News Archives

HPU announces holiday schedule

BROWNWOOD – December 16, 2013 – Howard Payne University will be closed Thursday, Dec. 19, through Wednesday, Jan. 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Offices will reopen on Thursday, Jan. 2.

HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement, located at 803 Center Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, and Tuesday, Dec. 31, to process end-of-the-year gifts. The Office of Institutional Advancement may be reached at (325) 649-8006 or (800) 950-8465.

HPU’s spring 2014 semester begins Monday, Jan. 13.

HPU’s December Commencement scheduled for Saturday

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2013 – Howard Payne University will hold its Commencement ceremony this Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Brownwood Coliseum beginning at 10 a.m.

Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, and other university representatives will confer 63 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Honorable J.D. Sheffield, D.O., State Representative for District 59 and family medicine doctor at Hillcrest Clinic in Gatesville, will deliver the charge to the graduates. He is a 1984 HPU graduate.

Among the students receiving diplomas will be Matthew Morgan, the first student to graduate from HPU’s New Braunfels Center. Morgan will receive a Master of Business Administration degree.

Additional program participants include: Corey Ash ’92, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Donnie Auvenshine ’75, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies; Rev. Darrel Glen Beggs ’81, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Hillsboro; Rev. David Cozart ’96, president of HPU’s Alumni Association and minister of education/administration at Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Waco; William Colton Curry, graduating senior; Dr. Gary Gramling ’81, director of the graduate program in youth ministry and professor of Christian studies; Dr. Justin Murphy, dean of the School of Humanities, professor of history and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy; Dr. Lois Patton, director of the graduate program in business administration and professor of business administration; Dr. Leslie Plagens, dean of the School of Business and professor of business administration; Carter Sharpe, second vice chairman of the HPU Board of Trustees; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost; Jan Tucker, former instructor of education; Lana Wagner ’97, registrar; Dr. Julie Welker ’94, faculty president, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication Studies; and the HPU Instrumental Ensemble.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, Dec. 13, by Chime Out, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, symbolizing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to those students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. Chime Out begins at 6 p.m. at the university’s Mims Auditorium.

HPU honors Dr. Leonard Underwood for service to the university

Ellis and UnderwoodBROWNWOOD – December 11, 2013 – Howard Payne University recognized Brownwood businessman Dr. Leonard Underwood, a member of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Board of Directors, for attending his 50th Academy Board Meeting.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, presented Dr. Underwood with the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal, given by the Academy to honor individuals who share Dr. Guy D. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, our Western heritage and the free enterprise system.

Previously the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, the program was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Newman, who served as president of the university from 1955 to 1973.

Dr. Justin Murphy, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities, is the director of the Newman Honors Academy.

“Dr. Underwood has been instrumental in supporting the Academy’s Moot Court and Model United Nations programs,” said Dr. Murphy.

Dr. Underwood, an active civic supporter, also serves on the HPU Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Underwood has exhibited exemplary leadership not only at HPU but across the Brownwood community,” said Dr. Ellis. “We are proud to recognize him for his service.”


Photo cutline: Dr. Bill Ellis, left, presents Dr. Leonard Underwood with the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal.

HPU’s Kelley addresses International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education

Kevin KelleyBROWNWOOD – December 5, 2013 – Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at Howard Payne University, recently presented at the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) Fall Region VI Conference held in Dallas. The topic for Dr. Kelley’s presentation was “Employer Expectations for College Graduates.”

“Dr. Kelley presented several key insights on how college business programs can prepare their graduates for today’s dynamic business environment,” said Dr. Les Plagens, dean of HPU’s School of Business. “His experience in assessing managerial talent provided the conference participants an opportunity to discuss implications for learning outcomes for various business programs.”

Dr. Kelley teaches in the psychology and business administration departments at HPU. He also serves as a consultant/partner in the business development firm TAD (Talent Assessment and Development). Most recently, he has worked in organizational strategy and change management at Apple and IBM.

IACBE is the specialized accrediting body for six business programs at HPU. There are more than 250 institutions worldwide with business programs accredited by IACBE.


Photo cutline: Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at HPU, recently addressed the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

HPU’s Tau Beta Sigma to host band fundraiser dinner

BROWNWOOD – November 26, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary band sorority, will host its second annual Christmas Dinner fundraiser on Saturday, December 7, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the fellowship hall of Brownwood’s First Baptist Church. A minimum $5 donation is requested and proceeds will go toward the purchase of new instruments for the HPU Yellow Jacket Band.

HPU music students will perform live as guests enjoy a meal of lasagna, garlic bread, salad and chocolate cake.

