’s Department of Psychology and Family Studies, advises the team.

“I am very excited that HPU’s Model United Nations team is bringing strength and expertise to the world stage,” he said. “Six of our 10 delegates won awards, including taking the top two honors on the Security Council. All of our delegates should be proud as we also were able to humbly spread the Good News far and wide.”

Kostreva and Reed led the HPU team as co-delegate and head delegate, respectively.

“As co-delegate for the HPU MUN team, I am so proud of all our delegates and the immense effort put into the conference,” Kostreva said. “So much of our success is because of Emma’s incredible leadership, and I know I speak for the entire team in saying this. While we brought home six awards, we also saw success in other ways, including having one delegate compete excellently in a Spanish-speaking committee!”

Reed also praised team members for their preparation and effort.

“I’m incredibly proud of and thankful for the hard work that this team put into preparing for this conference,” she said. “They all put in hours of research and represented HPU well. This was my sixth MUN trip, and it was possibly the most fun because I was able to travel and compete with a great group of friends! We go abroad so that we can expand our worldviews and meet people from around the world, and that was definitely the focus of this team. The awards are definitely an exciting aspect of it, but I’m more proud of the hard work that was put in by everybody.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team brought home six awards from the 2018 Münster University International Model United Nations conference. Left to right: Penny Stehlik, Caleb Kostreva, Jessica Swonger, Lainee Hasty, Morgan Andie McCoy and Emma Reed.

Jessica Catlett has found a place to learn and grow at HPU

Jessica CatlettBROWNWOOD – April 2, 2018 – When one of her high school teachers recommended she look at Howard Payne University, Jessica Catlett was hesitant at first.

She was initially nervous about leaving home in Alleyton to attend college more than four hours away in Brownwood. However, she decided to follow her teacher’s advice. She scheduled a visit and quickly knew where she would be going to college.

“Immediately, I just loved HPU so much,” she said. “I felt peace here. When I arrived to visit, the campus felt like home. Every person we met was welcoming and kind.”

The friendly atmosphere that HPU exudes is one reason Catlett has enjoyed her time at HPU so much. For her, the faculty have contributed significantly to the appeal of HPU.

“The professors here want their students to succeed so much,” she said. “Because they want us to succeed, they do everything possible to help us. That is what makes HPU so unique. Our professors care genuinely for us.”

Catlett, now a junior, is a double major in social work and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. When she began college, she felt she might not be prepared for the challenge of the Honors Academy and that it would not fit her academic goals.

The multidisciplinary honors program was founded as the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom in 1962 under the guidance of its current namesake, Dr. Guy D. Newman, HPU president from 1955 to 1973. The Honors Academy’s aim is to equip intellectually gifted students with knowledge to excel as citizens and a proficient grasp of political systems to become leaders in their communities. Twenty-five students are admitted to the Honors Academy per year.

“Going into the Honors Academy, I was super intimidated,” she said. “I was expecting to find many political science majors and felt I wouldn’t fit in with my major. But, there are actually a wide variety of other students with other majors in the Honors Academy.”

According to Catlett, the curriculum of the Honors Academy has been complimentary to her other classes and has benefitted her personally.

“Some people think the Honors Academy is just for people who want to go into politics. It’s really not,” she said. “It teaches us how our government operates and how to be a good citizen.”

In addition to in-class studies, there are many other opportunities provided by the Honors Academy. One such opportunity is the Sumners Scholar Program, from which Catlett herself benefits.

The Sumners Scholar Program is administered by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation to provide students displaying academic excellence, a sense of civic responsibility and leadership potential with an additional resource to supplement their education. The program includes a scholarship provided by the Sumners Foundation. Each year, up to twelve students are nominated from HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy to take part in the program.

As a Sumners Scholar, Catlett attends leadership and political science conferences facilitated by the Sumners Foundation throughout the year. She said the Sumners program and the curriculum in the Honors Academy have helped to bring her two seemingly unrelated majors together.

“If I ever wanted to become an advocate,” she said, “the Honors Academy and the Sumners program are really teaching me ways to do that better, and learn about policies not just related to social work, but also ways that I can help people through policies.”

