News Archives: Student Life

HPU students and employees paint bowls for Good Samaritan Ministries

Bowl Painting Feb. 2018.1BROWNWOOD – February 28, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Office of Student Life recently hosted employees and students for a bowl-painting activity for Good Samaritan Ministries’ Empty Bowls Project. The annual Empty Bowls event is slated to be held April 5 at the Brownwood Coliseum. Pictured from left is sophomore Lillie McDonald from Tuscola, senior Titus Brown from White Castle, Louisiana, and freshman Brooke Wischnewsky from Spring.


HPU Baptist Student Ministry leaders attend state summit

HPU BSM student leaders 2018BROWNWOOD – January 22, 2018 – Three student leaders from Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) recently attended the annual Texas BSM Winter Summit at Baylor University in Waco. Student leaders from university BSMs across Texas came together as the BSM State Lead Team for the summit.

Students who exhibit leadership qualities within their BSM are chosen from each university. Seniors Karli Conrad of Katy, Joseph Flanigan of Round Rock and Jordan Pitman of Bangs were the leaders chosen to attend the summit for HPU.

“Texas BSM Winter Summit was challenging and powerful,” said Flanigan. “I came back with new ideas and renewed motivation to be missional on the HPU campus.”

Keith Platte, HPU’s BSM director, said the students got the opportunity to hear from speaker Caleb Crider, instructional design leader for the International Mission Board and co-author of “Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission.” Crider challenged the students to be leaders and disciple-makers on their home campuses. Conrad shared what she took away from Crider’s teaching.

“The Gospel must be shared through the unreached spaces just as much as the reached ones,” said Conrad. “There is beauty in schools coming together to share similarities and differences in how they approach this concept. I feel blessed to have attended.”

The students who attended received training on how to engage their campuses and culture. Participants also planned Texas BSM’s upcoming prayer event, “Abide,” a retreat for all Texas BSM students scheduled for February 2-3 at Highland Lakes Camp near Spicewood.

Also attending the Summit were HPU alumni Dylan Hughes ’17, BSM assistant at Texas A&M University-Commerce; Adam Jones ’17, BSM assistant at Rice University in Houston; and Hannah Williamson ’17, BSM assistant at HPU. All three alumni served as HPU’s BSM student leaders while students at HPU.

“I had an impactful and refreshing experience that has prepared me for the upcoming spring semester,” said Williamson.

Pitman commented that she brought home a lot from the Summit as well.

“This year’s Summit showed me the importance of discipleship during college,” Pitman said. “Our BSM at HPU seeks to help students know Christ and make Him known, and I pray that we continue that mission as we grow in our discipleship abilities. We don’t want the BSM to be known only for the events hosted but for the Christ-like attitude its leaders and members display.”

For more information about HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, contact Platte at or 325-649-8319.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 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


Cutline: Alumni and student leaders from HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry recently attended the State Lead Team Winter Summit at Baylor University in Waco. Giving the official HPU Yellow Jacket “Sting ’Em” sign are (left to right): senior Joseph Flanigan, student leader; Adam Jones ’17, HPU alumnus and BSM assistant at Rice University in Houston; senior Karli Conrad, student leader; Hannah Williamson ’17, alumna and BSM assistant at HPU; Dylan Hughes ’17, HPU alumnus and BSM assistant at Texas A&M University-Commerce; and senior Jordan Pitman, student leader.

HPU hosts annual Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser

Bene wheel spin for webBROWNWOOD – December 13, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s annual Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser recently raised more than $5,000 for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions. The event is sponsored by HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry.

Teams of male students, along with their personnel sponsors, grew their beards throughout the month of November while raising money for the organization which sends students from universities across Texas, including HPU, to mission fields around the world. Eleven HPU students have been interviewed to potentially serve as Go Now Missionaries during summer 2018.

The two teams that raised the least amount of money spun the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shaved in whichever style the wheel determined. The choices included stripes, half-beards, “No-Tee Goatees” and more.

Twenty-nine students and five personnel members participated in the fundraiser, raising $5,106.

Lehrer beard stripes for web“Mustache Wheel of Doom is a fun event and we look forward to it every year,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM. “We’re blessed to be able to support Go Now Missions and the people all over the world who are impacted by this ministry.”


Cutline: Junior Cole Bene reacts to his spin on HPU’s Mustache Wheel of Doom.

Freshman Jacob Lehrer smiles as stripes are shaven into his beard following HPU’s Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser.

HPU’s newly structured intramural sport program takes off on campus

Photo 1 - Sand volleyball game  BROWNWOOD – November 7, 2017 – Howard Payne University intramural sports have been a facet of student life on the university’s campus for many years. The program continues this year with a new coordinator, new sports and a new web-based management program.

