News Archives

HPU to host area professional singers in “The True Story of Cinderella” this Friday

BROWNWOOD – January 28, 2014 – This Friday evening, January 31, Howard Payne University will host 13 professional singers from Brownwood, Abilene and San Angelo as they gather to present Warren Martin’s tale, The True Story of Cinderella. The concert will be presented in the university’s Grace Chapel at 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

Martin composed Cinderella in 1955 and the premiere at Westminster Choir College was performed by 13 graduate students with the composer at the piano. Cinderella is not a staged work, but is sung in “oratorio style,” with the singers in a row across the front of the platform, facing forward. This performance maintains Martin’s directions for presentation, but there is plenty of interplay between characters to bring out the story and relationships.

The cast includes HPU faculty members Dr. Celeste Church, associate professor of music, and Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music, as well as Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU’s first lady. Other performers include Lynette Chambers, Karen Hogue, Christopher Hollingsworth, Jaynne Middleton, Elisabeth Moss, Paul Piersall, Rick Piersall, Melody Rich and Michael Scarbrough of Abilene and Scott Raines of San Angelo. Cheryl Lemmons of Abilene will accompany the performance on piano.

“It is a rare treat for Brownwood to have so many beautiful voices in one place, but what makes this concert unique is that they come together to tell a story that is loved by both children and adults,” said Dr. Celeste Church. “In the space of an hour, you will hear the story of Cinderella and her dysfunctional family told through music in a humorous and unique way.”

The production is a project of the Great Plains Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. The Great Plains Chapter, formed in 1970, serves the region of West Texas from Midland/Odessa to Brownwood, and from Abilene to San Angelo. In addition to HPU, the schools currently represented by chapter membership are Abilene Christian University, Angelo State University, Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University. Membership is not limited to these schools, however.

Grace Chapel is located in HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center, next to Mims Auditorium. For more information, contact the School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

HPU honors 237 for academic success during fall 2013 semester

BROWNWOOD – January 22, 2014 – Howard Payne University honored 237 students for academic success during the fall 2013 semester. Students must earn a 4.0 grade point average to be named to the President’s List, a 3.65-3.99 grade point average to be named to the Dean’s List and a 3.5-3.64 grade point average to be named to the Honor Roll for all courses attempted while earning not less than twelve semester credit hours of academic coursework during the fall semester.

Ryan Cade Smith, Dean’s List

Ruby Patricia Johnson, Honor Roll

Kaitlin Shawna Leslie, President’s List
Linsey Leeann Reed, President’s List

Whitney Nicole Turnacliff, Dean’s List

Allen Glenn Andrus, Dean’s List

Larissa K. Lynskey, President’s List

Jason Lee Disney, Honor Roll
Eric Michael Shempert, Dean’s List
Rebekah Elizabeth Weaver, President’s List

Steven Austin Mobley, Honor Roll

Sierra Maurette Damron, Dean’s List

Balch Springs
Edgar Villa, Honor Roll

Ely Chance Self, President’s List

Callie Ann Adams, President’s List
Victoria Lee Hardin, Honor Roll
Bertha Mireya Mendoza, President’s List
Presley Neshaydith Parker, Dean’s List

