News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU Moot Court students receive additional awards for spring semester

BROWNWOOD – July 21, 2017 – Six Howard Payne University 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.

Receiving orator awards were Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, second place; Jordan Hahn, freshman from Burnet, eighth place; Jakob Morgan, senior from Blanket, 13th place; Bailey Myler, sophomore from Brownwood, 14th place; and Rebeca Puente, May 2017 graduate from Waskom, 20th place. Puente and Sommers were named the fourth-best team in the state and Hahn and Andie McCoy, sophomore from Whitehouse, were named the fifth-best team.

The awards were announced following HPU’s stellar Moot Court season. Among the top designations for HPU Moot Court this year, Sommers was named the fifth overall speaker out of 786 competitors at the American Moot Court Association Invitational National Championships held in January at Florida’s Stetson College of Law. Additionally, Sommers and Puente advanced to out-rounds, placing in the top 16 of 80 teams. For written arguments submitted prior to that tournament, Myler and Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, placed sixth and Puente and Sommers placed seventh. Puente and Sommers were additionally the champions at the Southern Methodist University tournament in March, and three of HPU’s five teams were among the top 10.

“For years, HPU Moot Court students have proven themselves to be the best in the state,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

Dr. McNiece expressed his appreciation to the students and to the team’s adviser, Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

“Professor Kelley is a wonderful coach and mentor to our Moot Court students,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of what they accomplished this year and in the past several years. I look forward to what’s to come.”

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Four selected as HPU Sumners Scholars

HPU Sumners Scholars 2017 for webBROWNWOOD – June 2, 2017 – Four students from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were recently selected as Sumners Scholars. Acceptance into the Sumners Scholar Program, created by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation, is based on an assessment of academic excellence, a sense of civic responsibility and leadership potential.

This year’s recipients are Jessica Catlett, sophomore from Alleyton; Augusta Johnson, junior from Gatesville; Tyler Olin, sophomore from Howe; and Emma Reed, junior from Kennedale.

Students 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.

Sumners Scholars are also provided with opportunities to attend annual leadership and policy analysis conferences to supplement their learning and expand their growth potential. While receiving the scholarship, students are required to maintain a 3.25 GPA and be in good standing with the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“The Sumners Scholars Program is an amazing benefit for our students in terms of both financial assistance and academic opportunities,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy. “We’re grateful to the Sumners Foundation for its ongoing support of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and its initiatives.”

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

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Cutline: Four students from HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were named Sumner Scholars. Left to right: Tyler Olin, Augusta Johnson, Emma Reed and Jessica Catlett.

HPU alumnus honored for heroism

Eric VillanuebaBROWNWOOD – June 1, 2017 – Corporal Eric “Villy” Villanueba, a 2014 Howard Payne University graduate, was recently honored by the Garland Police Department for taking heroic, life-saving actions after rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle.

Cpl. Villanueba, then a deputy in the Hood County Sheriff’s Office, was on his way home from work last November when he witnessed the single-vehicle accident in Garland. A car went over a bridge, landed on its hood and immediately caught on fire.

“It was about two or three in the morning and I was the only one around,” said Cpl. Villanueba. “I sprinted down the hill praying that there wasn’t more than one person in the car because I knew it would be hard to get everyone out.”

As the flames were near the front of the vehicle, Cpl. Villanueba used his baton to break the back window and a knife to cut through the deployed airbags. Unable to see clearly, he called out but received no response.

“I crawled into the car and saw someone in the driver’s seat, hanging from the seatbelt,” he said. “She was unresponsive and bleeding severely.”

As the flames grew closer, Cpl. Villanueba cut the woman’s seatbelt and began to drag her toward the back window. Others had arrived on scene by that time and helped him pull the woman from the car.

“By God’s grace, it was perfect timing,” he said. “The car engulfed in flames as soon as we got out.”

Cpl. Villanueba, now an officer with Palmer Police Department, credits his training for his quick actions.

“We’re trained to do things like that even if our lives are at risk,” he said. “My only thought was to save as many people as I could.”

He is thankful for education he received through HPU’s criminal justice program.

“Howard Payne gave me a servant’s heart,” he said. “Professors like Lynn Humeniuk teach you how to serve others and be there for others. HPU is where I rededicated my life to God.”

Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program, said she was not surprised to learn that Cpl. Villanueba saved a life.

“He was born to serve and protect,” she said. “As an undergraduate on the HPU campus, Villy was popular with faculty and students and he was a leader who continually gave above and beyond what was needed to get a job completed. I have seen him several times since November and only learned last week from someone else that he saved a woman’s life. He is humble in that way, and a true professional in every sense of the word. I am very proud of this HPU graduate from the criminal justice program, and I know that God will continue to use him in a mighty way.”

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Cutline: Corporal Eric “Villy” Villanueba, a 2014 HPU graduate, was recently honored by the Garland Police Department for his heroic, life-saving actions.

HPU honors criminal justice interns

criminal justice internsBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s criminal justice program recently ended the spring 2017 semester by recognizing 19 students for the completion of internships.

The students completed 150 hours of service which reflected three credit hours toward their majors in criminal justice. Internships included working with “at risk” students and adults at local, state and federal agencies as well as positions with law enforcement agencies and many other service organizations that help students prepare for future careers in the field of criminal justice.

“These students gave 150 hours to the agencies where they served and in the process gained valuable hands-on experience in the career fields they have chosen to pursue,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program. “I am always very grateful to all the agencies that accept our interns as they guide them to become professionals in the field.”

Those recognized included Rebecca Blohm of Midlothian, intern with the Ron Jackson Unit; Jerry Bromley of Santa Anna, intern with the San Saba Probation Department; Balentin Carranco of Georgetown, intern with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Shanique Davis-Campbell of Savannah, Georgia, intern with the Savannah County Sheriff’s Office; Jordan Easterling of Junction, intern with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; Roberto Godinez of El Paso, intern with the El Paso Police Department; James Hair of Brownwood, intern with the City of Early; Brady Hardin of Fort Worth, intern with HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Jack Judd of Brownwood, intern with HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Taylor Kent of Blanket, intern with Haynes Law Firm; Daniel Meza of Brownwood, intern with the Boys & Girls Club of Brown County; Kyle Ramon of Floresville, intern with the Brownwood Police Department; Stephen Skelton of Brownwood, intern with Brownwood Independent School District; Serayah Smith of Fredericksburg, intern with the Fredericksburg Police Department; Wesley Smith of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, intern with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Michelle Teague of Gorman, intern with Hope Home Ministry; Niki Terway of Brownwood, intern with New Horizons Ranch; Blake Wynn of Rockwall, intern with HPU’s Department of Public Safety; and Andres Zambrano of Brownwood, intern with Johnson Law Firm.

Internship supervisors included Deputy Pete Bastardo, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Chassidy Carroll, Hope Home Ministry; Officer Kyle Coker, San Saba Probation Department; Officer David Creed, HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Assistant Chief James Fuller, Brownwood Police Department; Mayor Stephen Haynes, Haynes Law Firm; Jason Johnson, Johnson Law Firm; Lauren Jones, Ron Jackson Unit; Larry McConn, City of Early; Lee McHorse, New Horizons Ranch; Assistant Chief Bob Pacatte, HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Maria Suarez, El Paso Police Department; Chief Steven Wetz, Fredericksburg Police Department; Danny Willingham, Boys & Girls Club of Brown County; and Captain Malcolm Wilkes, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Also in attendance was Sheriff Vance Hill, Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Applications for admission are still being accepted for the fall 2017 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 criminal justice interns are pictured with field supervisors and HPU faculty. Left to right: Officer David Creed, Chief Paul Lilly, Blake Wynn, Jack Judd, Sheriff Vance Hill, Michelle Teague, Deputy Pete Bastardo, Wesley Smith, Daniel Meza, Kyle Ramon, Brady Hardin, James Hair, Taylor Kent, Lynn Humeniuk and Assistant Chief James Fuller. Interns not pictured are Rebecca Blohm, Jerry Bromley, Shanique Campbell-Davis, Balentin Carranco, Jordan Easterling, Roberto Godinez, Stephen Skelton, Serayah Smith, Niki Terway and Andres Zambrano.

