News Archives: Student Life

HPU announces 2016 Homecoming Court

homecoming-court-2016BROWNWOOD – October 24, 2016 – Howard Payne University has announced its 2016 Homecoming Court. The Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned Friday, October 28, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are seniors Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle, Elizabeth Rainey of Poolville and Sydney Spencer of Georgetown. Princess nominees are juniors Camila Cotter of San Antonio, Marissa Godbey of Austin and Adriana Mata of San Angelo.

Jaclyn Bonner, the daughter of Rosemary and James Bonner, is a communication major and sociology minor. She is the senior presiding senator of the Student Government Association, a leader within the Baptist Student Ministry and a columnist for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper. Additionally, she serves as a resident advisor, as a member of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society and as a volunteer intern for Genuine College Ministry. Upon graduating from HPU, she would like to work with marginalized people groups abroad then return to the United States to begin a career in advocacy and government relations.

Elizabeth Rainey, an elementary education major, is the daughter of Susan and Richard Rainey. She is an honorary member of Pi Theta Chi, a local sorority founded at HPU in the spring of 2016. After graduating from the university, Rainey aspires to become an elementary reading specialist.

Sydney Spencer, the daughter of Tina and Eric Spencer, is a student in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy majoring in social work and global studies. She is the Student Government Association President and president of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. Additionally, she is an honorary member of Delta Chi Rho and is involved with Model United Nations, Pi Gamma Mu and the Social Work Club. Her career aspiration is to become an ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Camila Cotter, a music education major, is the daughter of Ivette and Michael Cotter. She is a member of the Chapel worship band, Pi Theta Chi, Gamma Beta Phi, Heritage Singers and the Concert Choir. Additionally, she serves as a resident assistant. Upon graduating from HPU, she aspires to become a high school choir teacher.

Marissa Godbey, the daughter of Tammie Kelley and Brent Godbey, majors in church music and music education with a minor in youth ministry. She serves on the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team and as president of new membership education and recruiting for Pi Theta Chi. She is a resident assistant, a member of the Heritage Singers and a section leader in HPU’s Concert Choir. After graduating from HPU, she would like to teach music in a low-income area while serving in a church. She also plans to earn a doctoral degree in choral conducting.

Adriana Mata, an elementary education major minoring in music performance, is the daughter of Gloria and Lupe Mata. She is a member of the Student Activities Council and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She aspires to become an elementary teacher to share her love of music with the next generation of musicians.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on McMurry University on Saturday, October 29. The game begins at 4 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

For a complete list of Homecoming 2016 activities, visit


Cutline: Members of HPU’s 2016 Homecoming Court are, left to right, Sydney Spencer, Elizabeth Rainey, Jaclyn Bonner, Adriana Mata, Marissa Godbey and Camila Cotter.

HPU Homecoming festivities to include bonfire, fireworks and parade

hpu-bonfire-raft-2016 BROWNWOOD – October 11, 2016 – Howard Payne University will host a bonfire, a fireworks show and a parade as featured parts of the university’s Homecoming 2016 celebration. The Bonfire and Fireworks on the Bayou event is scheduled for Friday, October 28, at 9:00 p.m. at Riverside Park in Brownwood. The parade is scheduled for Saturday, October 29, at 10:00 a.m. The public is invited to attend each of these events.

The bonfire will be built on a steel 8-foot-by-8-foot raft that will float on Pecan Bayou. The steel for the raft was donated by Sweetwater Steel in Early and the raft was constructed by Ricky Brooks of Kool Kreations Custom Boat Docks at Lake Brownwood. The HPU men’s soccer team collected the wood that will be used for the bonfire, which will be lit by a flaming arrow shot by HPU senior Ivy Nichols of Richardson. Following the bonfire, an exciting, 15-minute fireworks show will light the night sky. The fireworks are made possible by a generous donation from an anonymous donor to HPU.

“We are excited to have the bonfire and fireworks this year as part of our Homecoming events,” said Stephen Sullivan ’11, MBA ’14, director of development and alumni relations at HPU. “Our hope is that these events will provide an opportunity for HPU alumni to engage with current students as well as the community. Everyone is invited to attend.”

In addition to the bonfire and fireworks, various HPU student organizations will provide games and activities at Riverside Park during the events. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and snacks for this event. No alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Parade Route Map_Revised_2014This year’s HPU Homecoming parade will follow the same route as last year. Beginning at Brownwood Coliseum, the parade will travel north on Baker St., turn left onto Center Ave., move across Austin Ave. and enter the HPU campus. The procession will end in front of HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center on Center Ave. The best areas to view the parade are downtown and on campus along Center Ave.

The parade will feature student-designed floats and other attractions including the HPU Yellow Jacket Marching Band and the HPU mascot, Buzzsaw. Additionally, there will be a variety of floats and participants from the community.

