News Archives

Final preparations underway for HPU Homecoming 2015

Homecoming banner installation for webBROWNWOOD – October 15, 2015 – The Howard Payne University Homecoming banner was installed today at HPU’s Mims Auditorium, the site of registration for the event. Homecoming activities, many of which are open to the community, will be held this Friday and Saturday. A complete list of events and corresponding ticket information is available online at

Homecoming 2015 was made possible through the generosity of the following sponsors: Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce (Pep Rally), the HPU Alumni Association (Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet), Early Chamber of Commerce (Picnic on the Plaza), Willie’s T’s (Decades Breakfast), Underwood’s Cafeteria (Cobbler on the Campus), Early Blooms & Things (Registration), Wendlee Broadcasting (Golden Graduate Luncheon), Big Country Ford (Parade), Mills County State Bank (Little Jackets’ Nest), TexasBank (Departmental Receptions), Dr Pepper Bottling, Citizens National Bank, Painter & Johnson Financial, Porter Insurance Agency, Winstar Marketing, Adidas, PF&E Oil Company, United Supermarkets, Robnett Integra Insurance Services and Smith & Sharpe Insurance.


Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s maintenance department install a banner at Mims Auditorium in anticipation of Homecoming 2015.

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.


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 to present “Godspell” musical during Homecoming 2015

By Christy Ash, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2015 – Howard Payne University will present the musical Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz, in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming 2015 festivities. The showings will be October 15, 16 and 17, beginning at 8:00 p.m. each evening. Tickets may be purchased at the door and are $8 for adults and $5 for HPU students and children under 13.

Godspell portrays Jesus’ followers as they experience His parables through a variety of games, storytelling and comedy. The show uses musical styles that range from pop to vaudeville.

Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music, serves as director of the musical.

“I’m sure the fun and games in this show are not exactly the dynamic between Jesus and His disciples, but there must have been more of that than we realize between these dear friends who traveled together during Jesus’ ministry on earth,” she said. “Jesus invested His life in teaching the disciples what it means to love and care for others. He did it in ways they could understand – parables.”

Cast members include Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music; Brett Ellis, senior from Brownwood; Timothy Emery, junior from Brownwood; Marissa Godbey, sophomore from Austin; Josiah Horton, senior from Lockhart; Isaac Howell, junior from Georgetown; Victoria Malone, junior from Fort Worth; Brittany Martin, senior from Goldthwaite; Danielle Strickland, sophomore from Boerne; and Elizabeth Wallace, senior from Snyder. Nick Ewen, assistant professor of theatre, serves as technical director and Bryce McWhirter, sophomore from Pflugerville, serves as stage manager.

Band members are Joseph Dunlap, adjunct instructor of music; Jonathan Grady, 2014 HPU graduate; Angel Hernandez, junior from Brownwood; Micah Huebner, senior from Brazoria; Drew Lambert, senior from Brownwood; Dillon Phillips, music consultant; and Garrett Ratliff, sophomore from Cherokee.


Photo cutline: HPU will present the musical Godspell during Homecoming 2015. Dress rehearsal photo by Christy Ash, HPU junior.

HPU library to host authors’ reception and display during Homecoming 2015

Homecoming 2015 Library display for webBROWNWOOD – October 12, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Walker Memorial Library will host an Authors’ Reception and Archival Display in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming 2015 festivities. The reception will be held Saturday, October 17, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the HPU library. The library will remain open until noon on Saturday.

Sixteen authors will participate in the event – all HPU alumni, faculty or staff – and many of the authors’ books will be available for purchase. Additionally, several HPU yearbooks from various years will also be available for purchase during the reception.

Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries, said coffee and muffins, free of charge, will be served in the main lobby of the library for Homecoming guests.

“We look forward to seeing alumni and community members at the library during the Homecoming celebrations,” she said. “This is a great opportunity to meet these authors and learn more about HPU’s history.”

For a full list of participating authors and more information about Homecoming 2015, visit


Photo cutline: Photos, books and memorabilia will be on display at HPU’s Walker Memorial Library during Homecoming 2015.

