News Archives: Student Life

HPU prepares for Resurrection Week

By Christy Ash, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – March 14, 2016 – Howard Payne University is preparing for its upcoming Resurrection Week, an annual spring revival event, to be held March 21 through March 23 on the HPU campus. The services, open to the community as well as HPU students, faculty and staff, are intended as a time of spiritual renewal for the campus.

Danny CullinsThis year’s speaker, Danny Cullins, grew up in the Houston area and attended HPU from 1995 to 1999. Upon graduating from HPU, he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. There he met and married his wife, Laura. Together they have served on church leadership teams in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. Danny Cullins also spent some time working as an industrial engineer for Michelin. Most recently, the couple helped plant a new church in Fountain, Colo., where they reside. God has blessed them with three children: Brady (9), Ellie (7) and Will (4).

The worship portion of the services will be led by the Mike Romero Band. Mike Romero Music is a Christian nonprofit organization and ministry based out of Houston, working to invest in God’s people as they learn what it Mike Romero Bandmeans to honor and praise the Creator. The band members strive to serve the Body of Christ in all that they do, including writing and recording music, leading worship, teaching, equipping, training, discipling and investing in the current and future generations of worshipers and worship leaders. Band members include Romero, Jack O’Briant, J-Mike Toler, Branden Montgomery and Austin Ray.

Services on Monday and Tuesday will be held at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and the last service will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Each will take place in HPU’s Mims Auditorium. For more information, contact Corey Ash at (325) 649-8502 or cash@hputx.edu.

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Above: Photos of Danny Cullins and the Mike Romero Band

HPU love story connects generations

Brett and ShannonBROWNWOOD – February 12, 2016 – Like many men who are getting ready to “pop the question,” Brett Ellis, Howard Payne University senior, wanted to plan the perfect proposal for Shannon Matthews of Brownwood, also an HPU senior.

“I originally wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” he said. “Then I talked to my dad and my grandma.”

Brett’s father, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and grandmother, Nancy Ellis ’48, are quite familiar with HPU romances. Nancy met her husband, Dr. Ray Ellis ’50, at the university and her parents met there as well.

“They told me about a tree out at Riverside Park where my great-grandparents got engaged,” Brett said. “Later, my grandmother showed me the exact tree.”

Brett planned a picnic lunch for Shannon under the tree, complete with the same meals they ordered from Prima Pasta on their first date two years before.

“I thought it was just going to be a celebration of our two-year anniversary of dating,” said Shannon. “He told me he wanted to do something special. We didn’t even get to start eating before he said he had something to ask me.”

Brett admits he was a bit anxious.

“I was really excited and I just couldn’t wait,” he said.

Shannon happily accepted his proposal and the couple will be married on the HPU campus this June.

“I think it’s really fun be a part of this family tradition,” Shannon said of the proposal. “It’s really neat to me to be a part of that story.”

The couple met in choir during Shannon’s freshman year and Brett’s sophomore year.

“I think it started on Easter holiday,” said Shannon. “We had a three-day weekend and he messaged me on Facebook to ask how my break was going. The more we talked and the more we saw each other in choir, the more we clicked. By the second week of talking, we both thought, ‘Okay, I really like this person.’”

Following graduation, Shannon, a family studies major, plans to pursue a career in education and children’s ministry. Brett, a music performance major, plans to attend seminary and pursue a career in music ministry.

Shannon said she still teases Brett about the circumstances of their first date.

“Before we went to Prima Pasta, he asked me if I wanted to go and meet his parents,” she said. “So on the first date, I met his parents who are also the president and first lady of the university I’m attending. It was a little nerve-wracking. But his parents were so nice.”

Through his engagement to Shannon, Brett has enjoyed learning more about his family connections at HPU.

“It’s really cool hearing my grandma talk about how she met my grandpa here and how her parents met here,” he said. “I enjoyed getting to hear the stories from her point of view. It’s great to have that connection with my future wife in the same place, walking around the same campus.”

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Photo cutline: Brett Ellis and Shannon Matthews are pictured at the tree under which Brett proposed last spring. Photo by Rindy’s Photography.

HPU celebrates Black History Month with special Chapel service

Black History Chapel 2016 for webBROWNWOOD – February 4, 2016 – Howard Payne University celebrated Black History Month during a Chapel service held Wednesday morning.