Ben Wheeler
Jarrod Wayne White, Honor Roll

Conner Trent Fisher, President’s List
Katherine Joyce Licce, President’s List

Big Lake
Samantha Lynn Guerrero, Dean’s List

Big Spring
Ethan Michael Yeats, President’s List

Cullan Ross Tidwell, President’s List
Mary Elizabeth Vasquez, Honor Roll

Bloomfield, N.M.
Shaefer Mcintyre Church, President’s List

Bozeman, Mont.
Catherine Joan Smith, Dean’s List

Janis Dianne Groves, President’s List
Susan Nicole Lohn, Honor Roll

Kody Wayne Cissna, Dean’s List
Micah Brannan Huebner, Honor Roll

Kassey Diane Nix, President’s List

Allison Victoria Eaton, President’s List

Jeremy Holland Newm Bartley, President’s List
Nicholas Calvin Bennie, Honor Roll
Melissa R. Bernal, President’s List
Joan Davina Burks, Honor Roll
Juanita Mercedes Cardenas, President’s List
Chasity Dawn Cartwright, Dean’s List
Kenneth Vance Chandler, Dean’s List
Taylor McKay Combs, Dean’s List
Cecil Otis Cox, President’s List
Shylah Marie Cutbirth, President’s List
Hope Elizabeth D’Alessio, Honor Roll
Ennis Davila, President’s List
Carminia Del Toro, President’s List
Raymundo Delgado, Dean’s List
Caleb Nathan Dillard, Honor Roll
Jeffrey Scott Edmondson, Dean’s List
Justin Allen Fisher, President’s List
Amanda Carlie Gober, President’s List
Stephanie Ann Gutierrez, Dean’s List
Meagan Elizabeth Hall, President’s List
Daniel Aaron Harmon, Dean’s List
Michael Jeffrey Harmon, Dean’s List
Christy Benae Hazelwood, Honor Roll
Zachary Edward Herman, President’s List
Jeremy Allen Hogue, President’s List
Molly Jane Hull, Honor Roll
Kelcie Michelle Hunter, President’s List
Jared Briant Huntley, President’s List
Jerry Talton Hurt, President’s List
Megan Michele Irwin, Dean’s List
Taylor Brooke Jordan, Honor Roll
Kindry Cruz Kirbo, President’s List
Bethany Mae Lee, Honor Roll
Andrea Lashaye Leonard, President’s List
Kensey Dena Martinez, Honor Roll
Jarrod Scott McCandless, President’s List
Rachel Brooke McDonald, President’s List
Shauntel Charity McGlothin, Dean’s List
Saulo Elias Mendoza, President’s List
Jessica Marie Powers, President’s List
Priscilla Lynn Rodriguez, Honor Roll
William Thomas Rumfield, Dean’s List
Jasimine Monae Sterling, Dean’s List
Zachary James Tharp, President’s List
Chelsea Lynn Thomason, President’s List
Brogan Shea Turner, President’s List
Sierra Montana Westerman, Honor Roll
Laura Caroll Whiteley, President’s List
Joshua Blain Woods, President’s List
Andres Jose Zambrano, Dean’s List

Aaran Wiley Hopkins, Dean’s List

Caleb Michael McConnell, Dean’s List

Brooke Lyndsey Goad, Dean’s List

Cristina M. Arevalo, Dean’s List
Corissa Lynn Brown, Dean’s List
TaShana Rae Hooker, President’s List

Cedar Park
Emily Janice Peisker, Honor Roll

Neal Edward Kucinski, Honor Roll

Allison Kate Straach, President’s List

Nathan Wayne Byrd, Dean’s List

Corpus Christi
Samuel Lang Hoffman, Dean’s List

Cranfills Gap
Ashley Nicole Sorenson, Honor Roll

Cross Plains
Dianna Jo Megarity, President’s List
Samuel Colton Rockett, Dean’s List

Crystal City
Alberto Joseph Martinez, President’s List

Shardena N. Hudson, Dean’s List

Clarissa Leigh Toler, Honor Roll

Colby Scott Compton, Honor Roll
Ryan Mathew Contreras, Dean’s List
Conner Mac Drew, President’s List
Addison Bryant Ebarb, Dean’s List
Dacia D’Shea Griffin, President’s List
Kevin Fitzgerald Holamon, President’s List
Oscar Manuel Taylor, Honor Roll
Sydni Brooke Thompson, President’s List

Tiffani Rose Peeples, Dean’s List

El Paso
Sarahi Castillo, Honor Roll
Itza Mar Jaramillo, Honor Roll
Robert Hielscher Santos, President’s List

Erie, Colo.
Hannah Elizabeth Jansen, President’s List

Eufaula, Okla.
Erin E. McLeod, Dean’s List

Farmington, N.M.
Zachary H. Sterling, President’s List

Olivia Ann Belsher, Dean’s List

Luis Anthony Robles, President’s List
Daniel William Taylor, President’s List

Flower Mound
Hannah Marie Hicks, President’s List

Fort Davis
Kyla Claire Zimdars, President’s List

Fort Worth
Hannah Joan Ball, Dean’s List
Marissa Nicole Cantu, Honor Roll
Whitney Elisabeth Presbaugh, Honor Roll
Rebekah Lindsay Steadman, Dean’s List
Hannah Elise Williamson, Dean’s List