HPU Concert Choir to preview fall concert at Homecoming

hc choir 2014 for webBy Amy Pitman, HPU communications assistant

BROWNWOOD – October 8, 2015 – The Howard Payne University Concert Choir will perform a brief preview of the group’s fall concert as part of HPU’s Homecoming festivities on Saturday, October 17, 11:00-11:30 a.m. The concert will be held in Grace Chapel in the Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center on the HPU campus. The HPU Concert Choir is under the direction of Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities.

Selections to be performed include “Sing a Mighty Song,” by Daniel Gawthrop; “Esto Les Digo,” by Kinley Lange, a former HPU student; “Psalm 23” by Paul Basler, featuring sophomore Carissa Cromer, playing French horn; “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, arranged by Harry Simeone; and “The Storm is Passing Over,” arranged by Larry Nickel. Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music, is the accompanist for the choir.

The HPU Heritage Singers, also under Dr. Garrett’s direction, will also perform one piece, “Seasons of Love,” from the musical Rent. The accompanist for the Heritage Singers is Joseph Dunlap, adjunct instructor of music. As is HPU custom, the concert will end with alumni and former choir members joining the current choir to sing “Send Me, O Lord, Send Me.”

“The choir’s Homecoming concert is a great opportunity for us to give a preview of our fall concert,” says Dr. Garrett. “We are always grateful for the support we receive from the HPU family.”

The public is encouraged to attend this concert, and there is no charge for admission. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: The HPU Concert Choir is pictured during Homecoming 2014 at Grace Chapel.

Student Speaker Bureau reps HPU at Colorado tournament

SSB Fall 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – October 8, 2015 – Howard Payne’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at Colorado State University-Pueblo in Parliamentary debate and British Parliamentary debate, as well as in individual events. The competition was cohosted by the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado College. Twenty-three schools from 14 states competed.

Christopher Freeland of Brownwood, Reagan Grisham of Arlington, Nashota Isbell of Brownwood and Aimee Orozco of Shepherd engaged in Parliamentary debate.

“This was the first time for these four students to compete in Parliamentary debate,” said Dr. Julie Welker, SSB coach and chair of the Department of Communication. “It’s always overwhelming competing in six debate rounds in one day – and these students improved significantly during the tournament.”

Braxton Clark of Southlake, Ashley Moon of Waxahachie, Luis Ortiz of Early and Morgan Ashmore of Weatherford competed in British Parliamentary debate.

“British Parliamentary debate focuses on international issues and policies,” explained Dr. Welker. “These students debated topics ranging from the EU refugee crisis to gender issues to university accreditation issues.”

In November, these four students will travel to Oxford University to participate in the Oxford IV, the world’s third-largest debate tournament.

Receiving awards were Christopher Freeland, 5th place in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking and 1st place in Novice Prose; Reagan Grisham and Christopher Freeland, 5th in Dramatic Duo; and Aimee Orozco, 6th place in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking.

Students also enjoyed sightseeing at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

The HPU speech and debate team will next compete at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Tournament Fall Championships in Corpus Christi, Nov. 6-7.


Photo cutline: The Student Speaker Bureau, HPU’s speech and debate team, recently competed at Colorado State University-Pueblo. They are pictured on the HPU campus. Left to right: Christopher Freeland, Morgan Ashmore, Braxton Clark, Reagan Grisham, Luis Ortiz, Ashley Moon, Dr. Julie Welker, Aimee Orozco and Nashota Isbell.

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.


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

HPU announces Homecoming parade route

Parade Route Map 2015BROWNWOOD – October 7, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Homecoming parade, a longstanding community tradition, will be held Saturday, October 17, at 9:30 a.m.

Beginning at the Brownwood Coliseum, the parade will travel north on Baker St., turn left onto Center Ave., move across Austin Ave. and enter campus. The procession will end in front of HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center on Center Ave. The best areas to view the parade are downtown and on campus along Center Ave.

The parade will feature student-designed floats and other attractions including the HPU Yellow Jacket Marching Band and the HPU mascot, Buzzsaw. Additionally, there will be a variety of floats and participants from the community.

“HPU’s Homecoming parade is a favorite among members of the campus community and the Brownwood community alike,” said Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations. “Participants are already hard at work on their floats.”

The Homecoming parade is sponsored by Big Country Ford of Brownwood. A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available online at

Click here to download the parade route (PDF).

HPU to recognize 10 honorees during Homecoming 2015

BROWNWOOD – October 7, 2015 – Howard Payne University will recognize 10 individuals during the Homecoming 2015 celebrations, October 16-17.

This year’s honorees include Dr. Dan Crawford ’64, Distinguished Alumnus; Dr. Sally M. (Davis) Kozoll ’61, Distinguished Alumna; Jeff Mitchell ’02, Outstanding Young Graduate; Melba (Harrelson) Barger ’58, Coming Home Queen; Betty Broome ’95, Medal of Service; Gene Deason ’72, Medal of Service; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Grand Marshal; Joe Cardenas ’77, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award; Tim Brasher ’95, Sports Hall of Fame; and Don Kelso ’80, Sports Hall of Fame.

Nine of the individuals will be recognized during the Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, sponsored by the HPU Alumni Association, on Friday, October 16. The banquet begins at 5 p.m. For ticket information, visit or call (325) 649-8044. The Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service award will be presented during the Hispanic Alumni Breakfast on Saturday, October 17.

For more information about these and other Homecoming events, visit

Dr. Dan Crawford ’64, Distinguished Alumnus

Dr. Dan Crawford for webAccording to Dr. Dan Crawford, almost everything he has done since graduation – including public speaking, preaching, teaching and writing – has its roots in what he learned during his time at HPU.

Dr. Crawford received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible with minors in English and religious education in 1964. During his four years at HPU, he was involved in the Baptist Student Union, the Life Service Band and the Ministerial Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for HPU’s Alumni Association and is a past president of the organization.

Following his time at HPU, Dr. Crawford went on to study at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received his Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees in 1967, 1976 and 1981, respectively.

Dr. Crawford has served in a variety of ministerial and teaching roles and has spoken, ministered and traveled in all 50 states and more than 55 countries. He has written for a number of Christian publications and is the author of “Dr. Dan’s Monday Morning Manna” posted online every week at

His wife, Joanne (Cunningham) Crawford, is a 1965 HPU graduate. The couple has two children, Danna (Crawford) Presbaugh and James Crawford, and two grandchildren, Whitney (Presbaugh) Kennedy, a 2014 HPU graduate, and Price Presbaugh. Dr. and Mrs. Crawford reside in Fort Worth.

Dr. Sally M. (Davis) Kozoll ’61, Distinguished Alumna

Dr. Sally Kozoll for webDr. Sally M. (Davis) Kozoll said HPU has encouraged her by nurturing in her a strong value system along with service and compassion for others.

Dr. Kozoll is a 1961 graduate of HPU with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a minor in speech. She also attended Texas State University where she obtained her Master of Education degree in special education. She received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of New Mexico with a major in foundations of education and minors in psychology and anthropology. She currently serves as a tenured professor at the University of New Mexico.

During her time at HPU, Dr. Kozoll participated in student organizations such as Mission Band, Friday Extra, College Theater, Jacket Coeds, Psi Upsilon Chi (psychology) and Beta Gamma Pi (science).

Dr. Kozoll is a consultant with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, through which she worked with seven nations to develop substance-abuse prevention programs for youth. She also serves and consults with organizations in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

Dr. Kozoll and her husband, Dr. Richard Kozoll, who is a preventative medicine physician, work together on many projects to improve the health and well-being of often-forgotten and under-served rural people groups. The couple lives in Cuba, N.M.

Jeff Mitchell ’02, Outstanding Young Graduate

Jeff Mitchell for webBrownwood resident Jeff Mitchell said devotion and care from his HPU family was a major influence in who he became in life. Mitchell received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and computer information systems with a minor in mathematics from HPU in 2002. He participated in many activities during his time at HPU, including cheerleading, band and the Baptist Student Ministry.

