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HPU students excel at Prague Model United Nations Conference

DeLoach and McConnell in Prague for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – April 16, 2015 – Howard Payne University students Cara DeLoach and Mike McConnell recently participated in the Model United Nations conference at the University of Economics in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. DeLoach and McConnell served as chair of the Security Council and co-chair of the Disarmament and International Security Committee, respectively.

DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo, and McConnell, a senior from Burleson, have participated in Model UN conferences since 2013. Their experiences and track record at conferences across Europe prompted the Prague conference to offer them chair and co-chair positions on elite councils.

“That Cara and Mike would be chosen for such an honor speaks volumes not only about their unique abilities as demonstrated at previous Model UN conferences, but also reveals that the HPU Model United Nations Team is making a name for itself and raising HPU’s international profile,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

With previous experience at conferences in Stockholm, Rome and Istanbul, DeLoach came well-prepared to chair the Security Council, the highest-level committee in Model UN. The Security Council deals with the most prevalent topics in the real United Nations, such as the current conflict with ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“Having the opportunity to preside over the Security Council at the Prague conference was an honor and a unique experience that I will never forget,” said DeLoach. “I was able to facilitate debates on the topic of ISIL with students from all over the world, develop friendships abroad and learn about a new culture.”

McConnell helped chair the Disarmament and International Security Committee, the first arm of the General Assembly. DISEC deals with issues regarding the promotion, establishment and subsequent maintenance of global peace while simultaneously working to prevent weapons proliferation.

“My committee, comprised of students from all over Europe and parts of the United States, tackled the difficult and pressing issues of demilitarizing the Arctic region and the threat of terrorist groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction,” said McConnell.

Part of the experience of Model UN is to travel to different cities around the world, where students can fellowship with peers, develop skills for future careers and immerse themselves in new cultures.

“Prague itself was incredibly beautiful, mixing Old World architecture with modern structures in a seamless and beautiful fashion,” said McConnell.

DeLoach said touring Prague, visiting the castle and eating at the Café Louvre were just a few of the wonderful memories she will have for the rest of her life.

“Participating in HPU’s Model United Nations program has allowed me to learn so much about myself and other people, and for that I will always be grateful,” she said.

DeLoach, McConnell and other members of HPU’s Model UN team additionally traveled to Münster, Germany, competing in the Münster University International Model United Nations Conference, between March 28 and April 1.


Photo cutline: HPU students Cara DeLoach and Mike McConnell recently held elite positions at the Model United Nations conference at the University of Economics in Prague.

HPU’s speech and debate team ends season with awards in D.C., Oklahoma and Colorado

ssb spring 2015 season for webBROWNWOOD – April 16, 2015 – From Washington, D.C., to Denver, Colorado, HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team has had a winning competition circuit this spring.

HPU’s debate team received an invitation to compete in the American Enterprise Institute Capitalism and Values Tournament, held recently in Washington, D.C. The debate team of Adam Jones, junior communication and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Irving, and Braxton Clark, freshman communication and political science major from Southlake, advanced to the semifinal round in the tournament.

“I am incredibly proud of this team and their accomplishment at this tournament,” said Dr. Julie Welker, SSB coach and chair of the Department of Communication. “They competed against some of the best teams in the nation.”

Jones said that the trip to D.C. and the tournament really impacted his life.

“Being able to travel to a place so rich in history and debate about issues that matter with students who share my beliefs was a fantastic experience that I will not soon forget,” he said.

While Jones and Clark were in D.C., the rest of the team competed in the Sweetheart Swing held at Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma. The team of Kaleigh Tankersley, senior communication major from Iraan, and Marcos Corley, senior criminal justice major from Corpus Christi, advanced to semifinals in this tournament.

“The OU tournament is very competitive,” said Dr. Welker. “We meet teams from all across the Midwest, one of the toughest parliamentary debate circuits in the U.S.”

Team captain Tankersley said that she always enjoys attending the OU tournament.

“We had the opportunity to compete against some great universities and put all of our hard work to the test, and we came out on top,” she said.

Dr. Welker added that she was very impressed with this team of seniors.

“They have both been on the team their entire time at HPU and their experience paid off at this tournament,” she said.

In individual speaking events at the tournament, Tankersley advanced to finals in impromptu speaking.

The team’s final tournament of the year was the National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament, held at Colorado Christian University.

The team won second place Debate Sweeps, Division II, and third place overall Individual Events Sweeps, Division III. The divisions are based on the number of entries per school.

“This year we only took four students to compete at nationals,” said Dr. Welker. “Despite our low numbers, HPU’s speech and debate team remained strong and walked away with very impressive awards. These awards show that even with a small team we are extremely competitive.”

In individual events, Braxton Clark placed second in extemporaneous speaking and fifth in impromptu speaking.

Senior Ashley Moon, communication major from Waxahachie, in her first year of competitive speech and debate, was named the National Christian College Forensics Invitational novice national champion in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) style debate. Moon also placed sixth in novice impromptu speaking.

“I invited Ashley to join the team this semester, knowing that she was an articulate speaker,” said Dr. Welker. “She has proven herself to be an outstanding speaker and debater. Winning novice national champion in IPDA debate is outstanding!”

Moon said that debating at the tournament was an amazing experience.

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to debate and speak about religious issues because they are relevant to my life. The debates were challenging and stimulating,” she said.

Moon is the first IPDA debate national champion HPU has ever had.

Freshman Luis Rodriguez Ortiz, an English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownsville, also competed on the team.

HPU speech and debate continues to expand its competitive endeavors, competing in three debate formats. They compete in the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), which is the largest intercollegiate debate association in the United States. Member schools engage in two-on-two debate, with the resolutions or topics changing for each round of competition.

They also compete in the International Public Debate Association, which is one of the fastest-growing interscholastic debate associations in the nation. IPDA debate is one-on-one debate, in which the resolutions or topics change for each round of competition.

The team also competes in the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) style debate, also known as British parliamentary debate. The Student Speaker Bureau travels to Oxford, England, each fall to compete in the third largest debate tournament in the world.
In each style of debate, students will compete in a minimum of five to six preliminary rounds of debate. Topics range from domestic, world, political, value and fact debates.

“I can’t say enough about this group of students,” said Dr. Welker. “Intercollegiate is a highly competitive arena. Students don’t just study one issue or one topic all year – they must be well-versed in a wide scope of topics and be prepared to discuss any one of those topics with minimal preparation. They are truly an outstanding group of students.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently completed a successful season. Back row, left to right: Luis Rodriguez Ortiz, Braxton Clark, Marcos Corley and Adam Jones. Front row, left to right: Dr. Julie Welker, Ashley Moon and Kaleigh Tankersley.

Large crowd turns out for HPU Fest

HPU Fest 2015 for web
BROWNWOOD – April 15, 2015 – Despite being moved indoors due to the threat of rain, Howard Payne University’s all-day music festival, HPU Fest, boasted large crowds on Saturday. Approximately 400 people, including community members and HPU students and employees, attended the event. Pictured is the crowd cheering for this year’s headlining act, Anthem Lights. Photo by Chandler Condra, HPU senior.

HPU New Braunfels concert to offer wide range of musical selections

A Joyful Heart poster for webBROWNWOOD – April 9, 2015 – Many of Howard Payne University’s finest musicians will take the stage at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theater in New Braunfels on Monday, April 13, as the university presents its “A Joyful Heart” concert. This special evening of music will cover a wide range of musical styles, from jazz to opera and beyond.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

HPU has maintained a presence in New Braunfels since 2012, offering degrees for undergraduate and graduate students as well as coursework for dual-credit students. The university, with its flagship campus located in Brownwood, is planning a permanent campus in New Braunfels as part of the Veramendi development project. Faculty and staff at both locations are excited for this opportunity to present an entertaining evening of music for the community.

Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external affairs, and his wife, Christy Meinecke, HPU admission counselor and office assistant, moved their family to New Braunfels in 2012 to lead HPU’s entrance into the community. They have developed many close relationships in the area as the New Braunfels Center has grown and word of HPU’s commitment to Christ-centered higher education has spread.

“We’re very excited that students and faculty from HPU’s Brownwood campus will be here to share their talents with our friends in the New Braunfels community,” said Dr. Meinecke.

