By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore
BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2014 – Music, Scripture readings, beautiful lights and hot cocoa once again marked the official beginning of the Christmas season at Howard Payne University. HPU recently hosted its annual Christmas on the Plaza event sponsored by the Student Activities Council (SAC).
Students, alumni and HPU personnel gathered around Old Main Tower on Tuesday, December 2, to sing carols led by Efrain Garces, sophomore from San Antonio; Bobby Martinez, sophomore from Copperas Cove; Rebekah Johnson, senior from Missoula, Mont.; and Daniel Palacios, sophomore from Kaufman. Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, then read the Christmas story as those gathered honored the birth and life of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Dr. Bill Fowler, associate professor of Christian studies and 1975 HPU graduate, was chosen by SAC as this year’s keynote speaker. Dr. Fowler talked about “going all in” just as Jesus exemplified through His life, earthly ministry and, ultimately, His death on the cross.
Following the program, the HPU maintenance team illuminated Old Main Park and other parts of campus with Christmas lights, which are enjoyed by both the campus community and those who drive by the university on Austin Avenue.
President Ellis and his wife, Dr. Diana Ellis, also opened their home to the student body for an evening of fellowship over hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.
Francie Clark, director of student activities, spoke of the significance of Christmas on the Plaza.
“This event serves as a great reminder that Christmas is not just about the lights and hot chocolate but also about the birth of Jesus,” she said. “We are very fortunate to work at a university where the president reads the biblical Christmas story to all the students. This tradition represents Howard Payne’s values and the blessing the university is to so many people.”
Photo cutline: HPU students celebrate Christmas on the Plaza festivities. Gathered around the Christmas lights are (back row, from left) Jaclyn Bonner, Caitlin Wood, Bailey Waller, Nicole Hamilton, Jenna Underwood and Mason Samsel. Students in the front row, from left, are Hannah Williamson, Emily Selman and Olivia Belsher.