Chandler Jacob Condra, President’s List

Will Orion Roberts, Honor Roll

Amanda Ruth Driggers, President’s List

Marlie Amanda Austin, Honor Roll
Rachel M. Ellington, President’s List

Murry Roy Clingerman, President’s List
Colton Jess McCabe, Honor Roll
J’lee Angela McCabe, Honor Roll
Kerri Anne Meharg, Honor Roll

Brittany Rachelle Bailey, Dean’s List
Rachel Ann Mahagan, President’s List
Sydney Drew Spencer, Dean’s List
Armando Elvis Valdez, Dean’s List

Tolli Bre Wylie, President’s List

Jaime Leann Swanner, Honor Roll

Evan Andrew Fleming, President’s List

Skyler James Turpin, Honor Roll

Burke Clifton Edwards, Dean’s List
Tyler Kirk Jones, Honor Roll
Kayla Michelle Smith, President’s List
Lawrence Ross Whittet, Dean’s List

Aryn Ashlie Kroeker, President’s List

Richard Austin Young, Honor Roll

Dillon Keith McCord, Dean’s List

Jessi Nicole Jordan, President’s List

Tonya Kara Bloomer, President’s List

Taylor Grace Cook, Honor Roll

Iowa Park
Joshua Lee Farquharson, Dean’s List

Kaleigh Jo Tankersley, Dean’s List

Adam McCoy Jones, President’s List

Andrew Garrett Hultin, Dean’s List

Aaron Michael DePrisco, Honor Roll

Allison Nicole Mantell, Honor Roll

Trent Cameron Gainey, Honor Roll

Amanda Michelle Cruddas, President’s List
Harley Gail Fine, Dean’s List

La Grange
Valerie Hanna Marrs, President’s List

Jennifer Lynn Hilla, Dean’s List
Kelsan Marie Wolverton, Dean’s List
Sharon Allen Wolverton, President’s List

Dulcie Nicole Pepe, Dean’s List
Gloriana Michelle Stolle, Dean’s List

Michelle Marie Hawkins, President’s List
Marion Renee Stearns, Dean’s List

Liberty Hill
Chesney Beth Goza, President’s List
Mason Marie Samsel, Dean’s List

Jill Ann Parson, President’s List

Sydney Marie Westin, Honor Roll

Jaclyn Rose Bonner, President’s List
Katie Rose Bonner, President’s List

Rebecca Danielle McFarland, Honor Roll

Nellie Beau Brieann Clevenger, President’s List
Gage Logan Smith, Dean’s List

Caitlin Courtney Wood, President’s List

Danya Alexandra Rios, Honor Roll

Courtney Reagan Lamberth, Honor Roll
Candace Leeann Montgomery, Honor Roll

Michelle Lynn Florence, Dean’s List

New London, Mo.
Allison Ann Ninedorf, Dean’s List

Rebecca Nicole Hamilton, President’s List

Catherine Elizabeth Haston, President’s List
Katie Dawn Murphy, President’s List

Ashley Ann Wellborn, Dean’s List

Allison Paige Morrison, President’s List

Keaton James Fletcher, President’s List

Erica Renae Lopez, Honor Roll

Katherine Belle Carl, Dean’s List

Red Oak
Analicia Gabriella Guerrero, Dean’s List

Rising Star
Katelyn Anne Pirot, Dean’s List

Nathanael Adams, Dean’s List
Cantrell Oldham Miller, President’s List

Blaine Michael Wynn, Honor Roll

Amber Tabrisha Ren Jones, Dean’s List

Round Rock
Heather Renee Clayton, President’s List
Summer Christine King, Honor Roll

Katherine Elaine Dobson, President’s List
Priscilla Jamaica, Dean’s List
Adrianna Nicole Perez, Dean’s List

Royse City
Hannah Marie Strebeck, Dean’s List

Emily Marie Bird, President’s List

Mikayla Nicole Austin, Honor Roll
Thomas Parker Kyle, President’s List

San Angelo
Cara Ann DeLoach, President’s List
Kristin Leeann Haman, President’s List

San Antonio
Floridalma Campos, President’s List
Ruth Ann Davis, President’s List
Rebecca Marie Etter, Dean’s List
Angelica Maria Gray, President’s List
Arthur Joseph Hettler, Dean’s List
Victoria Rene Krawczynski, President’s List
Julia Mari Rodriguez, Dean’s List
Nathan Richard Weyrauch, Dean’s List