“HPU’s Homecoming parade will include community, alumni and current student participants,” said Laura Benoit, associate director of alumni relations at the university. “We are excited this year to have Rick Phelps of Victory Life Church in Brownwood to help us coordinate the parade and we look forward to seeing many community members on Saturday morning enjoying this HPU tradition.”

The Homecoming parade is sponsored by Bruner Auto Group.

Community organizations interested in participating in the parade can register online at

A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available online at


An 8-foot-by-8-foot bonfire raft will float on the Pecan Bayou during HPU’s Homecoming 2016 Bonfire and Fireworks on the Bayou event. The raft was constructed by Ricky Brooks of Kool Kreations Custom Boat Docks using steel donated by Sweetwater Steel.

HPU’s Homecoming 2016 parade will begin at Brownwood Coliseum and end in front of the Doakie Day Art Center on the HPU campus.

HPU’s Yellow Jacket Band given new drum major stand

BROWNWOOD – October 11, 2016 –  Howard Payne University’s Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma groups recently purchased a new drum major stand for the HPU Yellow Jacket Band. Pictured are HPU’s Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma group members along with Corey Ash, director of bands and associate professor of music (second row, far right), and Dr. Robert Mangrum, group sponsor, university historian and professor of history and government (third row, far right).



HPU Phi Beta Lambda members compete in national competition

hpu-phi-beta-lambda-groupBROWNWOOD – September 20, 2016 – Four members of Howard Payne University’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, a national organization open to all college or university students interested in business related careers, recently competed at the 2016 PBL National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The four HPU students had competed in the spring at the state level and earned the opportunity to advance to the national conference.

Those who attended were Hannah Ball, junior from Justin and chapter secretary; Jessica Harris, junior from Brownwood and chapter vice president; Jody Loudamy, senior from Goldthwaite and chapter president; Rachel Mahagan, senior from Georgetown and chapter historian; and Mike Daub, associate professor of accounting and the chapter’s adviser.

Loudamy placed fourth in the Business Presentation category.

“I am so thankful for the efforts of all of our members because, without their efforts, I would not have gotten as far as I did,” said Loudamy. “This organization gives its members a chance to better themselves, and I hope we continue doing that this year and the rest of our lives.”

In addition to representing HPU in competitions, students had the opportunity to communicate with fellow Phi Beta Lambda members and visit local attractions such as the World of Coca-Cola and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Monetary Museum.

Phi Beta Lambda is the university division of Future Business Leaders of America, the largest career student organization in the world. Each year, the organization helps more than 200,000 members prepare for careers in business. The mission of Phi Beta Lambda is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.

In addition to business related areas, competitive events include many computer applications, communications applications, sports issues, and others.

The Fall Leadership Conference for the Mountain Plains Region will be held in Dallas, November 18-19 and will feature workshops to help students hone their skills.


Photo cutline: HPU Phi Beta Lambda members recently competed at the national conference in Atlanta, Georgia. From left to right are Hannah Ball, Rachel Mahagan, Jody Loudamy, Mike Daub and Jessica Harris.

HPU sees increased numbers for fall 2016 enrollment

Kevin Kirk Selfie with Students at Chime in 2016.1BROWNWOOD – September 20, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s fall 2016 semester is underway with lots of new faces around campus. The number of first-year students – 321 – at the Brownwood campus is HPU’s second-largest class in 16 years.

Undergraduate and graduate enrollment at HPU’s three locations – the main campus in Brownwood and extension centers in New Braunfels and El Paso – totals 1,189 students, an increase from fall 2015. The figure includes 408 first-year students and transfer students.

“We are very blessed to have this amazing group of students join the HPU community this fall,” said Kevin Kirk, associate vice president for enrollment management. “They are truly a class full of leaders who have brought a strong spirit of service and energy to the campus.”

More information about Howard Payne University is available online at


Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s incoming class of students pose for a “selfie” photo with Kevin Kirk, associate vice president for enrollment management, at a new-student event before the start of the semester. Kirk leads the group in the “Sting ‘em” cheer familiar to HPU Yellow Jackets.

HPU to host Encounter Week September 19-21

dave-edwards-imageBROWNWOOD – September 15, 2016 – Howard Payne University will host Encounter Week fall revival services next Monday, September 19, through Wednesday, September 21. This year’s guest speaker is Dave Edwards and worship will be led by Roger Cullins.

Dave Edwards is the founder of Dave Edwards Ministries, located in Oklahoma City. For more than a decade, he has been sharing his unique brand of ministry to a postmodern generation by traveling the country and speaking to young adults in churches and a variety of other places. His goal is to help students and young adults discover the importance of a Christ-centered lifestyle.

roger-cullins-imageRoger Cullins is a 2003 graduate of HPU and is the worship pastor at Bay Area Baptist Church in League City. As a worship leader, Cullins loves leading people to experience the life-changing presence and power of God. He also has a passion to personally encourage worship pastors and leaders to discover God’s empowerment in their lives and ministries.