Mitchell began working for Kohler Company in 1999 as a part-time employee while still a student at HPU. He has since held a variety of progressive management positions with the company and today serves as pottery superintendent, directing a workforce of approximately 760 associates. In addition to his HPU degree, Mitchell earned a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Houston.

Mitchell is involved in a number of church and civic activities and credits mentors among HPU’s faculty and staff for his successes in leadership.

His wife, Kristy (Snider) Mitchell graduated from HPU in 2000. The couple has two sons, Tyler and Peyton.

Melba (Harrelson) Barger ’58, Coming Home Queen

Melba Barger for webMelba (Harrelson) Barger of Brownwood has many cherished memories from her time at HPU, including participating in the university’s first Chime Out ceremony.

Barger graduated from HPU in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a minor in art education. While at HPU, she participated in Alpha Chi, the Life Service Band, Future Teachers of America and the Veda Hodge Hall dorm council. In 1957, she served as editor of the Lasso yearbook.

Barger went on to receive her Master of Arts in social rehabilitation and social services from Sam Houston State University. Her thesis was titled An Investigation into Family Size and Classification Status of Instructional Youth. She taught public school for 30 years before retiring in 1995.

Barger and her husband, the late Dann Barger, also a 1958 graduate, married one day after their HPU graduation. They were married for 52 years until his death in 2010. The couple has two sons, Jon Harrell Barger (wife Kimberly) and James Michael Barger (wife Tammy), and five grandchildren – Evan, Dana, Holli, Alexandria and Garrett.

Betty Broome ’95, Medal of Service

Betty Broome for webBetty Broome of Brownwood attended HPU as a non-traditional student while taking night classes and working full-time for the university. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1995.

Broome was named to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities list in 1994. She also served as second-vice president for the HPU Woman’s Club and received the organization’s prestigious Yellow Rose award in 2012. HPU presented her with the Outstanding Staff Member Award in 2004 and with Excellence in Service awards in 1999 and 2003.

Among other roles, Broome worked as an executive assistant to six different university presidents during her 26 years as a staff member at HPU. Upon retirement, she was named Executive Assistant to the President Emeritus.

Broome remains active at HPU, serving as secretary of the Retired Employees Association. Additionally, she enjoys attending HPU functions including sporting events, concerts, theatre productions, Homecoming and more. She also serves as a member of the Retired Faculty/Staff Area Steering Committee for HPU’s A Call to Send campaign and assists with the scheduling of volunteers for the university’s Food & Essentials Pantry.

Broome and her husband, Clois, have three daughters: Kim Moore, Lara Haddock (husband Jim), and Amy Spargo ’94 (husband Ben ’94). The couple has six grandchildren: James Haddock, Amber Moore, Jack Haddock, Kate Haddock, Emma Spargo and Grant Spargo.

Gene Deason ’72, Medal of Service

Gene Deason for webWith experience as editor of HPU’s Yellow Jacket student newspaper, Gene Deason used his time at HPU to prepare for his long career in journalism.

Deason graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a minor in journalism in 1972. In addition to leading the Yellow Jacket staff, Deason served in the Student Government Association and became a member of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society during his senior year. He was a member of several other student organizations including Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Chi journalism society and Circle K International.

While a student at HPU, Deason served as a part-time reporter for the Brownwood Bulletin from 1969 to 1972. He went on to become a full-time reporter after college and then managing editor, executive editor and assistant publisher at the Bulletin between 1972 and 2000. Deason additionally served at the Stephenville Empire Tribune and Alice Echo News before returning to serve as editor at the Brownwood Bulletin in 2004, the position he held until his retirement in 2012.

Among his many civic activities, Deason is chairman of the Board of Directors for HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and board secretary for HPU’s Alumni Association.

Deason’s wife, Valeri (Chambers) Deason, is a 1973 HPU graduate. The couple lives in Brownwood and has two children, Amy (Deason) Slaughter and Trey Deason, and one grandson, Ross Everett Slaughter.

Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Grand Marshal

Dr. Mitzi Lehrer for webBrownwood native Dr. Mitzi Lehrer retired as associate professor of education in 2015 following 19 years of service to HPU. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in HPU’s School of Education.