San Juan
Lorien Elisse Rubio, Dean’s List

Santa Anna
Jordan Ashleigh Jewell, Dean’s List

Sarah Jane Van Remmen, President’s List

Vanessa Mae Marquez, President’s List

Sierra Blanca
Rachel Jean Moore, Dean’s List

Spring Branch
Ashley Ann Biering, President’s List

Mallory Laurette Orms, Honor Roll

Courtney Jean Tatum, Dean’s List

Austin James Burt, Honor Roll
Bryson Taylor Wallace, Honor Roll

Zachary Paul Eller, President’s List
Macy Catherine McPherson, President’s List

Diana Rebeca Puente Chavar, President’s List

McKinley Gayle Meyer, Honor Roll

Sarah Delyn Belser, President’s List

Neva Marie Bowers, President’s List

Ivon Teresa Mendoza, Honor Roll

Camryn Leigh D’rubio, Honor Roll

Nicole Ann Bird, Dean’s List

Morgan Paige Ashmore, Honor Roll

Andrew Kirk Stevenson, Dean’s List

Katelyn Marie Wood, President’s List

Lacy Harrison Culpepper, President’s List

HPU students to spend Spring Break ministering to beachgoers

HPU at Beach Reach 2013 for webBROWNWOOD – January 22, 2014 –Though the spring 2014 semester at Howard Payne University began just last week, 23 students are already finalizing their plans for Spring Break. These students will spend the week at South Padre Island, a popular destination for many college students across the country. However, they will have a much different goal than most of the other beachgoers – spreading the Word of Jesus Christ.

“The main focus for us at Beach Reach is pretty simple,” says Keith Platte, director of the HPU Baptist Student Ministry. “We will meet people’s needs, and tell them about Jesus along the way.”

Those needs, Platte explains, include offering safe rides, food and adequate water, and providing a listening ear.

“While we do that, though, we are also concerned for the whole person,” he says. “We realize that though students may be at South Padre Island for a different reason, we are all in the same boat – sinners in need of a Savior. “

This is Platte’s second year to lead an HPU Beach Reach team.

“When we got the opportunity to share freely with people at Beach Reach last year we found that many of the stigmas people have about Christians disappear, and many of the stigmas Christians have about sharing the Gospel disappear,” he says. “You never know how starting a conversation about football, college life, dating, video games, family or even someone’s name can open the doorway to the beginning of life transformation.”

Platte says the community can play two vital roles in the BSM’s trip to South Padre Island.

“The first is prayer,” he says. “We need many people praying as we go. The scene on South Padre Island is one that is not for the weak. There is a spiritual battle going on in the midst of what the world calls ‘a good time.’”

Platte asks the community to be in prayer for the HPU group and the individuals they will encounter, as well as for safety, boldness and overall strength to face the challenges they will meet.

“Mostly, we desire prayer for the Holy Spirit to precede us in everything we do, preparing the way and guiding us to people who are ready to hear the Good News of Christ,” he says.

Platte quotes Matthew 9:37, in which Jesus tells his disciples “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

“We have 23 workers who are willing to go, alongside 700 other college students from across the country, to meet the potential harvest of several thousand beachgoers,” he says. “So, please, we need prayer.”

Secondly, the community is invited to assist the HPU “beach reachers” through financial support. Donations to help offset the trip expenses are welcome. An online donation form is available at

“I am so excited that we have had so many students say yes to this call to serve and share, and we know there are people out there who God uses to support the spreading of the Gospel,” Platte says. “The Apostle Paul didn’t do it on his own in the book of Acts. We know that we cannot do it on our own and we would love to share in the spreading of the Gospel by letting others partner with us.”

For more information about Beach Reach and the HPU Baptist Student Ministry’s other initiatives, visit Platte may be contacted at (325) 649-8319 or via e-mail at


Photo cutline: HPU students will return to South Padre Island to share the Gospel during Spring Break 2014. Last year’s group included (top row, from left) Rebekah Steadman, Jennifer Goff and Alex Caro. Bottom row, from left: Andi Peaster, Xavier McFalls, Allyson Gainey, Lacy Culpepper, Whitney Williams, Kim Lilley and Ruby Johnson.

HPU graduates 62 at December Commencement

BROWNWOOD – January 17, 2014 – Howard Payne University held its December Commencement ceremony at the close of the fall 2013 semester. Receiving their diplomas were 62 August and December graduates.

Students must have a 3.55-3.69 GPA to graduate Cum Laude, a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduates included:

Brandi Le’Anna Morris – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science

Kaitlin Shawna Leslie – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Magna Cum Laude
Linsey Leeann Reed – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Laura Michelle Magoon – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Robert Lee Tucker – Master of Business Administration in business administration

Austin Emerson Adams – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Stephanie Elaine Baldwin – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration
Austin Matthew Burrus – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
Carminia Del Toro – Bachelor of Arts in communication – organizational and leadership communication, Magna Cum Laude
Jason Andrew Harth – Bachelor of Science in business administration
Lara Leeann Hernandez – Bachelor of Arts in family studies
Hannah Brooke Hewitt – Bachelor of Science in family studies
Zachary Stephen Hubbard – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science
Jherica Larie Simental – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry, Cum Laude
Hillary Grace Stippick – Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Magna Cum Laude

Jeremy Glen Beggs – Master of Arts in youth ministry
Mary Margaret Morrison – Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Magna Cum Laude

Katie Elizabeth Poerner – Bachelor of Science in mathematics (grade 8-12), Summa Cum Laude

Cranfills Gap
Ashley Nicole Sorenson – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology

Ashley Elyssa Maley – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

Alejandro Guerrero – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Lauraleticia Alvarado – Bachelor of Arts in Honors Academy: civic leadership and public policy, and political science/pre-law
Raymond Harrison Card – Bachelor of Science in psychology
Addison Bryant Ebarb – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
Russell Wayne Ezzell – Master of Business Administration in business administration
Justin Paul Taylor – Bachelor of Science in criminal justice

El Paso
Annie Adams – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration), Summa Cum Laude
Mark Alan Johnston – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration), Summa Cum Laude
Oscar A. Rey – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration
Jesus Reyes – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business management

Samuel Stephen Simmons – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Flower Mound
Clinton Lee Hawkins – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry, Cum Laude

Fort Davis
Kyla Claire Zimdars – Bachelor of Science in athletic training, Cum Laude

Stephanie Michelle Bailey – Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Glen Rose
Caidon Breanne George – Bachelor of Arts in social work

Bonita Janelle Rutkowski – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies, Summa Cum Laude

Paul Alexander Caro – Bachelor of Arts in Christian education
Kegan Dean Duncan – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry

Michelle Marie Hawkins – Bachelor of Arts in art communication, Summa Cum Laude

Jessica Marie Guerra – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science

William Colton Curry – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology, Magna Cum Laude
Joshua Paul Puckett – Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Magna Cum Laude

Jasmin Vinnettie Thomas – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Nicholas Ryan Kresge – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

Mineral Wells
Kayla Rene Murray – Master of Arts in youth ministry

New Braunfels
Matthew Kirk Morgan – Master of Business Administration in business administration

Kyle Thomas Hamlin – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science

Red Oak
Analicia Gabriella Guerrero – Bachelor of Arts in Honors Academy: civic leadership and public policy, and communication studies; Summa Cum Laude

Andrew Allen Hurt – Bachelor of Arts in practical theology

Matthew Allen Melendez – Bachelor of Arts in history (grade 8-12)
Michael Anthony Melendez – Bachelor of Arts in history (grade 8-12)

Joshua Don Eppler – Bachelor of Science in biology

Kailey Elizabeth Hinkle – Bachelor of Arts in psychology

San Angelo
Colton Jessie Buzzard – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science
Justin Bill Hamby – Master of Arts in youth ministry

San Antonio
Steven Arthur Falconer – Bachelor of Arts in Bible
Ashton Elizabeth Sekula – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Spring Branch
Ashley Ann Biering – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

The Colony
Angela Nicole (Haney) Butler – Master of Business Administration in business administration
James Benjamin Butler – Master of Business Administration in business administration

Joshua Dobkins Muse – Master of Business Administration in business administration
Joshua Alton Snow – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

HPU sophomore receives scholarship to study in London

Ashley MoonBROWNWOOD – January 7, 2014 – Howard Payne University sophomore Ashley Moon, a communication major from Waxahachie, was awarded a scholarship through the Consortium for Global Education (CGE) to study in London for the spring 2014 semester. Moon will participate in CAPA International Education’s London Program, earning college credit while studying in what the CGE calls “one of the most vibrant, exciting, culturally rich and cosmopolitan cities in the world.” Moon was also selected as CAPA’s official “vlogger” for the semester and received an additional scholarship to produce weekly video blogs about her experiences.

This will be Moon’s second time to study in London.

“Last year when I studied abroad, my main goal was to explore the city and to try new things,” she said. “My school work was light and I saw a lot of tourist attractions. This coming year will be much more challenging. All of my classes will be upper level communication courses. I will be working an internship, making weekly videos for CAPA International, writing articles for Howard Payne and living in a British home. I’m thrilled about the career opportunities and experience London offers.”

Jennifer McNiece, assistant professor of political science at HPU, serves as the university’s director of international study and academic travel.

“More and more students are taking advantage of the many opportunities HPU offers them to study in different cities around the world,” McNiece said. “We’re very grateful to organizations such as the CGE for helping to fund these opportunities.”

Moon said there is always something to do or explore in London.

“It’s a very exciting place, and I feel like there are endless possibilities there,” she said. “I’ve wanted to return to London since the day I got back to the states. It’s like my second home.”

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, serves as CGE vice president.

“We’re very proud of Ashley and know the university will be represented very well in London next semester,” he said.


Photo cutline: Ashley Moon, a sophomore at HPU, will return to study in London, the city she considers her “second home.”

HPU Moot Court students named regional champs, advance to nationals

Moot CourtBROWNWOOD – December 18, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently dominated the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with an HPU team beating the top team from Texas A&M University in the final round. Katie Rose Bonner, a junior from Lytle, and Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo., were named Southwestern Regional Champions and received an automatic invitation to the National Championship of Intercollegiate Moot Court on January 17-18, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

An additional HPU team comprised of Cayden McDonald, a senior from Whitehouse, and Christopher Mitchell, a junior from Pecos, advanced to quarter-finals and later received an invitation to compete in the national competition as well.

Awards were given to the top 10 speakers at the competition, including Bonner, Rogers and McDonald. This is a further testament to their practice and preparation, according to their sponsor Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science at HPU.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the students have demonstrated over the course of the semester, evidenced by the results at this most recent tournament,” she said. “Most of our team was new to moot court, and had no prior exposure to this form of oral advocacy. This did not stop them from besting more seasoned teams.”

Undergraduate moot court competitions simulate the experience of arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court. According to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s website, teams that finish in the top 20 percent of each regional event earn an automatic bid to the national tournament.

Also competing from HPU were Zachary Eller, a freshman from Temple; Zachary Gafford, a senior from Brownwood; Colton McCabe, a junior from Gatesville; and Ryan Young, a senior from Mesquite.

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities, and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, said he is also pleased with the successes of the Moot Court team.

“I am especially proud of Professor Kelley’s role in leading the team,” he said. “She is an outstanding asset to HPU and the Moot Court program.”


Photo cutline: Eight HPU students recently competed at the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with four advancing to the national championships in January. Left to right: Elizabeth Rogers, champion; Katie Rose Bonner, champion; Cayden McDonald, quarterfinalist; and Christopher Mitchell, quarterfinalist.

First student graduates from HPU’s New Braunfels Center

Dan Pryor and Matt MorganBROWNWOOD – December 17, 2013 – Matt Morgan of New Braunfels, who serves as the information technology manager at the Capital Area Council of Governments in Austin, was the first graduate of the Howard Payne University New Braunfels Center. He received his Master of Business Administration degree during the university’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14, in Brownwood.

Morgan completed the program in just one year, taking courses solely at night and on weekends.

“I always wanted to get my master’s degree,” he said. “I’ve worked in the public sector for almost 18 years now, and I figured an MBA would give me that cutting edge should I decide to venture off into the private sector.”

Morgan also wanted to set an example for his daughter, Riley Rose, a middle school student.

“I feel I’ve done my best and I hope she always remembers to never give up and to seize opportunities,” he said. “You are never too old to keep learning. My daughter and my wife, Debbie, have been extremely supportive and helpful to me this past year.”

