News Archives

Four selected as HPU Sumners Scholars

HPU Sumners Scholars 2017 for webBROWNWOOD – June 2, 2017 – Four students from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were recently selected as Sumners Scholars. 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 are Jessica Catlett, sophomore from Alleyton; Augusta Johnson, junior from Gatesville; Tyler Olin, sophomore from Howe; and Emma Reed, junior from Kennedale.

Students are selected for the competitive four-semester program after an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation. 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 also 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.

“The Sumners Scholars Program is an amazing benefit for our students in terms of both financial assistance and academic opportunities,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy. “We’re grateful to the Sumners Foundation for its ongoing support of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and its initiatives.”

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


Cutline: Four students from HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were named Sumner Scholars. Left to right: Tyler Olin, Augusta Johnson, Emma Reed and Jessica Catlett.

HPU alumnus honored for heroism

Eric VillanuebaBROWNWOOD – June 1, 2017 – Corporal Eric “Villy” Villanueba, a 2014 Howard Payne University graduate, was recently honored by the Garland Police Department for taking heroic, life-saving actions after rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle.

Cpl. Villanueba, then a deputy in the Hood County Sheriff’s Office, was on his way home from work last November when he witnessed the single-vehicle accident in Garland. A car went over a bridge, landed on its hood and immediately caught on fire.

“It was about two or three in the morning and I was the only one around,” said Cpl. Villanueba. “I sprinted down the hill praying that there wasn’t more than one person in the car because I knew it would be hard to get everyone out.”

As the flames were near the front of the vehicle, Cpl. Villanueba used his baton to break the back window and a knife to cut through the deployed airbags. Unable to see clearly, he called out but received no response.

“I crawled into the car and saw someone in the driver’s seat, hanging from the seatbelt,” he said. “She was unresponsive and bleeding severely.”

As the flames grew closer, Cpl. Villanueba cut the woman’s seatbelt and began to drag her toward the back window. Others had arrived on scene by that time and helped him pull the woman from the car.

“By God’s grace, it was perfect timing,” he said. “The car engulfed in flames as soon as we got out.”

Cpl. Villanueba, now an officer with Palmer Police Department, credits his training for his quick actions.

“We’re trained to do things like that even if our lives are at risk,” he said. “My only thought was to save as many people as I could.”

He is thankful for education he received through HPU’s criminal justice program.

“Howard Payne gave me a servant’s heart,” he said. “Professors like Lynn Humeniuk teach you how to serve others and be there for others. HPU is where I rededicated my life to God.”

Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program, said she was not surprised to learn that Cpl. Villanueba saved a life.

“He was born to serve and protect,” she said. “As an undergraduate on the HPU campus, Villy was popular with faculty and students and he was a leader who continually gave above and beyond what was needed to get a job completed. I have seen him several times since November and only learned last week from someone else that he saved a woman’s life. He is humble in that way, and a true professional in every sense of the word. I am very proud of this HPU graduate from the criminal justice program, and I know that God will continue to use him in a mighty way.”


Cutline: Corporal Eric “Villy” Villanueba, a 2014 HPU graduate, was recently honored by the Garland Police Department for his heroic, life-saving actions.

HPU’s forensic science program acquires mass spectrometer

Mass Spectrometer for webBROWNWOOD – May 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s forensic science program recently acquired an Agilent tandem gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an analytical instrument that helps to identify chemicals based on molecular mass and ionic charge and is commonly used in many fields of science.

The equipment was acquired as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration South Central Laboratory’s routine turnover program.

“The DEA laboratory upgrades its instrumentation every five years,” said Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of physical science and head of HPU’s forensic science program. “The previous laboratory director instituted a program whereby he donated the outgoing instrumentation to academic programs who train students in disciplines that could benefit the DEA in the future.”

Through this program, HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics received a donation of a tandem gas chromatograph-FT infrared spectrophotometer in 2010, and this latest acquisition further complements the analytical capabilities of HPU’s applied science programs.

“The greatest value of these generous donations is the experience that students gain by working with research-grade instruments that we would not otherwise be able to afford and that students in other programs may not be able to operate independently at the undergraduate level,” said Dr. Smith. “We are deeply grateful for the beneficial relationship that we enjoy with Director Jerry A. Walker and the DEA laboratory.”


Cutline: Students in Dr. Smith’s instrumental analysis class perform initial trials with the university’s new mass spectrometer, implementing methods they obtained from research articles.

HPU Biomedical Science Advisory Board holds inaugural meeting

Biomedical Science Advisory Board May 2017BROWNWOOD – May 17, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s first Biomedical Science Advisory Board meeting was held on May 5 in the university’s Mabee University Center.

The Biomedical Science Advisory Board consists of local health professionals who represent specific areas of practice. They will engage with HPU’s biomedical science scholars in various ways including hosting student medical internships and speaking about their fields in the university’s Health Professions Seminar course.

