News Archives

HPU’s Zeta Beta named most outstanding chapter in Southwest District

KKP 2016BROWNWOOD – May 18, 2016 – Zeta Beta, Howard Payne University’s chapter of the Kappa Kappa Psi national band fraternity, recently received the D.O. Wiley Award as the most outstanding chapter in the Southwest District. The HPU fraternity competed against chapters from New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma to receive the award.

According to the organization’s website, the award is given to the chapter that best exemplifies the ideals of the national fraternity. Zeta Beta also won the award in 2011.

“This is a huge accomplishment and I’m proud of the men and women in the group,” said Stephen Sullivan, Zeta Beta adviser and alumnus who serves as director of development and alumni relations for the university.

Active Zeta Beta members for the 2015-2016 academic year included Alex Atkinson, senior from Haslet; Kayla Chadwick, junior from Tulia; Ryan Contreras, senior from Early; Jarod Dowling, freshman from Grandview; Joshua Farquharson, May 2016 graduate from Iowa Park; Evan Fleming, senior from Goliad; Melanie Hammond, senior from Springtown; Brady Hardin, junior from Fort Worth; Angel Hernandez, senior from Brownwood; Hayden Jacobs, junior from Lytle; Nathan Lacy, junior from Early; David Lambert, senior from Brownwood; Holly Leatherman, junior from Tolar; Alex Lemus, sophomore from Ballinger; Robert Martinez, senior from Copperas Cove; Travis Moraga, junior from Little Elm; Jakob Morgan, junior from Blanket; Crystal Ochoa, sophomore from Early; Ray Palousek, sophomore from Holland; Grant Saltar, sophomore from Plano; Sky Schoolfield, junior from Aledo; Gavin Paul Stewart, senior from Flower Mound; and Aaron Walling, senior from Georgetown.


Cutline: HPU’s Zeta Beta chapter of the Kappa Kappa Psi national band fraternity recently received the D.O. Wiley Award as the most outstanding chapter in the Southwest District. Zeta Beta members are pictured with the award and Tippy, the group’s penguin mascot.

HPU receives $25,000 from TexasBank through Doss Foundation

TexasBank donation 2016BROWNWOOD – May 17, 2016 – TexasBank recently presented $25,000 to Howard Payne University through the James and Dorothy Doss Foundation. The donation was part of $88,000 in scholarship funds that will be given to local and area high schools and colleges in 2016.

Within the past seven years, the Doss Foundation has given more than $600,000 to area educational institutions.

Greg Dodds, president and CEO of TexasBank, said the bank is proud to be affiliated with the James and Dorothy Doss Foundation, whose gift will give back to local students through HPU’s Heart of Texas Scholarship Fund.

“We believe that the Heart of Texas Scholarship has provided an opportunity for a quality university degree for an ever-increasing number of local students,” he said. “The scholarship provides these students with a $15,000 annual award and greatly helps to ease any financial burdens after college. The Board and Ownership of TexasBank value our relationship with Howard Payne University, and we are honored to support this institution and its students.”

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, expressed the university’s gratitude toward TexasBank and the Doss Foundation.

“HPU aims to give back to the community through the Heart of Texas Scholarship Fund by demonstrating our commitment to local and area students,” said Dr. Ellis. “We’re thankful to have community partners such as TexasBank to make this a reality.”

HPU’s Heart of Texas Scholarship awards $60,000 to eligible students from Brown County and surrounding counties. The scholarship, paid over four years, is automatically awarded to students who are graduates of high schools in the Heart of Texas area, 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, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or via e-mail at


Cutline: Greg Dodds, left, president and CEO of TexasBank, presents a $25,000 check to Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

Four HPU students named Sumners Scholars

Sumners Scholars 16-17 for webBROWNWOOD – May 12, 2016 – Four students from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were recently named Sumners Scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year. Acceptance into the Sumners Scholar Program, created by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation, is based on an assessment of academic excellence, a sense of civic responsibility and leadership potential.

This year’s recipients include Rachel Hughes, junior from Llano; Joel Justice, sophomore from Brownwood; Isaac Sommers, junior from Boerne; and Rachel White, junior from Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Several Academy students vie each year for a chance to be a part of the program. The foundation provides a $7,500-per-semester stipend for its participating students to be used for tuition, fees, books or room and board.

Sumners Scholars are provided with opportunities to attend annual leadership and policy analysis conferences to supplement their learning and expand their growth potential. While receiving the scholarship, students are required to maintain a 3.25 GPA and be in good standing with the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

Dr. Matthew McNiece, associate professor of history and government and chair of the Department of History and Government, serves as assistant director for the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“The Academy is proud to recognize the achievements of these four students,” he said. “We also wish to express our gratitude to the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation for the countless opportunities they’ve provided our students over the years.”