Wes Curton, resident director for Jennings Hall, has taken on the role of intramural coordinator in addition to his current responsibilities at HPU. He joined the HPU staff in 2015 after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and youth leadership development from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. Curton enjoys intramural sports and, since becoming coordinator, looks for ways to refresh the existing intramural program and bring in even more participants.

Curton made the decision to use IMLeagues, which has been a positive experience for him and HPU. This web-based program gives the university the ability to set up online team registrations, schedule games and keep track of team stats and records. Participants and coordinators can also engage in the intramural community at HPU through the IMLeagues app on their smartphones or tablets.

Photo 2 - Wes explains intramurals“We are excited about the functionality that IMLeagues gives us,” said Curton. “So far, participation this year in intramurals has increased from previous years. For example, last season there were nine teams across two sports – ultimate frisbee and Spikeball. This season, there are 26 teams between volleyball and ping-pong.”

HPU faculty and staff are also welcome to participate in any intramural sport along with the students. In fact, Curton says he encourages more to do so. He also stated that the participation from faculty and staff in intramural sports helps bridge the gap between the students and the HPU employees and provides another good environment for personal growth for the students.

In keeping with the mission of HPU, the intramural program strives to provide a recreational program that will enable students to grow physically, spiritually and emotionally while encouraging sportsmanship and fair play.

Photo 3 - Spikeball game“Intramurals is a great component of HPU campus life and it is exciting to see the implementation of IMLeagues and new sports this year,” said Dr. Magen Bunyard, vice president for student life and dean of students. “I’m thankful for the capable and enthusiastic leadership of Wes Curton as he enhances our campus community by providing quality opportunities for student involvement.”

Throughout the school year, participants can choose to play flag football, Spikeball, sand volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, dodgeball, ping-pong and/or basketball as the intramural season for each sport arrives. More sports will be brought into the rotation each year as involvement and interest increase.

“I look forward to seeing HPU’s intramural community continue to grow as new sports are added and as students, faculty and staff catch the vision for involvement and community with each other,” said Curton. “Intramurals are a great way to do that and the students seem happy with the changes. In my opinion, if they are satisfied, then we are doing something right.”


Cutlines: 1. HPU students participate in intramural sand volleyball on campus.

2. Wes Curton, HPU resident director and intramural coordinator, gives the rules for an intramural sand volleyball games to current students.

3. HPU students and staff members compete in the intramural sport of Spikeball.

Rev. Tim Skaggs addresses HPU Chapel crowd

Tim Skaggs at HPU for webBROWNWOOD – October 25, 2017 – Rev. Tim Skaggs, pastor of Brownwood’s Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, spoke at Howard Payne University’s Chapel service Wednesday morning. Skaggs serves as an adjunct faculty member in kinesiology at HPU and his wife, Jamie, serves as university nurse.

“Don’t let this culture be your identity because this culture is flawed,” he told the audience. “This world will let you down. There’s only one who will not let you down – Jesus Christ.”

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Rev. Tim Skaggs speaks at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.

HPU announces 2017 Homecoming Court

HC Court 2017BROWNWOOD – October 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University has announced its 2017 Homecoming Court. The Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned this Friday, October 20, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are seniors Karli Conrad of Katy, Djimonii Jackson of Beaumont and Miranda Rice of Amarillo. Princess nominees are juniors Shelby Harrison of Abilene, Angelica Ramirez of Austin and Candace Stark of Midland.

Karli Conrad, the daughter of Christy McWilliams and Tim Conrad, is a marketing major. She is an intern for the Office of Student Life, chaplain for Phi Beta Lambda and co-director of the Jacket Journey Student Planning Committee. Additionally, she serves on the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team and as senior class senator for the Student Government Association. Her career aspirations are to work in the field of event coordination, specifically in regard to student activities at the collegiate level.

Djimonii Jackson, a business marketing major, is the daughter of Emanuel and Marsena Alexander and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Jackson. She serves as a senior class senator for the Student Government Association and as a resident assistant for HPU’s Veda Hodge Hall. Additionally, she is active with the Student Activities Council, is an honorary member of Chi Alpha Omega and plays on HPU’s women’s basketball team. She also served as a summer camp counselor at HPU. Upon graduating from HPU, she aspires to have a challenging and rewarding career that utilizes her knowledge and skills in marketing to further enhance the growth of a company.

Miranda Rice is the daughter of Michael and Tino Rice. She is a Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major with an additional major in chemistry with a biochemistry concentration. She is the president of Chi Alpha Omega and is active with the Student Activities Council and Beta Beta Beta. Additionally, she is a member of the HPU women’s soccer team. Upon graduating from HPU, she plans to attend dental school to become a pediatric dentist with an emphasis in international missions.

Shelby Harrison, the daughter of Kenneth and Kimberly Harrison, is a family studies major. She is active with the Delta Chi Rho sorority, serving as head of special events. Her career aspirations are to work with children and parents, preferably within the foster care or adoption system.