“The Yellow Jacket Band creates music the entire community can enjoy,” said Tau Beta Sigma member Ruby Johnson, a junior from Alvarado. “We would appreciate people coming to support the band.”

For more information about the dinner, contact Tau Beta Sigma sponsor Jill Holamon, administrative assistant for the School of Music and Fine Arts, at (325) 649-8500 or via e-mail at

HPU’s Symphonic Band and Concert Choir to present a Christmas Celebration

BROWNWOOD – November 26, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Symphonic Band and Concert Choir will present a Christmas Celebration concert on Thursday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. There is no charge for admission, but guests are encouraged to bring a canned good or boxed dry good donation.

“All of the goods collected will go to Good Samaritan Ministries of Brown County to aid those who need a helping hand during this winter and holiday season,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands.

According to Ash, the concert’s musical selections are sure to get the Christmas spirit in full swing as the students perform many Christmastime favorites.

Some of the program’s selections include “Sleigh Ride,” by Leroy Anderson; “Jingle Bells Forever,” arranged by Robert W. Smith; “Jubilant Holiday,” by Sean O’Loughlin; “Sound the Bells,” by John Williams; and many more.

“You won’t want to miss this musical holiday experience,” said Ash. “There is no charge for admission, and the warmth is free, too!”

Following the concert, a reception will be held in the band rehearsal hall of HPU’s Davidson Music Complex.

“We hope to see you there,” said Ash. “If not, may your holiday season be filled with the joy of family and friends. Most especially, may you know the joy of the greatest holiday gift of all time, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!”

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau competes in Oxford, England

Oxford team pic 2013 for webBy Kaleigh Tankersley, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – November 25, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau (SSB), a speech and debate team, traveled to Oxford, England, recently to compete in the Oxford Inter-Varsity International Debate Tournament. Teams competing in the tournament follow the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) style, also known as British Parliamentary debate.

Two teams of HPU debaters traveled to Oxford – Jared Russell, a junior from Hillsboro, and Kaleigh Tankersley, a junior from Iraan; and Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi, and Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.

Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department, professor of communication and SSB coach, said the students competed extremely well.

“Our two teams did outstanding,” said Dr. Welker. “In this format of debate, students have eight years of eligibility so our undergraduate students competed against law students and Ph.D. students from some of the top universities in the world.”

The team was also required to bring a judge for competition. Dorie Walton, a junior from Lolita and SSB team member, judged multiple rounds of competition.

“Judging is such a great way to really learn what wins a debate round,” said Dr. Welker. “I know this experience will make Dorie a much better debater. Plus, she got to judge with individuals from universities across the world.”

Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also traveled with the team.

The two teams competed in five rounds of WUDC debate at the University of Oxford. The students debated five different motions and were given 15 minutes before each round to prepare.

“Collegiate debate builds excellent critical thinking skills,” said Dr. Welker. “Our team members have to be well-versed in a number of current event and world issues – we don’t just debate one issue or concept all year. The topics range from political to social to environmental issues, and students must be prepared for any topic in any round.”

The use of electronic material and coaching help is prohibited during prep time and during the debate.

The Oxford IV tournament is the largest WUDC tournament on the European circuit. The tournament consisted of teams from around the world, including other American teams as well as teams from the United Kingdom, Austria, Bangladesh, China, Australia and many other countries.

The HPU teams also enjoyed a tour of Oxford and a guided visit to the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. After the tournament, the team traveled to London for sightseeing. Students visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, Greenwich, The Globe Theatre, Kensington Palace and attended a theatre production.


Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently traveled to Oxford, England. Left to right: Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication; Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi; Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.; Dorie Walton, a junior from Lolita; Kaleigh Tankersley, a junior from Iraan; Jared Russell, a junior from Hillsboro; and Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department, professor of communication and SSB coach.

HPU’s New Braunfels Center receives $10,000 grant from McKenna Foundation

New Braunfels grantBROWNWOOD – November 20, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center recently received a $10,000 grant from the McKenna Foundation, an organization devoted to advancing the well-being of the New Braunfels community.

“We’re very thankful for the support from the McKenna Foundation and other New Braunfels organizations that have made the university feel so welcome in the community,” said Dale Meinecke, HPU’s assistant vice president for extended programs and church relations. “Businesses, individuals and organizations in the area have gone out of their way to show us that Christian higher education in New Braunfels is a priority.”

The grant funds will be used for marketing and promotion of the HPU New Braunfels Center.

“We’re very excited to be able to extend our outreach to this wonderful community,” Meinecke said.