For more information about the Sumner Scholars Program at HPU, visit


Cutline: Four HPU students were recently named Sumners Scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year. Left to right: Rachel Hughes, Joel Justice, Isaac Sommers and Rachel White.

HPU students participate in Social Work Student Day at the Legislature

LBJ Library-2016 for webBROWNWOOD – May 11, 2016 – Ten Howard Payne University students traveled to the Texas State Capitol in Austin this spring to take part in the Social Work Student Day at the Legislature. The travelers are students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Programs, Policies and Issues course.

“The purpose of the trip was for our students to gain advocacy skills and learn about opportunities for participation in government processes,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology.

HPU students attended a session with a representative from the Christian Life Commission during which they learned about the legislative process and policy initiatives of the Commission. The class also attended a presentation by Leah Gonzalez, Master of Science in Social Work, who is a 2013 graduate of HPU. While at the Capitol, the students visited with their district representatives to present their concerns with payday and car title loans. The HPU group also toured the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

HPU students in attendance included Bryan Adams, senior from Fort Worth; Leo Baker, sophomore from Lindale; Jaclyn Bonner, junior from Lytle; Melanie Hammond, senior from Springtown; Efrain Garces, junior from Floresville; Brittiny Kelley, junior from Snyder; Shannon Matthews, senior from Brownwood; Shay Pate, senior from Red Oak; MaryClaire Swallow, junior from Midland; and Brittony Walker, junior from Abilene.


Cutline: HPU students recently visited the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum while in Austin to participate in the Social Work Student Day at the Legislature. Back row, left to right: Bryan Adams, MaryClaire Swallow, Brittony Walker, Efrain Garces and Shay Pate. Front row, left to right: Brittiny Kelley, Jaclyn Bonner, Melanie Hammond, Shannon Matthews and Leo Baker.

HPU New Braunfels Center to host 5K race

PrintBROWNWOOD – May 9, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center will host the HPU 5000, a 5K race, on Saturday, May 14. The run/walk race will begin at 8 a.m. at Pavilion 5 of New Braunfels’ Landa Park. All proceeds from the race will go toward the center’s new facility, currently under construction.

Interested participants may register for the race by visiting Entry fees are $25 for early registration and $30 on race day. A free t-shirt and gift bag are included with registration.

“We’re excited to invite the community to participate in our first 5K event,” said Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies. “This is a great way to be active, enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn more about HPU’s mission in New Braunfels.”

Based in Brownwood, HPU has maintained a presence in New Braunfels since March 2012 when the HPU Board of Trustees approved extending education to the community. Since that time, the HPU New Braunfels Center has served more than 100 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs.

HPU alumnus Bob Knoll, CEO of Millennium Packaging/Supplize, offered the university the use of a facility in New Braunfels as a home for the center to grow during the next several years. The building is located off Interstate 35 at 4102 Loop 337 and is being remodeled to include administrative offices, classrooms, a conference room and study areas to accommodate the planned expansion of HPU. Classes will be held in the new building beginning in fall 2016.

“All of the money raised during the 5K will be used in the remodeling of the building,” said Dr. Meinecke. “This will allow us to better serve our students and to continue our mission of bringing Christ-centered, quality higher education to the Austin/San Antonio corridor.”

A number of local and area businesses serve as sponsors for the race.

“We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from the New Braunfels community,” said Dr. Meinecke. “The generosity these businesses have shown has made this event possible.”

Sponsors include:

Title Sponsors – Supplize and Veramendi

Gold Sponsors – Express Lube, HMT Engineering and Surveying, Krueger Construction and McKenna Foundation

Silver Sponsors – Chick-fil-A, Comal Custom Homes, Premier Dental Center, Raba Kistner Consultants, Rockin’ R, Rougeux & Associates, Seidel Construction, Soleus Running and Treetop Pediatric Dentistry

Bronze Sponsors – Dr. Stephen C. Bennett, DDS; CgM and Associates Architects; Big Frog; Eden Hill, Edward Jones, Kevin Wartsbaugh; Gruene Harley Davidson; J&R Gymnastics; Mark Hamtpon Century 21, Randall Morris & Associates; Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt; The Merchant Network; Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union; Rodney Roussett, MA, LPC, PA, Psychotherapist; and Schlitterbahn

For more information about the HPU 5000, contact the HPU New Braunfels Center at (830) 629-2366 or via e-mail at


HPU class project serves local 3M plant

Cooper and students for web updatedBROWNWOOD – May 6, 2016 – Howard Payne University students in Tim Cooper’s Digital Video Manipulations class recently partnered with 3M to produce a Contractor Safety Awareness Video for the local plant. According to a magazine published by the company, the video will be used as part of its orientation process for new contractors.