HPU’s Project Cinderella provides prom dresses for more than 50 area high schoolers

Spruill with prom dressBROWNWOOD – May 4, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Club recently sponsored Project Cinderella, providing many young women from area high schools with like-new prom dresses. The club distributed more than 50 dresses at the annual event.

The Social Work Club created a boutique experience for the young women and their families, complete with dresses, music and a fitting room. The project was housed inside HPU’s Girling Center for Social Justice.

“As a club, we love knowing that every girl who comes in and gets a dress gets to have her Cinderella moment,” said Sierra Spruill, junior from Ranger. Spruill serves as president of the Social Work Club. “Imagining a girl not attending prom because she couldn’t afford or find a dress makes my heart ache. Every girl deserves the chance to go to prom.”

Applications for admission are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to 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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Photo cutline: Sierra Spruill, president of HPU’s Social Work Club, displays a dress at the club’s annual Project Cinderella event.

HPU Model United Nations wins five awards at Milan conference

MilMUN AwardsBROWNWOOD – April 27, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Model United Nations team recently participated in the Milan International Model United Nations conference in Italy, winning four out of an available six Best Delegate awards and an Honorable Mention.

MUN takes current world issues and asks students, who represent the different 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.

Best Delegate awards were given to Jaclyn Bonner, senior from Lytle, representing Italy on the European Council; Braxton Clark, senior from Southlake, representing the Republic of China on the League of Nations; Caleb Kostreva, sophomore from Clifton, Colorado, representing El Salvador on the Human Rights Council; and Lainee Hasty, junior from Runaway Bay, representing India on the Social and Economic Council. Joshua Dykes, senior from Mount Pleasant, received an Honorable Mention for his representation of Argentina on the Social and Economic Council.

“Everyone put in so much hard work in preparation for the conference, and it definitely paid off,” said Emma Reed, junior from Arlington, who served as head delegate of the HPU MUN team. “We all learned great lessons about other cultures and world politics.”

Additional participants included Reed, representing China on the Security Council; co-delegate Cody Perrin, senior from Eastland, representing France on the League of Nations; Joel Justice, junior from Brownwood, representing the United Kingdom on the League of Nations; Penny Stehlik, freshman from Round Rock, representing China on the Human Rights Council; and Jessica Swonger, sophomore from Midway, Arkansas, representing Spain on the European Council.

“I am proud of the HPU MUN team for their efforts at the Milan conference,” said Dr. Kevin Kelley, team sponsor and assistant professor of organizational psychology. “Not only did they represent Howard Payne University well, but they did so through humble diplomacy. Emma Reed, HPU’s head delegate, led our team admirably.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to 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: Five HPU students received awards at the Milan International Model United Nations conference in Italy. Left to right: Caleb Kostreva, Lainee Hasty, Joshua Dykes, Jaclyn Bonner and Braxton Clark.

HPU’s Psi Chi inducts six new members

Psi Chi group 2017BROWNWOOD – April 26, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society recently inducted six new members for 2017.

The purpose of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellence in scholarship of its individual members in all fields, particularly in psychology, and to advance the science of psychology.

This year’s inductees included seniors Michelle Teague from Gorman and J Bailey from Gunter, and juniors Devin Caraway from Cisco, Jaime Dodson from Cisco, Katie O’Conner from Granbury and Jordan Pitman from Bangs.

“At HPU, we are delighted when our students excel and it is always a privilege to recognize their outstanding achievements and induct them in HPU’s Psi Chi chapter,” said Dr. Jennifer Mobley, chapter advisor and assistant professor of psychology and family studies. “We look forward to how each of these new inductees will enrich our chapter and the university.”

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Humanities at 325-649-8201.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to 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: HPU’s Psi Chi inducted six new members for 2017. Pictured from left are Dr. Keith Mask, chair and professor of psychology; Dr. Jennifer Mobley, chapter advisor and assistant professor of psychology and family studies; Amy Baskin, chapter secretary; Michelle Teague; Katie O’Conner; Lexie Farar; Jordan Pitman; Jaime Dodson; Devin Caraway; Brittony Walker, chapter president; Aryn Morris; Katie Straach, chapter vice president; and Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of the School of Humanities, chair and professor of English.