Morgan attended other universities during his undergraduate career, but said none offered the type of relationships he found at HPU.

“The effect that support from others can have on your endeavors is really amazing, and even more so when it’s coming from instructors and staff,” he said. “I never felt like just a number at Howard Payne.”

In addition to working full time and completing his degree, Morgan also plays accordion for Poor J. Brown, a band out of New Braunfels and San Antonio.
“I’ve received an enormous amount of support from my family, my parents, my in-laws and my bandmates,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to realize people support you.”
Morgan said he enjoyed the convenience of obtaining his master’s degree in New Braunfels.

“I would highly recommend the HPU MBA program to those thinking of continuing their education,” he said. “The convenience is unmatched. Classes were scheduled so that they did not interfere with my work schedule and the location was perfect. For anyone in the New Braunfels area the convenience of not having to drive to Austin, San Antonio or San Marcos is worth it alone – not to mention parking!”

Most of all, he said, he loved the overall experience the program offered.

“I had a great group of professors who were all very involved and very accommodating as I balanced my career and family life while working towards my MBA,” he said. “I feel very lucky to have gone through the program with the group of students that started with me. There are about 12 of us and every individual brought something to the table from which we could all learn. We had some great group projects and discussions that could have lasted all night had we let them. It’s a really close knit group and I’m sure we will all continue to maintain our friendships long after everyone completes their MBA degrees.”

The HPU New Braunfels Center office is located at 1423 N. Walnut Ave., Suite 105. Until HPU’s permanent campus is constructed as part of the Veramendi development project, courses are being offered at New Braunfels High School, at the Aflac Suite (1259 Loop 337 North, Suite #200) and online. For more information, visit or call (830) 629-2366.


Photo cutline: Matt Morgan, right, received his Master of Business Administration degree during the HPU Commencement ceremony held on Dec. 14 in Brownwood. He is pictured with Dr. Dan Pryor, assistant professor of business.

HPU social work students get first-hand lessons in poverty

Poverty SimulationBROWNWOOD – December 17, 2013 – Five Howard Payne University social work students recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation, a weekend experience created to challenge students to “see the world through different eyes.”

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s criminal justice, social work and sociology department, has had a class participate in Poverty Simulation for the past five years.

“More than 15 percent of the American population lives below the poverty line,” he said, referencing U.S. Census Bureau statistics. “We’re increasingly becoming a society in which there is a great division between those who are economically disadvantaged and those who have substantial resources.”

Approximately 50 individuals participated in this year’s simulation, a safe experience designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty. In addition to planned activities, participants slept outdoors and experienced what it is like to find meals with very little money.

According to Humeniuk, these activities promote compassion for those who are less fortunate.

“The Bible addresses our responsibilities as Christians toward those who are struggling,” he said.

Rebekah Steadman, a junior social work major from Fort Worth, was one of two students who returned to Poverty Simulation a second year, despite only being required to participate once.

“I learned something different each time that I participated in the simulation,” she said. “This year, the great lesson that affected me was the importance of relationships and community. We met many people in poverty and heard many stories throughout the weekend that brought the truths of poverty to life. The one thing all the people had in common was that they lacked material possessions but were rich in their relationships with one another. It is a beautiful lesson we all must learn whether we are in poverty or not. How valuable are our relationships and friendships to us versus our material possessions?”

Humeniuk said social work is a “spiritual calling.”

“A social worker’s life’s goal is not to make a lot of money,” he said. “A social worker is more concerned with doing something rather than being somebody.”

Said Steadman, “Those who are impoverished should not be ignored by those of us who have been blessed to give and have the knowledge of how to do so. This simulation truly opens a person’s heart and eyes to the everyday lives of people in poverty and all the extreme struggles they face to survive.”

In addition to Steadman, other students on the trip included Shannon Bundy, a senior from Port Aransas; Jeffery Fennell, a junior from Converse; Jessica Ferrell-Raborn, a senior from Salado; and Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring.


Photo cutline: Five HPU students and a faculty member recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation. Left to right: Dan Humeniuk, Jessica Ferrell-Raborn, Shannon Bundy, Paula Johnson, Jeffery Fennell and Rebekah Steadman.