Services will be held in HPU’s Mims Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. All Encounter Week services are open to the public.

“It is always exciting to start off a new year and get to experience Encounter Week at HPU,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music, director of bands and Wednesday chapel coordinator. “We have some fantastic individuals coming to lead us this year and there are going to be great opportunities for all of us to encounter God and have Him move in our lives during the week. The public is encouraged to attend any of the services and be ready to receive a great blessing.”


Photo cutlines: (Top) Dave Edwards, founder of Dave Edwards Ministries, is the scheduled speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week services.
(Bottom) Roger Cullins, worship pastor at Bay Area Baptist Church in League City, will lead worship at HPU’s Encounter Week services.

HPU holds 9/11 remembrance event










BROWNWOOD – September 9, 2016 – Howard Payne University held a memorial event for 9/11 today at which students were invited to place American flags around the university’s Bell Towers. The event was sponsored by HPU’s Student Government Association. Pictured is HPU junior Devin Caraway, from Cisco.

HPU holds Convocation ceremony

HPU Convocation 2016 photoBROWNWOOD – August 29, 2016 – Howard Payne University began its fall 2016 Chapel and Student Assembly season last week with its annual University Convocation ceremony. Dr. Dalton Bigbee ’69, professor of finance at Northeastern State University, addressed the audience.

Other program participants included Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of kinesiology; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, president of HPU’s Faculty Assembly and associate professor of physical science; Abraham Cooper, senior music performance major and biochemistry major; Dr. Bill Ellis, president; Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies; Dr. Allen Reed, professor emeritus of music; Dr. Christopher Rosborough ’08, assistant professor of music; Sydney Spencer, president of HPU’s Student Government Association; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace ’71, professor of music.


Photo cutline: Dr. Dalton Bigbee, professor of finance at Northeastern State University and 1969 graduate of Howard Payne University, delivered the address at HPU’s recent University Convocation ceremony. Pictured with Dr. Bigbee are Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music (left); Dr. Gerry Clarkson, chair of the department of physical sciences and associate professor of physical science (center); and Dr. Bill Ellis, president (right).

HPU student receives UPS Scholarship

Sarahi CastilloBROWNWOOD – August 29, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Sarahi Castillo, a senior kinesiology major from El Paso, has been selected to receive a UPS Scholarship in the amount of $2,600 provided by the ICUT Foundation and its national partner, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Castillo is the daughter of Maria C. Medina and Larry Medina of El Paso and a 2013 graduate of Montwood High School. She is also a member of the HPU women’s basketball team.

At the national level, CIC teams up with the UPS Foundation to distribute funding of the UPS Scholarship. Through this program this year, the ICUT Foundation awarded $101,400 in UPS Scholarships to 39 students at private institutions across Texas.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 765 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities, including the ICUT Foundation. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit

Photo cutline: HPU senior Sarahi Castillo is the recipient of this year’s UPS Scholarship.

HPU hosts another successful Jacket Journey new-student orientation

Jacket Journey 2016 Group






BROWNWOOD – August 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University hosted another successful Jacket Journey new-student orientation last week for incoming HPU freshmen and transfer students. Approximately 320 incoming freshmen and 50 transfer students participated.

During Jacket Journey, new students spent their first week in residence halls, learned about HPU traditions and campus life and met faculty, staff and upperclassmen leaders.

Chime In 2016 lineHPU hosted Chime In on Friday, August 21, during which the new students were officially welcomed to the university. The participants ceremoniously walked through the university’s Wilson Gate before arriving at HPU’s Old Main Tower to sing the alma mater for the first time together as a class. As graduating seniors, the students will in turn participate in Chime Out, symbolically leaving HPU through the Wilson Gate.

A variety of games, workshops and team-building events were also held. A church social was hosted by the university’s Baptist Student Ministry and local churches. Students also participated in Serving With A Right Motive (S.W.A.R.M.), a community-service event.

S.W.A.R.M. 2016Now is the time to apply for HPU’s spring or fall 2017 semester. The Heart of Texas Scholarship, paid over four years, is automatically awarded to students from the Heart of Texas area who meet unconditional admission requirements and enroll full-time in the fall and spring semesters. Qualifying students will have graduated from high schools or homeschools in Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, McCulloch, Mills and San Saba counties. For more information about this scholarship and other opportunities awaiting students at HPU, contact the Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or More information may also be found online at


Approximately 320 freshmen and 50 transfer students participated in HPU’s Jacket Journey orientation this past week.

HPU freshmen and new transfer students walk through the Wilson Gate during Chime In, one of the many traditions for new students at the university.

HPU students participate in community-service events around Brownwood during S.W.A.R.M. this past weekend.