BROWNWOOD – May 3, 2016 – Six Howard Payne University students were recently honored for acts of servant leadership on campus and in the community. The awards were presented during HPU’s annual Servant Leadership Program.
“We are pleased to be able to honor students who have distinguished themselves through service to others,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “Servant leaders do not serve others in order to be recognized, of course, but we are happy to honor those students who have honored HPU and Christ through their acts of service.”
Xavier McFalls, senior exercise and sport science major from Amarillo, and Kelsan Wolverton, senior cross-cultural studies major from Lampasas, were presented the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award. HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to juniors Jaclyn Bonner, communication major from Lytle; Joshua Dykes, youth ministry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Mount Pleasant; TaShana Hooker, music instrumental major from Carrollton; and Dillon Hughes, youth ministry major from Plano.
The Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was established in 1998 to honor the life of the late Dr. Nat Tracy, a member of HPU’s Bible faculty from 1950-1975.
Xavier McFalls has participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes all four years at HPU and as a leader within the organization for two years. He has also participated in the Baptist Student Ministry through which he led the athlete discipleship ministry. He additionally served as captain of HPU’s football team and as chaplain within HPU’s Student Government Association among other leadership roles on campus.
Kelsan Wolverton has also participated in numerous roles and activities on campus including serving with Jacket Ambassadors, the Student Activities Committee, the Student Planning Committee and the BSM. She additionally served as historian and president of HPU’s Ministerial Alliance and as chaplain and president of the Alpha Psi Omega organization. She has been a student worker for the Office of University Services throughout her HPU career.
Established in 2007 by the Moore Foundation and Barney II Foundation, the HPU Servant Leadership Award recognizes student excellence in the areas of leadership and service. A $1,000 scholarship is provided to each recipient of the award, and each student designates $250 of the scholarship award to be given to his or her chosen charity.
Jaclyn Bonner serves as a resident assistant in HPU’s Veda Hodge Hall, as president of Gamma Beta Phi, as a columnist for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper and as the HPU representative on the executive committee of the Christian Association of Student Leaders. Additionally, she is active with the Student Government Association, Model United Nations and numerous other organizations.
Joshua Dykes serves as a resident assistant in HPU’s Jennings Hall and is a member of the Student Government Association, Mock Trial, the BSM and several other on-campus organizations. He additionally began a men’s Bible study in his residence hall and assisted with founding HPU’s Spanish Club so that students could be enabled to spread the Gospel to Spanish-speaking people.
TaShana Hooker serves as a student worker for HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts and as a three-year member of the Yellow Jacket Band through which she was named head drum major. She is the vice president of HPU’s chapter of the Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority and has served on mission trips through the BSM.
Dillon Hughes has participated each semester at HPU with the BSM and the Ministerial Alliance. He has additionally served in the student ministry at Brownwood’s Coggin Baptist Church and Southside Baptist Church and has gone on mission trips with the BSM and Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions.
Nominations for both the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award and the HPU Servant Leadership Award are solicited each spring from HPU staff, faculty and students.
“This year, 18 different members of the faculty, staff or student body nominated 12 different students for the awards,” said Dr. Auvenshine. “This is the largest number of people making nominations and the largest number of nominees we have had in several years. We felt that all 12 of the nominees were deserving of recognition. I’m thankful to serve at a university that values servant-leadership qualities among its students.”
Cutline: Six HPU students were recently recognized for their servant-leader qualities. Left to right: Kelsan Wolverton, TaShana Hooker, Xavier McFalls, Dillon Hughes, Jaclyn Bonner and Joshua Dykes.