Participants comprised of members of HPU’s African-American Alumni Association and current HPU students, read stories and shared facts about black historical figures. Additionally, the participants performed several songs and led the audience in singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Negro National Anthem.

The program is written and directed each year by Wilbert Rogers ’75. Gladys Murray ’79 serves as the assistant coordinator and technical specialist.

“Mr. Rogers and Mrs. Murray put a tremendous amount of effort into the program each year, and we greatly appreciate their leadership,” said Dr. Magen Bunyard, vice president for student life and dean of students. “We’re honored to come together as a university to celebrate Black History Month.”

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Photo cutline: Chapel participants, led by HPU senior Victoria Malone at the podium, perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem.

Mustaches for Missions: HPU fundraising tradition garners donations and laughs

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2015 – Members of Last Beard Standing, the Moostaches and The Fan{tache}tics all stepped up to the Mustache Wheel of Doom at Howard Payne University Monday evening to learn the fate of their facial hair. The Baptist Student Ministry’s annual fundraising event brought in $5,331 for student missions.

Each November, participating male students, faculty and staff members refrain from shaving for the month while selling t-shirts and collecting donations for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions. The teams that raise the least amount of money spin the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shave in whichever style the wheel determines. The choices include stripes, half-beards, “no-tee goatees” and more. The participants keep their entertaining new facial-hair stylings throughout the remainder of Finals Week.

The Mustache Wheel of Doom is held each year in conjunction with HPU’s Pancake Supper. Faculty and staff serve pancakes and other breakfast foods to students as they eagerly await to see the results.

“I am extremely honored to serve with a team of students who make missions fundraising a priority,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM. “They helped to raise money for our usual goal of $4,000, but exceeded it by more than $1,300. I could not ask for a greater group of students and supporters to help us send students on missions to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

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Photo cutline: HPU junior Evan Fleming, left, and Keith Platte, BSM director, await the results of Fleming’s Mustache Wheel of Doom spin. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU senior.

HPU hosts 10th annual Walk-a-Thon benefitting Walker Cancer Center

walkathon check presentation 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – November 4, 2015 – Howard Payne University recently held its 10th annual Brenda Newbury Breast Cancer Awareness Walk-a-Thon. A check for $2,025, representing funds collected in conjunction with the event, was presented to staff of Brownwood’s Walker Cancer Center during the HPU football game versus Louisiana College on Saturday. Following the check presentation, additional donations were made bringing the total to $2,065.

The event is named in honor of cancer-survivor Brenda Newbury, the wife of HPU chancellor and former president Dr. Don Newbury. Members of the HPU community joined together for the event to increase awareness and funding for breast cancer detection, education and treatment.

The money raised was donated to the Patient Fund at Walker Cancer Center to assist breast cancer patients with whatever needs they may have during their time of treatment including assistance with medications, travel expenses for treatment, utilities and other necessities.

“The university is honored to partner with the Walker Cancer Center on this event each year,” said Dr. Magen Bunyard, vice president for student life and dean of students. “The Center provides a community-based, patient-centered approach to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. We pray the funds collected through the Walk-a-Thon will make a positive difference in the lives of local patients battling this disease.”

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Photo cutlines: HPU recently presented a check for more than $2,000 to representatives of Brownwood’s Walker Cancer Center. Left to right: Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard, associate professor of nursing and dean of HPU’s School of Nursing; Chip Camp, CEO of Brownwood Regional Medical Center; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Gail Hightower, social worker for Walker Cancer Center; and Buzzsaw, HPU mascot.

Despite the rain, many from the HPU community turned out Saturday morning to walk in support of breast cancer awareness. Pictured are HPU students Malcom Foster, Yancy Flores, Elizabeth Miller, Haley Slater and Karla Zachary.

Chapman and Bonner crowned HPU Homecoming Queen and Princess

Homecoming Queen 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2015 – Ashley Chapman of Ennis and Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle were crowned Howard Payne University’s Homecoming Queen and Princess during a ceremony held today on campus.

Chapman, the daughter of Ricky and Diane Chapman, is a senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in Spanish and political science. She is the presiding senior senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She additionally serves as resident assistant for HPU’s campus apartments. Her future plans are to pursue an internship in public policy and eventually work in a district office.

Bonner, the daughter of James and Rosemary Bonner, is a junior public and media communication major. She is the president of Gamma Beta Phi, a National Collegiate Honor Society. She also serves as the junior class senator for the SGA, as a Yellow Jacket newspaper columnist and is a member of the Model United Nations team and the Baptist Student Ministry. Following graduation, she would like to represent a missions or humanitarian, non-profit organization in the public relations department and eventually be involved in human-rights advocacy.

Homecoming Princess 2015 for webThe Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on East Texas Baptist University this Saturday. The game begins at 2 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

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Top photo: Katie Rose Bonner, HPU’s 2014 Homecoming Queen, crowns Ashley Chapman, the 2015 Homecoming Queen.

Bottom photo: Katie Rose Bonner, 2014 Homecoming Queen, crowns her sister, Jaclyn Bonner, the 2015 Homecoming Princess.

HPU announces 2015 Homecoming Court

BROWNWOOD – October 14, 2015 – Howard Payne University has announced the 2015 Homecoming Court. The Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned this Friday, October 16, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are Ashley Chapman of Ennis, senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in Spanish and political science; Dillan Hanks of Frisco, senior athletic training major; and Caitlin Wood of Miles, senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in political science and public policy (pre-law).

Ashley, the daughter of Ricky and Diane Chapman, is the presiding senior senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She additionally serves as resident assistant for HPU’s campus apartments. Her future plans are to pursue an internship in public policy and eventually work in a district office.

Dillan is the daughter of Chris and Dana Hanks. She is a student athletic trainer, is an alumna of Chi Alpha Omega and serves as secretary of the Tri Beta National Biological Honors Society. After graduation, she plans to become a physical therapist.

Caitlin, the daughter of Ron and Sandy Wood, is a member of Gamma Beta Phi and Pi Gamma Mu. She serves as SGA vice president and as chair of the organization’s Campus Beautification Committee. Additionally, she is a member of HPU Moot Court and is involved in the Baptist Student Ministry. She plans to attend law school and eventually work as a litigator or in-house counsel for a faith-based organization or non-profit.

Princess nominees are Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle, junior public and media communication major; Carrie Leach of Hurst, junior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student and social science major; and Sydney Spencer of Georgetown, junior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in social work.

Jaclyn, the daughter of James and Rosemary Bonner, is the president of Gamma Beta Phi, a National Collegiate Honor Society. She also serves as the junior class senator for the SGA, as a Yellow Jacket newspaper columnist and is a member of the Model United Nations team and the Baptist Student Ministry. Following graduation, she would like to represent a missions or humanitarian, non-profit organization in the public relations department and eventually be involved in human-rights advocacy.

Carrie is the daughter of Jason and Cindy Leach. She is a member of the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team, is an SGA Senator and is a member of the Model United Nations team. Her career aspirations include becoming a human-rights advocate.

Sydney is the daughter of Eric and Tina Spencer. She is a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, the SGA secretary, the vice president of Gamma Beta Phi and is involved in the Honors Code Council, the Social Work Club, Model United Nations and Pi Gamma Mu. She also serves as an office assistant in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. Her future plans are to pursue a career in international adoptions or in the United Nations.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on East Texas Baptist University this Saturday. The game begins at 2 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s 2015 Homecoming Court includes (from left) Dillan Hanks, Caitlin Wood, Ashley Chapman, Jaclyn Bonner, Carrie Leach and Sydney Spencer.

Sims to be head coach at end of semester

By HPU Sports Information

BROWNWOOD, Texas – The Howard Payne University athletic department today announced that current assistant head coach Hunter Sims will take over as head football coach at the end of the semester.

Following the recent announcement that Howard Payne head football coach Roger Geise would be retiring at the end on the semester, the university made it clear today that it already had the new head coach in Hunter Sims.

“I am very excited for Hunter,” said Mike Jones, director of athletics. “I know he will do a great job and he is a perfect fit for Howard Payne and the football program.”

Sims spent three years as an assistant at Howard Payne before being promoted to offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in the spring of 2012. His first two years with HPU, he was the wide receivers coach and then worked as defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator in his third season.

“Hunter Sims is a man of great character, wisdom and energy,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “Since I came to Howard Payne, I have been impressed with his commitment to our football players and to the program, and I am confident that in his new role, Coach Sims will advance HPU football and bring honor to our university.”