Dr. Lehrer received a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics from Baylor University in 1962. She went on to complete her Master of Education degree in 1986 from Abilene Christian University and her Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from Baylor University in 1997.

Prior to her career at HPU, Dr. Lehrer taught for 30 years in a number of public school districts across the state.

Dr. Lehrer served on a variety of committees at HPU and as a faculty sponsor for Kappa Delta Pi. Among other accomplishments, she led student groups from the School of Education on trips to London in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Dr. Lehrer additionally has several family ties to the university including her mother and brother, as well as her uncle, Dr. Guy D. Newman, HPU president from 1955 to 1973. She and her late husband, Wayne, have two children, Robert Lehrer (wife Liz) and Mary Lehrer. They also have two grandchildren, Jacob and Joshua Lehrer.

Joe Cardenas ’77, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award

Joe Cardenas for webJoe Cardenas of Brownwood, this year’s recipient of the Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award, was mentored by Dr. Rivas who encouraged him to attend HPU. Cardenas graduated from HPU in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a minor in history. He attended the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom (today the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy) as a Hatton W. Sumners Scholarship recipient and also participated in student organizations including Kappa Delta Pi and La Hora Bautista.

While a student at HPU, Cardenas served as dorm supervisor, campus supervisor and behavioral trainer for the Texas Youth Commission.

He went on to obtain his Master of Education degree and superintendent certification from Tarleton State University. Employed by Brownwood ISD for 25 years, Cardenas currently serves as a BISD administrator.

Cardenas was a U.S. Army Sergeant and Vietnam veteran honorably discharged. He is married to Ronnie (Wise) Cardenas, a 1981 HPU graduate. The couple has three children – Natalie ’13, Juanita Mercedes ’14 and Gabriel, an HPU junior.

Tim Brasher ’95, Sports Hall of Fame

Tim Brasher for webBrownwood resident Tim Brasher said professors at HPU reinforced family values and taught him to balance life’s priorities. Brasher graduated from the university in 1995 with a degree in exercise and sport science.

While at HPU, Brasher was named the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) men’s tennis Player of the Year during his senior season of 1994. Additionally, Brasher helped lead the team to a TIAA championship in 1991 and NAIA and NCAA III national tournament appearances in 1991 and 1994. In three seasons, he received 2nd and 1st Team All-TIAA honors, twice a NAIA All-District selection.

Upon graduating, Brasher served as HPU head tennis coach from 1995 to 1997. He guided the women’s team to an American Southwest Conference championship and a NCAA III national tournament appearance in 1996. That same year, he was named TIAA women’s Coach of the Year. On the men’s side, Brasher led the Yellow Jackets to an ASC Championship in 1997 and to two appearances in the NCAA III national tournament. He also was tabbed as the ASC men’s Coach of the Year in 1997.

Today, he runs a successful business, Brasher & Co., in Brownwood. He and his wife, Michelle, have three children – Blake, Lilly and Abby.

Don Kelso ’80, Sports Hall of Fame

Don Kelso for webBig Spring resident Don Kelso said HPU taught him to work hard and stay faithful even while being an underdog. As an All-American defensive lineman for the Yellow Jackets in 1979, he would go on to sign free-agent contracts with the Houston Oilers and Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL).

Kelso graduated from HPU in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and health with a minor in history. He went on to serve as a teacher and coach for more than 30 years with stints in McCamey, Crosbyton, Jacksboro and Big Spring.

After redshirting his freshman year of 1975 at HPU, Kelso would start at offensive guard for two seasons, earning 2nd Team All-Lone Star Conference honors. He then moved to the defensive side of the ball his junior and senior seasons of 1978 and 1979. He was 2nd Team All-Lone Star Conference his junior season and 1st Team All-Lone Star Conference along with his All-American honor in his senior year of 1979.

Kelso stays involved in his local church by serving as a deacon. Additionally, he teaches a Sunday School class for adult couples. Kelso and his wife, Jean (Barnes), whom he met at HPU, have two sons: Clayton (wife Kelsey) and Brendon. The couple has two grandchildren, Brenley and Cannon.