The artists scheduled for the evening include the HPU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Stephen Goacher, professor of music; the Symphonic Band under the direction of Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands; and the Heritage Singers under the direction of Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities. Additional performers include Dr. Celeste Church, associate professor of music; Dr. Greg Church, associate professor of music; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU’s first lady; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music; and Hannah Strebeck, senior music education major and recipient of the prestigious Clara Freshour Nelson Scholarship.

“HPU’s Department of Music is blessed with an amazing array of talented students served by a faculty of dedicated teachers,” said Stephen Goacher, who will perform a solo in addition to directing the Jazz Ensemble. “The program in New Braunfels will give our entire university the opportunity to show that what we learn in the classrooms, rehearsal halls and studios at HPU is world-class on any stage.”

Dr. Diana Ellis, wife of Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, will perform numbers such as the aria “Habanera” from Bizet’s popular opera Carmen. She will also sing a duet with Dr. Celeste Church.

“I’ve had the pleasure of performing with musicians and singers from HPU’s Department of Music many times, both on campus and in international settings such as Salzburg College in Austria,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be able to perform in New Braunfels and believe the show will offer something for everyone.”

The Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre is located at 290 W. San Antonio Street in New Braunfels. For more information, call the HPU New Braunfels Center at 830-629-2366 or e-mail

HPU Fest to feature Alive by Sunrise and Anthem Lights

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

HPU-Fest-Poster-2015 for webBROWNWOOD – April 8, 2015 – HPU Fest, one of Howard Payne University’s most popular student events, will kick off Saturday, April 11, at 3 p.m. with a full day’s worth of music, food and activities. This year’s headliners are Alive by Sunrise and Anthem Lights. The lineup also includes student artists such as Aaron Tassin, a senior from Early and 2014 runner-up for local talent competition “Brownwood’s Got Talent.”

HPU’s Student Activities Council and various organizations on campus will put together a number of booths and activities including inflatables, carnival games and the annual HPU Fest Chili Cook-Off. Sodexo, HPU’s food service provider, will also serve a meal that can be purchased either with a student ID card, cash or check.

In addition to HPU students and personnel, the community is welcome to attend. HPU Fest will take place at the university’s Old Main Park, the grassy area along Austin Avenue. Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and Anthem Lights will take the stage at 6 p.m.

“This is always an exciting time of year for our students,” said Francie Clark, director of student activities. “HPU Fest marks that spring is here and there are only a few weeks left before summer. It brings an energy to campus unlike any of our other events. We hope the community can come to experience this great event as well.”

HPU’s Sigma Beta Delta inducts nine new members

Sigma Beta Delta 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – April 7, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s chapter of the Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society inducted nine new members to its organization on March 25. Dr. Lois Patton, professor of business administration, was the guest speaker for the event.

Inductees included Christy Ash, junior from Brownwood; Mike Bannister, senior from Brownwood; Kyndal Broome, senior from San Angelo; Kelcie Hunter, senior from Brownwood; Summer King, junior from Brownwood; Rachel Mahagan, junior from Georgetown; Dianna Megarity, junior from Cross Plains; Andrea Peaster, junior from Brownwood; and Ethan West, senior from Leander.

Dr. Patton, who will retire at the end of the semester, spoke to the students about how to deal with the delays, rejections or interrupted plans they may encounter in the years to come.

“I say these things not to bring you down, but to lift you up,” she said. “If you are a Christian, you believe in the Creator as the designer. The amazing thing is that while He created this vast universe, he knew us before we were even born.”

Sigma Beta Delta was founded as a national organization in 1994 for NCAA Division III universities and is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. HPU’s chapter received its charter in 1999.

“Sigma Beta Delta encourages and recognizes scholarship and accomplishment among students of business, management and administration,” said Dr. Trissa Cox, associate professor of computer information systems and Sigma Beta Delta president. “This year’s honorees represent Howard Payne University well through their commitments toward personal and professional improvement. They exemplify both in and out of the classroom the rigor and commitment that is necessary in finding success. We are continuously refreshed and encouraged by their efforts and are pleased to take this opportunity to celebrate.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s chapter of the Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society recently inducted nine new members, joined at the ceremony by three previous HPU inductees. Back row, left to right: Murray Clingerman (2014 inductee), Christy Ash, Dianna Megarity, Andrea Peaster, Kyndal Broome and Mike Bannister. Front row, left to right: Zachary Varner (2011 inductee), Rachel Mahagan, Kelcie Hunter, Summer King and Chandler Condra (2014 inductee). Not pictured is Ethan West.