Sims’ offenses have been some of the best in the American Southwest Conference, setting a new Howard Payne record for total offense in a game last season at East Texas Baptist with 720 yards in a 54-53 road victory. He has coached current HPU career record holder for field goals Joshua Martinez and wide receiver standout Colby Mica, who is on pace to break the HPU career receptions record.

Sims worked as a graduate assistant wide receivers coach with Angelo State University before coming to HPU. Also during that time, he helped coach defensive backs for the professional arena football team San Angelo Stampede of the IFL (Intense Football League).

As a player, Sims was a three-year letterman and two-time Academic All-Conference selection at quarterback at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. After his college playing career was over, he served as a student assistant at McMurry University working with wide receivers and quarterbacks.

He went on to play quarterback in the GFL (German Football League) for the Professional Schwabisch Hall Unicorns. He also played one season with the San Angelo Stampede and Frisco Thunder of the IFL.

While in Germany playing professional football, he was also the head baseball coach of the Schwabisch Renegades Baseball team (Men’s team 18 and up). Sims led them to the Landesliga Championship and was named Coach of the Year. Sims has worked football camps around the state and spent extensive time working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a camp counselor.

Sims is a 2007 graduate of McMurry University with a degree in Education and a minor in History and in 2010 he finished a master’s degree in Sports Management. He was married in the summer of 2011 to his wife, Shannon.

HPU head football coach Roger Geise to retire at semester’s end

BROWNWOOD – October 8, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Roger Geise announced recently that he will be retiring at the end of the fall semester after four seasons as Yellow Jacket head football coach and 11 seasons total with the university.

Mike Jones, athletic director, said it has been a pleasure to work with Geise.

“I appreciate all that he has done for HPU and our football program,” Jones said. “He is a great friend and I wish him the best in his retirement.”

In Geise’s first three seasons as head coach of the Yellow Jackets, he was 9-21 overall with back-to-back 4-6 records in 2013 and 2014.

“I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to work at Howard Payne over the past 11 seasons and will greatly miss all the student-athletes and co-workers that have become my friends and family over the years,” said Geise. “I am thankful for the opportunity that Dr. Bill Ellis (HPU president) and Mike Jones gave me and wish HPU a bright and blessed future.”

Geise joined the HPU coaching staff in 2005 as the defensive line coach. He then served as the Yellow Jacket defensive coordinator from the 2008 season until the end of the 2011 season. Geise’s 2005 defensive unit set an American Southwest Conference record for interceptions in a season, with 29.

Geise, who has more than 35 years of coaching experience, began his career in his native state of Pennsylvania in 1970. He joined the Louisiana State University staff in 1974 as a graduate assistant and served there for three years.

Geise entered the high school coaching ranks in Texas in 1977 through which he coached for more than 25 years.

In 2005, Geise was inducted into the Romanoski Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Roger and his wife, Sandra, live in the Mercury area where they have a ranching operation.

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Photo cutline: Roger Geise, HPU head football coach, will retire at the end of the fall semester.

HPU to host Encounter Week

HPU Encounter Week for web

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

Saleim Kahleh for webBROWNWOOD – September 18, 2015 – Howard Payne University will host Encounter Week fall revival services next Monday, September 21, through Wednesday, September 23. This year’s guest speaker is Saleim Kahleh and worship will be led by the Nick Gainey Band.

Kahleh, originally from Iran, resides in Houston. Since coming to know Christ as a senior in high school, Kahleh has given up everything to serve.

Yet he states, “My story is not about a man’s faithfulness to God; it’s about God’s faithfulness to man.”

Kahleh is the founder of SK Ministries and has traveled all over the world sharing his faith.

Nick Gainey Band for webNick Gainey graduated from HPU in 2008 and is currently on staff at Connection Community Church in Rowlett, Texas. His band recently released its newest album, “Exalt.”

“We’re really simple guys,” Gainey says. “We love the Gospel, and we love to sing about it.”

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, asks for prayer during this time of spiritual renewal on campus.

“We ask everyone to pray that we will all be prepared to engage in what God wants to do in each of us during these days of renewing,” he said. “May He show up in a powerful way!”

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Photo cutlines: Saleim Kahleh, founder of SK Ministries, is the scheduled guest speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week services.

The Nick Gainey Band will lead worship during the services.