Angelica Ramirez, the daughter of Jesus Ramirez I and Kimberly Ramirez, is a biomedical science major and cross-cultural studies minor. She is the chaplain for Delta Chi Rho, a resident assistant for Veda Hodge Hall and the outreach intern at Brownwood’s Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. Her career aspirations are to be a missionary nurse in a foreign country, helping others both physically and spiritually.

Candace Stark, a family studies major, is the daughter of Shawn and Dovie Stark. She is active with Delta Chi Rho and the Student Activities Council and serves on the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team. Additionally, she is a member of the HPU women’s soccer team. Upon graduating from HPU, she aspires to serve as a family advocate with a specialty in ministry.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on Sul Ross State University on Saturday, October 21. The game begins at 4 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

For a complete list of Homecoming 2017 activities, visit


Cutline: Howard Payne University’s 2017 Homecoming Court includes (left to right) Candace Stark, Djimonii Jackson, Miranda Rice, Karli Conrad, Angelica Ramirez and Shelby Harrison.

HPU Chapel speaker urges Christians to show Christ-like hospitality

Nell Green HPU Chapel for webBROWNWOOD – September 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University held its weekly Chapel service Wednesday morning with Nell Green, missionary with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals, delivering the address to students, faculty and staff.

Green encouraged her fellow Christians to show Christ-like hospitality to others, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.

“You are in a position right now to be used by God as a blessing to the nations,” she said.

Green and her husband, Butch, are based in Houston. They work extensively with international refugees and immigrants.

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Nell Green, missionary with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service on September 27.

HPU hosts Encounter Week fall revival

Zack Randles at HPU for webBROWNWOOD – September 27, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Encounter Week fall revival event was held last week with a concluding discussion on the importance of maintaining momentum in the pursuit of Christ-like living.

Zack Randles, founder and lead pastor of Waterfront Church in Washington, D.C., was the guest speaker for each of the five Encounter Week services. Leading worship was The Nick Gainey Band. Gainey, a 2008 HPU graduate, serves as worship leader at Crosspoint Community Church in Rockwall.

Nick Gainey Band at HPU for web“The whole reason for revival services is to move forward in our faith,” Randles said.

He urged the audience to steer clear of things that can halt the Christian’s momentum, including gossip, negativity, slander, pride and fear.

Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands, serves as Chapel coordinator.

“Zack and the members of The Nick Gainey Band were a huge blessing to our campus community,” he said. “Several of our students professed faith in Christ for the first time during the week, while many others rededicated their lives to Him. There’s a great feeling of spiritual renewal on campus.”

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Zack Randles was the guest speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week fall revival services.

The Nick Gainey Band led worship for the week.

HPU to host Family Weekend

Familyweekend draft4BROWNWOOD – September 20, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host its annual Family Weekend event on Friday and Saturday, October 6-7. Family members of current HPU students who have not yet registered for this event are encouraged to do so by visiting as soon as possible.

Family Weekend is an opportunity for parents and other family members to visit campus and share in the student’s college experience. Registration is $20 per person and includes breakfast and dinner, bowling, a ticket to HPU’s football game versus East Texas Baptist University, and an information session on HPU’s Study Abroad program. HPU students do not need to purchase tickets. A complete schedule of events is located on the registration webpage.

“The beginning of the academic year can be an emotional time for families and students,” said Joshua Snow, director of student activities. “Family Weekend is a great way for families to feel more connected to their children at HPU by joining them for fun events on campus and around Brownwood.”

For more information about Family Weekend, visit


Angela Groves ’03 speaks at HPU Chapel service

Angela GrovesBROWNWOOD – September 14, 2017 – Angela Groves, a 2003 Howard Payne University graduate, was the guest speaker during HPU’s Chapel service on Wednesday, September 13. Titling her presentation “When Life Throws You a Curveball,” Groves spoke candidly about her previous struggles with infertility and her current battle with cancer.

Groves, who works at New Hope Christian Academy in Plano, chronicled how her family, friends, co-workers and church family have rallied together to support her through her cancer treatments.

“While this journey is not something I would choose, it’s so amazing to see how it’s brought people together,” she said. “We just have to say, ‘God what are You going to do? How are You going to heal relationships? How are You going to work within us?’”

Groves has kept a positive attitude throughout her treatment, wearing superhero capes to chemotherapy appointments and asking her family and friends who accompany her to participate in what she calls “Chemo Karaoke.”

She encouraged audience members to trust God with all of the trials in their lives.

“Cancer is serious – don’t get me wrong,” she said. “I don’t take it lightheartedly. But I serve a God Who is bigger.”

She and her husband, Tim Groves, a 2004 HPU graduate, have two sons, Titus and Judah.

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Angela Groves, a 2003 HPU graduate, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service on September 13.