HPU Pre-College Music students participate in District 8-4 Junior Festival

BROWNWOOD – April 7, 2015 – The District 8-4 Junior Festival of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs, in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs, recently held its local competition at Howard Payne University. Of the 45 students from HPU’s Pre-College Music Program participating, 37 will advance to the state competition in San Marcos on May 21.

Students who will advance include James Bautista, piano; Hannah Bessent, voice; Andrew Boren, piano; Dakota Busby, piano; Angie Calfa, voice; Michelle Cabrera, piano; Becca Church, piano; Vic Cooper, piano; Christian Fijer, piano; Kirsten Fijer, voice; Alex Fowler, piano and voice; Raya Hakim, piano; Kyle Ivy, piano; Kamry Keese, piano and voice; Mary McIver, voice; Kylee Medina, piano; Addison Miller, piano and voice; Michael Morales, piano; Sydney Neel, voice; Aishwarya Nigalye, piano; Shayna Oliver, voice; Hannah Parson, piano; Sarah Reeves, piano and voice; Drew Reynolds, voice; Jordan Roberts, piano and voice; Natalie Rose, piano; Cate Smith, piano; Ava Sparks-Hansen, piano and voice; Sydney Stewart, piano; Carter Wheeless, piano; Trina Wheeless, piano; and Sam Woods, piano.

Other participants in the non-competitive category were Nathan Bull, Tony Calfa and Rawnie Hakim.

“Our congratulations go out to these students and their teachers for their accomplishments,” said Diane Owens, director of the Pre-College Music Program and adjunct faculty member in HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “We also send our best wishes to those who will compete at Texas State University in May.”

For further information about the Federated Music Clubs or to inquire about the Pre-College Music Program at Howard Payne University, please contact Owens at (325) 649-8501 or

Four join HPU’s Board of Trustees

BROWNWOOD – April 7, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Board of Trustees recently convened with four new members among the individuals in the governing body. New trustees are Deborah Cartwright of Austin, David R. Poage of Bellaire, Jonathan Snow of Waxahachie and Lesley Collier Wyse of Boerne.

“We’re exceedingly grateful for all of our trustees who give freely of their time, dedication and prayers to HPU,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, university president. “We’re honored to welcome the newest members and we thank them for their service.”

Deborah Cartwright for webDeborah Cartwright, an attorney, received her Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU in 1973. She went on to earn a Master of Public Affairs degree from The University of Texas in 1976 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1985.







David R Poage for webDavid R. Poage, a retired attorney, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Texas in 1975; his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maine in 1980; and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Houston in 1983. He is married to Jan J. Poage and the couple has two children and one grandchild.







Jonathan Snow for web

Jonathan Snow, a professional clothier, received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from HPU in 2006. He is married to Candace Haynie Snow, also a 2006 HPU graduate, and the couple has two children.







Lesley Collier Wyse for webLesley Collier Wyse, a retired educator, received her Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU in 1972. She went on to receive a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston – Clear Lake in 1983. She is married to Joe. E. “Jody” Wyse, a 1971 HPU graduate. They have two children and three grandchildren.


Photo cutlines: The newest members of HPU’s Board of Trustees are, from top, Deborah Cartwright, David R. Poage, Jonathan Snow and Lesley Collier Wyse.

Rasbury and Salmon to present senior recitals

Cathryn Rasbury for webBROWNWOOD – April 2, 2015 – Howard Payne University students Cathryn Rasbury of Cisco and Christine Salmon of Early will present their senior recitals on Friday, April 10, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, in the university’s Grace Chapel.

Rasbury will play the flute and Salmon will deliver a voice performance.

“Cathryn and Christine are very talented performers,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts. “They’ve put in many hours of practice and we look forward to hearing the results of their efforts.”

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

Christine Salmon for web###

Photo cutlines:

HPU’s Cathryn Rasbury (top) will perform her senior flute recital on Friday, April 10, at 6 p.m.

Christine Salmon of Early will present her senior voice recital at HPU on Friday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m.