3M’s Rodney Chesser contacted Cooper, who serves as HPU’s instructor of multimedia communications and computer information systems. Cooper said he is happy that his class was able to serve the community in this way.

“It’s great experience for our students and it serves a real purpose in the community,” he said. “These types of real-world projects are invaluable.”

Those who teamed for the project were Christy Ash, senior from Brownwood; Michael Harmon, 2015 graduate from Brownwood; Tyler Jones, senior from Granbury; Nathan Lamb, senior from Brownwood; Will Locke, senior from Kerrville; and Cantrell Miller, senior from Rochelle. The English version of the video was narrated by Cameron Van Item, 2011 HPU graduate and HPU groundskeeper, while a Spanish version was narrated by Bertha Mendoza, 2014 HPU graduate.

The video starred several 3M employees and focused on points such as required personal protective equipment, policies and conditions at the Brownwood plant.

“This project is a good example of the partnership opportunity between 3M and local entities, such as HPU,” stated the magazine article.


Cutline: Students led by HPU instructor Tim Cooper recently completed a video project for Brownwood’s 3M. Left to right: Michael Harmon, Cantrell Miller, Tyler Jones, Nathan Lamb, Tim Cooper and Christy Ash. Not pictured is Will Locke.

HPU’s Spirit of Social Work Award presented to Becky Smith of Brownwood

Dan Humeniuk and Becky SmithBROWNWOOD – May 6, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented its Spirit of Social Work Award to board member and HPU alumna Becky Smith of Brownwood. The award is presented annually to an individual whose career reflects an outstanding contribution to the social work profession or to the field of human services in general.

Smith, currently employed at Senior Care of Brownwood, graduated from HPU in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work. Later that year, she became a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker and subsequently received an Independent Practice Recognition.

In addition to serving on HPU’s Social Work Advisory Board since 2000, Smith has served the Brownwood and Early communities in a number of ways. She has participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life since 1998; became a member of the Kiwanis Club in 2002; and was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Lions Club in 2005. She was selected as an ambassador for the Early Chamber of Commerce in 2008 and was appointed to its Board of Directors in 2009, a position she held until 2014. She additionally served as an ambassador for the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce in 2009.

Smith participated in Good Samaritan Ministries’ Empty Bowls project in 2008 and 2009 and spent two years as the fundraising director for the Early Volunteer Fire Department. She has additionally served her community by organizing health fairs, assisting with a variety of carnivals and rodeos, volunteering with fund-raising campaigns and helping with Early’s Pioneer Day activities.

She began supervising social work field interns in 2002 and, in that capacity, has overseen nine HPU undergraduate students and one graduate student from The University of Texas at Arlington. She and her husband of 16 years, Rafe, have two children, Arron and Rachel.

“The Social Work Advisory Board is pleased to recognize Becky Smith for her outstanding achievements in the field of social work,” said Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology. “She is a valuable member of our organization and a caring and committed member of the community.”


Cutline: Dan Humeniuk, left, recently presented the HPU Social Work Advisory Board’s Spirit of Social Work Award to Becky Smith.

HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art Program students present recital and art walk

BROWNWOOD – May 6, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art Program recently held a student recital featuring 40 students. These students performed piano, vocal and saxophone solos and duets in Howard Payne’s Grace Chapel. The HPU Pre-College art students displayed some of their work in the foyer of the chapel.

“The music and art in Grace Chapel was truly amazing,” said Diane Owens, director of the program and adjunct instructor in the School of Music and Fine Arts. “There was a nice balance of contemporary and classical styles and our students gave outstanding performances.”

Following the performances, students received awards and recognitions. Texas state theory test awards were given on four levels: gold, silver, bronze and theory pin awards. The gold-medal winners, with a grade of 98-101, were Andrew Boren, Vic Cooper, Kirsten Fijer, Kyle Ivy and Cate Smith. The silver-medal winners, with a grade of 95-97, were Michael Morales, Natalie Rose and Sam Woods. The bronze-medal winner, with a grade of 90-94, was Sarah Reeves. Theory-pin winners, with a grade of 70-89 or those taking below their level, were James Bautista, Hannah Bessent, Nathan Bull, Michelle Cabrera, Angie Calfa, Christian Fijer, Alex Fowler, Leila Gautier, Jaycie Hubbard, David McKee, Kylee Medina, Marti Millwee, Sydney Neel, Hannah Parson, Kourtney Peacock, Drew Reynolds, Jordan Roberts, Carli Shoen and Ava Sparks-Hansen.