In addition to her involvement in the Honors Academy, she is a part of the Social Work Club, serves on the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team, is a member of honors organization Gamma Beta Phi, participates in Model UN and works as a resident assistant in Veda Hodge Hall, the women’s residence hall on the HPU campus.

Catlett spoke highly of the benefits of being active in organizations at HPU to students and the impact that organizations have had on her.

“Organizations here are a great way to make friends and help me to become invested in HPU even more because of all the great things we are doing,” she said. “When you are involved on campus, you enjoy your experience more and it is a way for you to serve others.”

Catlett’s time at HPU has been a significant influence on her life. When choosing to attend college, she was concerned about not finding where she fit. However, at HPU she has managed to do that well, growing personally in the process.

Looking back on her time in college, she named specific areas of her life in which she has seen growth through the years.

“Coming to HPU and knowing it is a safe place where I wouldn’t get lost has helped me mature a lot, boosted my confidence and really helped solidify who I am in Christ.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Jessica Catlett of Alleyton has found HPU to be a great place to study and belong.

HPU Moot Court students clinch national championship title

Hahn and Sommers National ChampsBROWNWOOD – February 1, 2018 – Howard Payne University students Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, were recently named National Brief Writing Champions during the American Moot Court Association’s national competition at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law. Hahn and Sommers secured HPU’s second national championship title in the history of collegiate Moot Court with the previous title occurring in 2002.

Moot Court is a competition during which students participate in the preparation and arguing of cases in front of judges, designed to simulate argument before the United States Supreme Court.

In addition to writing the top brief, HPU’s team was ranked ninth in the oral component of the tournament placing in the top three percent in the country. Additionally, each student was recognized as a top orator in the tournament, with Hahn finishing as the 13th top speaker and Sommers finishing as the 20th top speaker.

Lorianna Kelley, HPU’s assistant professor of government, advises the Moot Court team.

“This tournament tops off an incredible year for HPU, with several wins, top orator awards and countless hours of hard work behind us,” she said. “It also is a great way to finish the collegiate career of our one graduating senior on the team, Isaac Sommers. He has advanced to nationals every year of competition, so it’s great to go out with a win!”

Hahn said it was an immense blessing to have had such success at the national championship tournament.

“I would never have expected to be at this point in only my second year of Moot Court,” she said. “I’m thankful for my fantastic partner and my coach who made it possible. Isaac and I have worked hard all year to prepare for this tournament, so it feels amazing to have that recognized and bring home a win for HPU.”

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Cutline: HPU Moot Court competitors Jordan Hahn (left) and Isaac Sommers recently secured the university’s second national championship title in the history of collegiate Moot Court.

HPU Model United Nations wins Distinguished Delegation Award at Seattle conference

MUN team in SeattleBROWNWOOD – December 11, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently competed at the Northwest Model United Nations Conference in Seattle, Washington, winning the Distinguished Delegation Award, second place for overall team performance.

Model United Nations takes current world issues and asks students, who represent various countries as delegates, to try to solve them through diplomatic means. Students learn the art of diplomacy through caucusing, writing position papers and presenting in formal settings, all while following the model of the United Nations.

In her role as the Delegate of Japan, Lainee Hasty, junior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and psychology major from Runaway Bay, won Outstanding Delegate. This is the highest award achievable on the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development committee.

Emma Reed, junior Honors Academy and family studies major from Arlington, serves as HPU’s head delegate, while Joel Justice, senior Honors Academy and history major from Brownwood, serves as co-delegate. Other HPU representatives at the conference included Alex Bingham, sophomore Bible major from Bridge City; Jessica Catlett, junior Honors Academy and social work major from Alleyton; Joshua Dykes, senior Honors Academy and youth ministry major from Mount Pleasant; Caleb Kostreva, junior Honors Academy and social science global studies major from Clifton, Colorado; Charles Lewis, sophomore Honors Academy and social science jurisprudence major from Boerne; Andie McCoy, junior Honors Academy and social studies composite major from Whitehouse; and Penny Stehlik, sophomore Honors Academy, English and social science global studies major from Round Rock.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, associate professor of psychology and chair of HPU’s Department of Psychology and Family Studies, serves as adviser for the Model United Nations team.

