News Archives: Student Life

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.

HPU to host Encounter Week fall revival services

Zack RandlesBROWNWOOD – September 13, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host Encounter Week fall revival services next Monday, September 18, through Wednesday, September 20. This year’s guest speaker is Zack Randles and worship will be led by the Nick Gainey Band.

Randles is founder and lead pastor of Waterfront Church in Washington, D.C. A native Texan, he graduated from Oklahoma State University. Additionally, Randles is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Autumn, have three children and one on the way.

Nick GaineyGainey is a 2008 HPU graduate and has fronted The Nick Gainey Band in leading worship for almost eight years. Gainey additionally serves as worship leader at Crosspoint Community Church in Rockwall. The band members and all of their families live in the DFW area.

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

Corey Ash, chapel coordinator, associate professor of music and director of bands, said he eagerly anticipates Encounter Week.

“I’ve been planning Chapel events for more than 10 years here at HPU, and I know from experience that God has amazing plans to meet us and challenge us when we come together to worship Him, look into His Word and grow together,” he said. “Every single year there are students who come to Christ for the first time as Savior. There are also students and personnel who make commitments to walk more faithfully with the Lord. As a result, the anticipation is great.”



Zack Randles, lead pastor at Waterfront Church in Washington, D.C., will be the guest speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week services.

Nick Gainey ’08, lead singer of The Nick Gainey Band, will lead worship during HPU’s Encounter Week services.

HPU BSM leaders encourage student involvement

Haylee Maddox for webBROWNWOOD – September 7, 2017 – Keith Platte, director of Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry, and several BSM student leaders spoke during the university’s Chapel program Wednesday morning. The leaders described to students the various ways in which they can become involved with BSM ministries.

Platte introduced the student leaders, saying that serving through the BSM is one way in which they live out the BSM’s motto of “Love. Serve. Share.”

“Our student leaders have a passion for their peers to know Christ, they have a passion for our community to know Christ and they have a passion to serve other people,” he said.

Students were encouraged to become involved with one of the BSM ministries including tutoring young students at a local apartment complex, mentoring youth at Brownwood’s Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility, fellowshipping with residents at local nursing facilities and partnering with churches across the state to provide youth activities including Disciple Now Weekend and 5th Quarter. Additional ministries are geared specifically toward mentoring and fellowship with other HPU students. These include Community Groups, Pray & Do, Student-Athlete Ministry, Campus Outreach, Student-Led Worship, Freshmen Council and weekly free lunches provided by area churches.

Sophomore Haylee Maddox of Bellville, leader of one of the BSM Community Groups, reminded students they will get back what they invest during their four years at HPU.

“If you go to social events and start being nice to people and introducing yourself, you’ll start to build relationships,” she said. “Jesus truly changes people and that’s exactly what the BSM is all about.”


Cutline: HPU sophomore Haylee Maddox, a member of the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team, encouraged her peers to get involved on campus through the BSM. She was one of several BSM leaders to speak during HPU’s Chapel service on Wednesday.

HPU graduate spends summer working with refugees through Go Now Missions

Shaefer Church 2017BROWNWOOD – September 7, 2017 – Shaefer Church, a 2016 Howard Payne University graduate, spent the summer in Greece volunteering with refugees who have fled the Middle East and northern Africa. He was one of three students from HPU and hundreds from the state of Texas serving around the globe this summer through Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions.

Church served alongside seven other Americans at a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos. They provided the individuals with food, clothing, stability and safety, an opportunity, he said, that strengthened his own walk with Christ.

“As Christians, we are called to serve others and, when we do this, we draw closer to Jesus,” he said. “I really got to see God’s love for the oppressed and how He is at work with refugees. I was blessed in that I got to meet some great human beings within the camp.”

As a student at HPU, Church was involved on campus, particularly with the Baptist Student Ministry.

“I helped out with a few BSM ministries over the years, but the two in which I invested the most time were Student Led Worship and Campus Outreach,” Church said. “Being a part of the BSM was very formational for me, and it really helped shape how I view missions, community and serving others.”

Keith Platte serves as HPU’s BSM director.

“Shaefer served as our BSM student worker for two years,” said Platte. “During that time, I had the joy of seeing God grow a wonderful servant and leader. There’s no doubt that Shaefer was gifted by God with the gift of leadership and that shows in everything he does. People naturally want to join along in what Shaefer is doing, and Shaefer keeps following after the heart of God, so he keeps bringing people closer to God. That’s what discipleship is about. Shaefer gets that.”

In addition to Greece, Church served at other times with Go Now Missions in the Philippines and in Oregon.

“All of these experiences impacted me in ways that I can’t even fathom,” he said. “I am who I am today because of what I saw God do while I was on those trips.”

Church said his long-term ministry goal is to serve Christ and help others overseas. He currently serves as youth director at First United Methodist Church in Brownwood.

“I get to work with some truly amazing youth and serve the Lord right here in my own community,” he said. “I love working with the students, and the fact that I get to be their youth leader is an amazing blessing.”

Church graduated Magna Cum Laude from HPU in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible.

“In every way that I can imagine, HPU prepared me for what I’m doing now,” he said. “The Christian studies department was a great place for me to learn more about God’s Word, the Church and how to do ministry. I really loved my time at HPU.”


Cutline: Shaefer Church, a 2016 HPU graduate, spent his summer working with refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos. He is pictured on the HPU campus.