Texas Federated Music Clubs Junior Festival awards were given for piano solos. Those in the superior-rating competitive category included James Bautista, Nathan Bull, Vic Cooper, Christian Fijer, Alex Fowler, Leila Gautier, Jaycee Hubbard, Kyle Ivy, Kamry Keese, Kylee Medina, Addison Miller, Aishwarya Nigalye, Hannah Parson, Sarah Reeves, Jordan Roberts, Cate Smith, Ava Sparks-Hansen and Sam Woods. Students in the excellent-rating competitive category were Andrew Boren and Michael Morales. In the non-competitive category receiving a superior rating were Angie Calfa, Natalee Rose and Carli Shoen.

TFMC Junior Festival awards were also given for vocal solos in musical theatre. Students in the superior-rating competitive category included Hannah Bessent, Angie Calfa, Kirsten Fijer, Alex Fowler, Kamry Keese, Marti Millwee, Sydney Neel, Sarah Reeves, Drew Reynolds, Jordan Roberts and Ava Sparks-Hansen. For vocal solos in the art-song category, Angie Calfa received a superior-rating competitive category award.

Gold cups were also given for piano and vocal solos. Tony Calfa and Hannah Parson each were 15-point gold cup recipients; Vic Cooper, Addison Miller and Sarah Reeves were each 30-point gold cup recipients; and Sam Woods was the 45-point gold cup recipient. Alex Fowler, Addison Miller and Jordan Roberts were each 15-point gold cup recipients for their vocal solos in musical theatre. Addison Miller was the 15-point gold cup winner and Angie Calfa was the 30-point gold cup winner for their vocal solos in art song.

Art show students included Bella Attaway, Hayden Deen, Jaycie Hubbard, Aryn Lesley and Jim Riggs.

“Thanks go out to the parents and friends who support these talented young people and a special thanks to all the teachers who are so dedicated to making the Pre-College Music and Art Program such a success,” said Owens. “We are already looking forward to next year.”

The Pre-College Music and Art Program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. For more information, contact Diane Owens at (325) 649-8501 or


HPU hosts Math Career Day

BROWNWOOD – May 4, 2016 – Howard Payne University recently hosted HPU mathematics students and faculty members as well as students from Early High School for a Math Career Day. The event was held in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Room of the Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center on the university’s campus.

The purpose of the event was to raise awareness aMathDaymong students of the various careers for which a degree in mathematics can prepare them. Current and future HPU students who are interested in majoring in mathematics were invited. There were 15 mathematicians and engineers present to speak with students about mathematics-related careers including representatives from 3M and Kohler; in-service high school teachers from Brownwood, Early and Bangs; a practicing actuary from Waco; Dr. José Romero, associate professor of mathematics for HPU; Dr. Kenneth Word, chair of the Department of Mathematics and professor of mathematics for HPU; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, interim director of the engineering science program at HPU; and Hendra Tarigan, doctoral candidate in electrical engineering at Texas Tech University.

“Our 2016 HPU Math Career Day was a great success due the combined efforts of everyone involved,” said Dr. Word. “Thank you to all who presented and attended.”


Cutline: Representatives from Kohler speak with students at HPU’s Math Career Day.

HPU alumna named All-Big Country Coach of the Year

Heather Hohertz and teamBROWNWOOD – May 4, 2016 – Heather Hohertz, 2007 Howard Payne University graduate, said she credits her HPU professors and coaches in guiding her to be her best. Hohertz, who serves as head basketball coach and assistant softball coach at Brownwood High School, was recently named the All-Big Country Coach of the Year for Classes 4A-6A by the Abilene Reporter-News. She additionally won the award in 2010.

“By playing under Coach K (Chris Kielsmeier, former HPU basketball coach), I learned how to dedicate myself toward my passion and I learned the work ethic to become successful on the court and in life,” she said.

Hohertz grew up in Priddy and during her senior year of high school was a member of the team that won the first-ever state championship for the small community.

“When I was searching for a college to continue my playing career, Howard Payne was an easy choice,” she said. “Coach Kielsmeier recruited me and I knew I had to become a member of the Lady Jacket family.”

Today, Meia Daniels, a former teammate of Hohertz, serves as head women’s basketball coach for the university.

“Heather is very deserving of the award,” said Daniels. “She works hard and is very competitive, which she relays through her team. I am very proud of her and I know she will continue to do great things in the future.”

During seven years at Brownwood High School, Hohertz has led her team to many victories and has a win-loss record of 147-74.

“This year, we matched our best record in the school’s history,” she said. “We were 25-8 and made the school’s first-ever trip to the regional tournament.”

Hohertz said it’s a great honor to be named the All-Big Country Coach of the Year because there are so many great coaches in the area.

“It’s a tribute to the great kids I have had the opportunity to coach,” she said. “They bought into my philosophy and they strive to be successful.”


Cutline: HPU alumna Heather Hohertz, kneeling, was recently named the All-Big Country Coach of the Year for Classes 4A-6A by the Abilene Reporter-News. She is pictured with members of her Lady Lions basketball team. Photo contributed.