“Given the need for diplomacy in our current climate, I am very excited that HPU is building the next generation of ambassadors for peace,” he said. “Emma Reed and Joel Justice have done an excellent job leading their team to another victory. Lainee Hasty, just as she did last spring in Milan, Italy, took another Best Delegate Award. I am proud of everyone.”

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Cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently competed at the Northwest Model United Nations Conference in Seattle, Washington. Back row, from left: Alex Bingham, Charles Lewis, Joshua Dykes and Jessica Catlett. Front row, from left: Penny Stehlik, Andie McCoy, Joel Justice, Emma Reed, Lainee Hasty and Caleb Kostreva.

HPU Moot Court ends season undefeated, prepares for nationals

HPU Moot Court for webBROWNWOOD – December 6, 2017 – With wins at two final tournaments, Howard Payne University’s Moot Court team ends its fall 2017 season undefeated. The team’s win at the last tournament of the fall secured HPU’s spot in the American Moot Court Association’s national competition to be held in January at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law.

“HPU will be one of the top-seeded teams at nationals and well set for success after an undefeated season,” said Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government and Moot Court adviser.

Teammates Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, were named tournament champions at the St. Mary’s School of Law Invitational Tournament in October as well as at the Texas A&M University School of Law Regional Tournament in November.

At the October tournament, Hahn and Sommers defeated a team from Baylor University to win the tournament in the finals and teammates Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, and Bailey Myler, junior from Brownwood, were named octofinalists. HPU competitors were also recognized for their individual speaking skills. Myler was the overall seventh-best speaker, Hahn placed second and Sommers was the top speaker at the tournament.

Thirty-one teams competed at the regional tournament in November, representing 13 schools from across the country. HPU faced multiple schools, including the United States Air Force Academy, Texas A&M University, Sam Houston State University and the University of Louisiana. Hahn and Sommers again defeated a team from Baylor University to be named tournament champions.

In addition to winning the tournament, Sommers was the seventh overall speaker and Hahn was the ninth. Harris and Myler attended the tournament and were in the top 50% for speaker points.

“The teams have worked so hard this year, refining arguments and practicing multiple times each week,” said Kelley. “Once again, their hard work has paid off, and they continue to impress lawyers and judges from across the state.”

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Cutline: Howard Payne University’s Moot Court team ended its fall 2017 season undefeated. Left to right: Justin Harris, Isaac Sommers, Jordan Hahn and Bailey Myler.

HPU Moot Court wins first tournament of the season

Hahn and Sommers with judges for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2017 – Howard Payne University students dominated at the first Moot Court invitational tournament of the 2017-2018 season. Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, were declared tournament champions at the recent St. Mary’s University School of Law tournament in San Antonio.

In addition to Hahn and Sommers, the team of Bailey Myler, junior from Brownwood, and Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, finished the first day in the top eight. Hahn and Sommers advanced to semifinals then finals, winning the championship in a 3-0 decision.

“I am so proud of the hard work these four have already put in this semester,” said Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government and Moot Court adviser. “It’s a promising start to what I know will be a very successful competition season.”

HPU Moot Court Teams for webThis win is the most recent in a long series of victories for HPU’s Moot Court program. In the spring semester, the team successfully defended its position as one of the best in the state by winning the tournament at Southern Methodist University. At the end of the semester, six HPU students were among an elite group to receive year-end awards from the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association. Five HPU students made the list of TUMCA’s 2017 Top 20 Orators while two HPU teams were among the five best teams in the state.

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Cutlines: HPU students Jordan Hahn, second from left, and Isaac Sommers, fourth from left, are pictured with the Moot Court judges upon being named tournament champions.

HPU Moot Court students dominated at the recent tournament at St. Mary’s University School of Law. Left to right: Isaac Sommers, Jordan Hahn, Bailey Myler and Justin Harris.