HPU criminal justice students to take part in mock crime scene

BROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s criminal justice program will conduct exercises as part of its Criminal Justice Investigations class on Monday, April 24, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. During this time, there will be crime scene tape, emergency vehicles and other normal police operations one would expect to see at a major crime scene. The event will be held at HPU’s campus location at the corner of Austin and Coggin Avenues in Brownwood.

Dr. Paul Lilly, chief of HPU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and assistant professor of criminal justice, said the community should not be alarmed at the proceedings.

“This is a staged event to help the students learn the many processes involved with investigating a crime scene,” he said.

The HPU DPS will again join the criminal justice program and its students in helping make the crime scene as realistic as possible. In addition to hands-on experience for the students, the DPS uses this scenario exercise each year to aid in providing the DPS officers with regular ongoing in-service training to help them remain current with modern technologies and procedures.

For more information, contact HPU’s Department of Public Safety at 325-649-8609.

Social work trip prepares HPU students to be voices for the unheard

CLC Advocacy DayBROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – A recent trip to the Texas State Capitol provided several Howard Payne University social work and family studies majors with ongoing training in their quests to become advocates for society’s marginalized populations. The students took part in the CLC Advocacy Day hosted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

The Christian Life Commission presented several sessions during the conference, addressing topics such as the financial exploitation of the poor, immigration, education and the foster care system.

Those who attended the conference are students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Programs, Policies and Issues course. The class researched predatory lending practices prior to the trip and prepared talking points for conversations with lawmakers. While at the Capitol, each student went to the office of his or her hometown representative and spoke with whomever was available.

“The purpose of such trips is for students to become familiar with advocacy and the legislative process,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology. “I think most people do not realize how responsive our state representatives are to people from their districts.”

Abbey Beardsley, a junior from Fort Worth, was surprised that her representative’s chief of staff was eager to speak with her.

“He was kind, well-spoken and very attentive to what we had to say,” she said. “He answered our questions and wrote down notes to share with the representative when he was back in the office. It surprised me that he then asked us about our opinions on different issues and really cared about what we had to say.”

Beardsley said she learned how simple it is to advocate for her beliefs.

“It is intimidating to go and speak your mind to people in power, but they genuinely want to hear the thoughts of the people,” she said. “I learned that I can share my faith and Christ’s love, even in the political arena.”
Additional HPU students on the trip included Becca Blohm, senior from Midlothian; Jacob Escobar, junior from Brownwood; Elijah Garces, junior from Floresville; Karina Garcia, senior from Brownwood; Shelby Harrison, junior from Abilene; Stephanie Kerby, senior from May; Jacey Martinez, junior from San Saba; Morgan Lacy, junior from Early; Katelyn O’Conner, junior from Granbury; Sierra Spruill, junior from Ranger; Sydney Spencer, senior from Georgetown; Anna Vallejo, junior from Brownwood; and Jacqueline Vega, senior from San Antonio.

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Cutline: Several HPU students recently participated in in the CLC Advocacy Day hosted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. Present in the photo are HPU faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as BGCT staff.

HPU honors John Nickols with Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal

Nickols familyBROWNWOOD – April 18, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy awarded John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science and special assistant to the athletic director, the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal at a recent luncheon held on campus. Nickols, who has served at HPU for 22 years, will retire in May.

The MacArthur Freedom Medal honors individuals who share Dr. Guy D. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, Western civilization, free enterprise and civic engagement. HPU’s Honors Academy, formerly the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Newman, who served as president of the university from 1955 to 1973.

In addition to teaching and coaching basketball at HPU, Nickols’ storied career includes time spent as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and 25 years as a high school teacher and coach. He has additionally served as a Sunday School teacher and as a board member for the Brownwood Independent School District.

Nickols received the medal from Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy. Also present were Nickols’ wife, Barbara, and son Eric, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy.

“John Nickols is most deserving of this recognition,” said Dr. Ellis. “It’s been an honor to serve alongside him at HPU and to witness the tremendous impact he’s had on the lives of his students and everyone with whom he’s come in contact.”

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Cutline: John Nickols, center, was recently awarded HPU’s Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal. He is pictured with his son Eric and wife, Barbara.