At this first meeting, board members discussed aspects of their professions that students need to learn beyond academic training. The board also helped inform plans for a health care seminar series that HPU’s Biomedical Science Program will offer beginning this fall for both the university and the community.

Board members for the 2017-2018 academic year are Dr. Rance Boren, medicine/neurology; Dr. Kevin Clardy, dentistry; Michael Cloy, physician assistant; Dr. Randy Ethridge, optometry; Jennifer Evans, physician assistant; Dr. Joshua Hawver, pharmacy; Dr. Gayland Gowdy, veterinary medicine; Dr. Peter Ness, medicine/ophthalmology; Shannon Sims, physical therapy; Dr. Amy Tindol, medicine/internal medicine; Dr. Jeff Windham, veterinary medicine; and Dr. Lorin Wolf, chiropractic.

“We are honored to have each of these board members support our program’s efforts in developing well-educated, compassionate, integrity-minded medical professionals,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, program director and associate professor of biology.

HPU’s new four-year Biomedical Science Program is for students pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, biomedical engineering, biomedical research and other human-health fields. The rigorous program, set within HPU’s distinctive Christian liberal arts framework, exceeds requirements for most health professions programs. In addition to completing a robust slate of academic coursework, scholars in the program will experience medical internships, skills clinics, mock interviews, mentorship with local health professionals and program visits to various professional schools in Texas.

For more information, contact Dr. Hutchins at 325-649-8158 or


Cutline: Dr. Kristen Hutchins leads the discussion during the HPU Biomedical Science Advisory Board’s inaugural meeting on May 5.

Recent HPU graduate accepted into forensic science graduate program

Kierstyn Evans for webBROWNWOOD – May 16, 2017 – Among the Howard Payne University seniors who crossed the stage during HPU’s recent Commencement ceremony was Kierstyn Evans of Anson. Evans, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science, has been accepted into the forensic science graduate program at Texas Tech University.

Evans is a lifelong fan of Texas Tech and originally planned to earn her undergraduate degree there as well.

“Tech was my dream school,” she said. “I wasn’t planning on going anywhere else.”

Upon learning that the university did not offer an undergraduate forensic science major, however, she was left with a big choice.

“I was either going to stick with forensic science and go to a different school or change my major to go to my dream school,” she said.

Despite being accepted to Texas Tech during her senior year of high school, she decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in forensic science. She took to the Internet to research her options.

Around that same time, she learned about HPU through her high school band director and associate band director, both of whom are alumni. When HPU came up in her searches for undergraduate forensic science programs in Texas, she decided to visit campus.

“I remember that my tour guide talked about how close everyone is on campus,” Evans said. “The more I looked into Howard Payne, the more I liked it.”

The forensic science offering at HPU is a relatively unique program, said Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of physical science and director of the chemistry program.

“Most universities that offer training in forensic science include it as an emphasis under criminal justice, rather than as a standalone major,” he said.

A forensic science major combined with HPU’s friendly campus atmosphere made the university an obvious choice for Evans. She served as a Jacket Ambassador for HPU’s Office of Admission as a student, leading her own university tours.

“I told prospective students that they will have professors who truly care about them,” she said. “There was a professor I had my freshman year who still knew my major and remembered things we talked about years later. I don’t think you can get that from other universities.”

Though it wasn’t what she originally planned, Evans is happy with her decision to come to HPU first.

“I love Howard Payne,” she said. “Especially being from a small town, I feel like I would have gotten lost in the crowd at Tech. I like the small classes at HPU.”

Dr. Smith said Evans is the first student whose progress he has witnessed from beginning to end.

“She enrolled in general chemistry I with me and concluded in instrumental analysis this spring,” he said. “Few students have been willing to enroll in the full complement of chemistry courses that the forensic science degree requires, but Kierstyn persevered. I am proud of her accomplishment and look forward to news of her continued success.”

Another big factor in Evans’ decision to come to HPU was the Central Texas Scholarship which awards substantial financial assistance to graduates from high schools in Jones County and other counties in the Central Texas area. For more information about this and other financial aid opportunities, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Kierstyn Evans, a recent HPU graduate, has been accepted into the forensic science graduate program at Texas Tech University.

HPU honors criminal justice interns

criminal justice internsBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s criminal justice program recently ended the spring 2017 semester by recognizing 19 students for the completion of internships.

The students completed 150 hours of service which reflected three credit hours toward their majors in criminal justice. Internships included working with “at risk” students and adults at local, state and federal agencies as well as positions with law enforcement agencies and many other service organizations that help students prepare for future careers in the field of criminal justice.

“These students gave 150 hours to the agencies where they served and in the process gained valuable hands-on experience in the career fields they have chosen to pursue,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program. “I am always very grateful to all the agencies that accept our interns as they guide them to become professionals in the field.”

Those recognized included Rebecca Blohm of Midlothian, intern with the Ron Jackson Unit; Jerry Bromley of Santa Anna, intern with the San Saba Probation Department; Balentin Carranco of Georgetown, intern with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Shanique Davis-Campbell of Savannah, Georgia, intern with the Savannah County Sheriff’s Office; Jordan Easterling of Junction, intern with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; Roberto Godinez of El Paso, intern with the El Paso Police Department; James Hair of Brownwood, intern with the City of Early; Brady Hardin of Fort Worth, intern with HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Jack Judd of Brownwood, intern with HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Taylor Kent of Blanket, intern with Haynes Law Firm; Daniel Meza of Brownwood, intern with the Boys & Girls Club of Brown County; Kyle Ramon of Floresville, intern with the Brownwood Police Department; Stephen Skelton of Brownwood, intern with Brownwood Independent School District; Serayah Smith of Fredericksburg, intern with the Fredericksburg Police Department; Wesley Smith of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, intern with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Michelle Teague of Gorman, intern with Hope Home Ministry; Niki Terway of Brownwood, intern with New Horizons Ranch; Blake Wynn of Rockwall, intern with HPU’s Department of Public Safety; and Andres Zambrano of Brownwood, intern with Johnson Law Firm.

Internship supervisors included Deputy Pete Bastardo, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Chassidy Carroll, Hope Home Ministry; Officer Kyle Coker, San Saba Probation Department; Officer David Creed, HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Assistant Chief James Fuller, Brownwood Police Department; Mayor Stephen Haynes, Haynes Law Firm; Jason Johnson, Johnson Law Firm; Lauren Jones, Ron Jackson Unit; Larry McConn, City of Early; Lee McHorse, New Horizons Ranch; Assistant Chief Bob Pacatte, HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Maria Suarez, El Paso Police Department; Chief Steven Wetz, Fredericksburg Police Department; Danny Willingham, Boys & Girls Club of Brown County; and Captain Malcolm Wilkes, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Also in attendance was Sheriff Vance Hill, Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Applications for admission are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU criminal justice interns are pictured with field supervisors and HPU faculty. Left to right: Officer David Creed, Chief Paul Lilly, Blake Wynn, Jack Judd, Sheriff Vance Hill, Michelle Teague, Deputy Pete Bastardo, Wesley Smith, Daniel Meza, Kyle Ramon, Brady Hardin, James Hair, Taylor Kent, Lynn Humeniuk and Assistant Chief James Fuller. Interns not pictured are Rebecca Blohm, Jerry Bromley, Shanique Campbell-Davis, Balentin Carranco, Jordan Easterling, Roberto Godinez, Stephen Skelton, Serayah Smith, Niki Terway and Andres Zambrano.

HPU’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda brings home several awards from state competition

Phi Beta LambdaBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2017 – Students from Howard Payne University’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda recently won several awards at the State Leadership Conference (SLC) at San Jacinto College Maritime Campus in LaPorte. These wins qualify them for HPU’s third showing in recent history at the National Leadership Conference to be held this year in Anaheim, California, June 24-27.

Jody Loudamy of Goldthwaite and Jessica Harris of Brownwood, both May 2017 graduates, made the trip to the SLC which resulted in their wins for the third year in a row. Connor Vara, junior from Brownwood, also won on his first trip to state and will represent HPU at the national conference this summer.

The three were accompanied by their adviser, Mike Daub, associate professor of accounting at HPU. Six other students competed by completing comprehensive exams and/or projects at HPU prior to the SLC.

The three attending the conference came in first place in the Texas Trivia Challenge on information about Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, beating teams from schools across Texas as the only team with a positive score in a “Jeopardy!”-format competition.
HPU swept the competition in Personal Finance with Loudamy receiving first place, Harris receiving second place and Ryan Mason, junior from Houston, placing third.

“This is the first time that a team from one school swept the awards for Personal Finance,” Daub said.

HPU students won five additional awards. Harris placed third in Retail Management; Hannah Ball, May graduate from Justin, placed second in both Computer Applications and Project Management; Madelyn Deviney, junior from Bulverde, placed second in Entrepreneurship Concepts; and Vara placed second in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.

Phi Beta Lambda is the university level of Future Business Leaders of America. State and national leadership conferences allow students to demonstrate their academic preparation and develop their leadership skills by competing against students from all over the state and nation in 55 different competitive events. These competitive events cover technology, public speaking, business, accounting, finance, economics, management, marketing and more.


Cutline: Students from HPU’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda recently competed in the State Leadership Conference. Left to right: Adviser Mike Daub, Hannah Ball, Ryan Mason, Jessica Harris, Connor Vara, Madelyn Deviney and Jody Loudamy.

Registration opens for HPU’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars day camps

operation_innovationBROWNWOOD – May 12, 2017 – Summer is here, but fun and learning continue at Howard Payne University! Registration is now open for HPU’s popular Summer Scholars and Young Scholars day camps scheduled July 17-21 from 9 a.m. to noon each day. The theme is “Operation Innovation” and the programs feature instruction in a variety of subjects including robotics and 3D printing. The camps are open to all students in first through sixth grades.

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades will study robotics, 3D printing, science and recreation. The Young Scholars program is designed for children entering first through third grades and the campers will receive instruction in robotics, science and recreation.

Returning as instructors this summer are Estevan Arbaiza, head men’s soccer coach at HPU who will lead recreation for both camps; Tami Hull, science teacher and robotics coach at Early Middle School who will teach robotics for Summer Scholars; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, assistant professor of biology at HPU who will teach science for Young Scholars; Keith Taylor, robotics coach at Early Elementary School who will teach robotics for Young Scholars; and Dr. Lester Towell, professor and chair of HPU’s Department of Computer Information Systems who will teach 3D printing for Summer Scholars.

“We’re excited to welcome back a fantastic group of teachers for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars camps,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication Studies. “These camps are unlike any other you will find in the area. We focus on innovative learning and having a great time. Many of our campers come back year after year.”

The camps will be held in HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. Program participants will also have supervised access to HPU’s gym, climbing wall and other campus locations.

Cost for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs is $100 per student and includes a souvenir, snacks and supplies. The deadline for registration is July 14.

Online registration is available at For more information about the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs, contact Dr. Welker at 325-649-8508 or via e-mail at

HPU students named 2017 Young Maston Scholars by Logsdon Seminary

Information for this press release was provided by Hardin-Simmons University.

Caitlin Alexander for web
Adam Jones for web

BROWNWOOD – May 5, 2017 – Howard Payne University students Caitlin Alexander, junior from Brownwood, and Adam Jones, senior from Irving, were among 18 Texas Baptist students recently honored as 2017 Young Maston Scholars by Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary. The awards were announced during the 17th annual T.B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics held on the HSU campus.

Each year, officials from partnering Texas Baptist universities nominate two students from their universities to become Young Maston Scholars, an award recognizing outstanding undergraduate students for their interest in, engagement with and integration of Christian ethics. Nominations for the award are based upon a student’s demonstrated faithfulness to the ethical example of Christ; a commitment to Christian ethics lived out in theological inquiry and academic excellence; an established reputation among peers for ethical Christian leadership; and an articulated clarity in an occupational expression of ministry, though it is not required to be in a congregational setting.

Alexander majors in cross-cultural studies and elementary education. Jones, a Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student, majors in Christian education and youth ministry. Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies, nominated the pair for the award.

“I was proud to nominate Caitlin and Adam for this honor from our sister institution,” said Dr. Auvenshine. “They are both excellent representatives of HPU’s values and commitment to Christian education.”

For more information about Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies, visit or call 325-649-8403. More information about Hardin-Simmons University may be found at

HPU New Braunfels Center to host 5K race

HPU 5000 2017 logo for newsBROWNWOOD – May 5, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center will host its second-annual HPU 5000, a 5K race, next Saturday, May 13. The run/walk will begin at 8 a.m. at Pavilion 5 of New Braunfels’ Landa Park. Proceeds from the event will be used to establish scholarships for HPU New Braunfels Center students in need, with a percentage of the proceeds donated to Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD.

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

“We had a great turnout last year and we’re expecting a large crowd again this year,” said Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies. “This is a fun event and a great way to learn more about HPU’s mission in New Braunfels while enjoying the beautiful scenery at Landa Park.”

Based in Brownwood for more than 125 years, 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 130 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs. In fall 2016, the center opened a new facility at 4102 Loop 337, Suite 100, in New Braunfels, and is planning to build a permanent residential campus in conjunction with the Veramendi development project.

“We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from the New Braunfels community over the past five years,” said Dr. Meinecke. “We’re thankful to the community and to the generous sponsors who have made the HPU 5000 possible.”

Sponsors include:

Title Sponsors – Supplize and Veramendi

Gold Sponsors – HMT Engineering & Surveying, McKenna Foundation and Prosperity Bank

Silver Sponsors – Raba Kistner Consultants, Seidel Construction and Texas Goldstar Real Estate

Bronze Sponsors – Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS®, Comal Custom Homes, Edward Jones, Mark Hampton – Century 21 Randall Morris & Associates, Merchant Network, Rougeux and Associates and Soleus Running/Adao Global

In-Kind Sponsors – Orange Leaf and Rockin’ R

For more information about the HPU 5000 or HPU’s academic offerings in New Braunfels, visit or contact the HPU New Braunfels Center at 830-629-2366 or via e-mail at