The HPU New Braunfels Center office is located at 1423 N. Walnut Ave., Suite 105. Until HPU’s permanent campus structure 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: Representatives from the McKenna Foundation recently presented a $10,000 check to Howard Payne University. Left to right: Lindsay Morgan, grants coordinator for the McKenna Foundation; Randy Yeakley, vice president for development at HPU; Christy Meinecke, HPU admission counselor to the New Braunfels area; Dale Meinecke, HPU’s assistant vice president for extended programs and church relations; Alice Jewell, executive director of the McKenna Foundation; and Jerry Major, CEO of the McKenna Foundation.

HPU Jazz Orchestra to present music from the Nutcracker Suite

HPU Jazz Orchestra BROWNWOOD – November 15, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Jazz Orchestra will present music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite – with a unique twist – in two performances Saturday, November 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 24, at 2:30 p.m. The performances will be in Mims Auditorium and are free to the public.

“These performances will really be extraordinary in that we will present Duke Ellington’s 1960 version of the Tchaikovsky classic,” said Stephen Goacher, professor of music and director of the orchestra.

Also included in the program is Mozart’s Symphony #40 as arranged by Grammy-winning Hollywood composer Gordon Goodwin. HPU’s University Singers under the direction of Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music, will join the Jazz Orchestra, singing a collection of popular Christmas songs.

In addition to the music, the program will feature an extensive display of nutcrackers from the collection of Diane Owens, director of HPU’s Pre-College Music Program, adjunct instructor of music and retired professor of music.

In 1892, Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky composed the ballet The Nutcracker, based on a play by Alexander Dumas. Tchaikovsky immediately arranged “Opus 71a,” eight of the original compositions from the ballet, into an orchestral collection of “hits.”

“These melodies are considered among the most beautiful and memorable of the entire 19th century,” said Goacher. “The New York City Ballet gave its first annual performance of The Nutcracker in 1954. Beginning in the 1960s, the tradition of performing the ballet at Christmas spread to the rest of the United States. “

In 1960, Duke Ellington, already well known for composing extended works in the jazz idiom, began adapting and arranging Tchaikovsky’s popular Nutcracker Suite for the Ellington Orchestra. This was his first adaptation of extended music from other composers.

“We have acquired Ellington’s original arrangement and look forward to presenting it on the HPU campus,” Goacher said. “We hope this special rendition of the beloved Nutcracker Suite is a gift to the Brownwood community to begin the holiday season.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Jazz Orchestra will present two performances of music from the Nutcracker Suite, Saturday, November 23, and Sunday, November 24.

HPU to host Mannheim Steamroller founding member in concert

Jackson and Almeda BerkeyBROWNWOOD – November 11, 2013 – Guest artists Almeda and Jackson Berkey will perform with members of Howard Payne University’s Concert Choir on Tuesday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. Jackson Berkey, a composer and pianist, was a founding member of the multiplatinum-selling group Mannheim Steamroller and spent 39 years as the group’s featured keyboardist. The concert is free and the public is welcome.

“We are fortunate and excited to have two guests the caliber of Almeda and Jackson Berkey on our campus,” said Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities. “Their years of touring with the Norman Luboff Choir and Mannheim Steamroller bring a wealth of musical talent and experience which they will share with our students. This will be a real treat for all of us.”

The concert will feature works by Jackson Berkey for solo piano, instrumental ensemble, and chorus and instruments. Both artists will perform original works.

Jackson Berkey’s published catalog includes more than 400 titles encompassing choral, solo vocal and instrumental, chamber ensemble, band and orchestral works, as well as concerti and works for chorus and orchestra. In addition to his work with Mannheim Steamroller, he has had five choir/orchestra premieres at Carnegie Hall in New York. In the classical world, his recordings for American Gramaphone and SDG Records continue to elicit rave reviews. He was named to the International Roster of Steinway Artists in 2009.

Almeda Berkey, a conductor, lyric soprano and lyricist, co-founded Nebraska’s Professional Chorale Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum in 1988 and continues to direct its artistic endeavors. She has 46 years of conducting credits including seven Cantorum recordings. After singing many American-Canadian tours with the Norman Luboff Choir, she was director of choral activities at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for four years. Playing keyboard with Mannheim Steamroller in concert since 1973 has taken her across America, Canada and Europe.

“We hope everyone takes advantage of hearing our students perform with these distinguished guests,” said Dr. Garrett. “The concert is free and everyone is welcome to attend.”

Funding for this event was provided by the Arts Council of Brownwood. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: Jackson and Almeda Berkey will perform with members of HPU’s Concert Choir on Tuesday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium.