News Archives

HPU Student Speaker Bureau competes in Houston and Colorado, prepares for Oxford

SSB Team PhotoBROWNWOOD – November 1, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at two separate tournaments. The Bayou City Swing was held at San Jacinto College North in Houston and the Southern Colorado Debate Challenge was held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Four members of the team are also preparing to compete in Oxford, England, later in November.

Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake, won Top Parliamentary Debate Speaker and second place in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) style debate at the Bayou City Swing tournament.

“Braxton has been an unbelievable competitor all three years at HPU,” said Dr. Julie Welker, Student Speaker Bureau team coach and chair of the Department of Communication. “His talent and leadership are really shining through this year.” In September, Clark was named third top speaker at the Rice University debate tournament.

Additionally, Clark and teammate Tyler Olin, sophomore social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, were quarterfinalists in National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) debate at the Bayou City Swing tournament.

HPU won second place overall in debate sweepstakes and the tournament.

Other team members competing at the Bayou City Swing were Erin Haley, freshman communication major from Mason; Mike Hord, freshman political science and social science jurisprudence major from Montgomery; Madison Neal, freshman social science jurisprudence major from Chandler; Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd; Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth; and Haylee Williams, freshman communication major from Bellville. Assistant coach Sidni Kirby, instructor of communication, traveled with the team.

At the Colorado College debate tournament, students competed in World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) style debate in preparation for their trip to Oxford, England, to compete at the third largest WUDC debate tournament in the world.

WUDC debate involves four teams of two debaters, and each debater presents an eight-minute speech.

“WUDC debate is the standard format of debate on the international circuit,” said Dr. Welker. “Students debate a different topic each round, and we typically debate a minimum of five to six rounds per tournament.”

Competing in Colorado were Morgan Ashmore, senior communication major from Weatherford; Christopher Freeland, sophomore biochemistry major and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Bangs; Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington; and Andrea Balderas, junior biology major from Lytle. These four students will represent HPU in November at one of the most prestigious debate tournaments in the world, competing against teams from Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Harvard and many other Tier I universities from the United States and around the world.


Cutline: Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau recently competed in Houston and Colorado. Pictured from left are: Dr. Julie Welker, Morgan Ashmore, Braxton Clark, Aimee Orozco, Isabella Stahrfisher, Madison Neal, Christopher Freeland, Gabi McWhirter, Erin Haley, Brooklyn Britton, Isaac Sommers, Andrea Balderas, Haylee Williams, Reagan Grisham, Tyler Olin and Ms. Sidni Kirby.

HPU students assist with outreach to Houston’s marginalized

BROWNWOOD – November 1, 2016 – Students from Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry spent the university’s recent Fall Break in Houston learning about three of the city’s marginalized populations and assisting with outreach programs to those groups.

Led by Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM, the group connected with the Church at UH (University of Houston) to learn about the needs of refugees, human-trafficking victims and homeless in the city and how churches in the area are assisting those groups.

The first day they learned about refugees in Houston and how individuals and groups through the Baptist General Convention of Texas have assisted those communities to grow in faith and fellowship. Platte and the students then had the opportunity to play with children in an apartment complex where many Bhutanese and Burmese refugees live.

“Our students got to know some of the challenges that refugees face and how people can learn how best to help them,” said Platte.

The next day, the group learned about the city’s homeless population and human-trafficking victims.

“The first half of the day we cleaned donated shoes for a homeless ministry called Lord Of The Streets,” Platte said. “Then we went to the place where they meet and learned from the group’s director. We got to ask many questions about best practices in addressing help and care for homeless people, and we learned much about the homeless situation in Houston.”

Platte and the students then met with members of a group called Elijah Rising, which helps rescue and restore women who have come out of human-trafficking situations.

“We got to hear from their director, Cat, about the current climate in Houston on sex trafficking, reasons it is growing so quickly and why Elijah Rising is in need of advocates,” Platte said. “Our group also got to tour the Museum of Modern-Day Slavery, which in itself was a huge learning tool.”

The group then traveled through neighborhoods of Houston that have been verified as places which are trafficking women.

The group concluded Fall Break by participating in a worship service with Lord of the Streets during which the students served breakfast and shared in communion with the attendees.

Platte said students grew through their experiences as they saw how some of God’s followers are responding to the city’s needs.

“I believe our students came away with a much greater awareness of God’s heart for the people society has marginalized,” he said.

In addition to Platte, those on the trip included Jaclyn Bonner, senior from Lytle; Karli Conrad, junior from Katy; Taylor Davis, freshman from Alvin; Zoe Emley, sophomore from Natalia; Sarah Fernandez, sophomore from Goliad; Lauren Gravell, freshman from Fredericksburg; Dillon Hughes, senior from Plano; Jessica Meeks, sophomore from Bridgeport; and Bailey Patton, freshman from Grand Prairie. Zac Sterling, campus missionary, accompanied the group.


HPU takes first place at crime scene investigation competition

With reporting by Alsatia Jowers, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – October 31, 2016 – A Howard Payne University team recently won first place in a crime scene investigation competition at the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice conference in Oklahoma City. HPU students competed against six other teams from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

crj-group-photo-for-webHPU participants included Jessica Huckaby, sophomore from Brownwood; Alsatia Jowers, junior from Brownwood; Jacob Salazar, junior from Lockhart; Amy Segura, senior from Brownwood; and Blake Wynn, senior from Rockwall. The team members were students in a crime scene investigation course taught by Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety. Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, and Gina Gibbs, instructor of criminal justice, accompanied the team to the competition.

“These were dedicated students who represented HPU in a very professional manner,” said Humeniuk. “I am so very proud of these five students, Ms. Gibbs for guiding them at the conference and Dr. Lilly for preparing them in class.”

At the competition, students were asked to demonstrate their knowledge in conducting an investigation by securing the crime scene, finding evidence and creating logs for all information related to the investigation, all in a span of 40 minutes. Each member had a specific task to handle, but the team worked closely together to ensure complete diligence.

Gibbs said she was very impressed with how the students conducted themselves during the conference and at the competition.

“It is very rewarding to work with such outstanding young men and women,” she said. “Our students’ professionalism, courteousness and preparedness made a strong impression on the conference attendees. I am very proud to have them represent HPU.”

The students also attended several roundtable panels and lectures at the conference, during which they learned about many important issues and studies related to the criminal justice system. Topics included incarcerated women, the difficulties students have in online classes and the dangers of the dark net.

Dr. Lilly was unable to attend the conference but said he was proud of the students for winning their first competition.

“Crime scene and criminal investigations are very difficult subjects to learn, and both fields take a tremendous amount of studying accompanied by practical training to master,” he said. “For these students to have taken first place in the competition, and to do so the very first time HPU has ever competed, is simply remarkable. Words cannot adequately express how proud I am of them.”


Cutline: A team from HPU recently took first place at a crime scene investigation competition. From left are Gina Gibbs, Blake Wynn, Jessica Huckaby, Amy Segura, Alsatia Jowers, Jacob Salazar and Dr. Paul Lilly.

HPU to plant Texas Redbud during Arbor Day celebrations November 4

trees-along-hpu-wilson-walkwayBROWNWOOD – October 31, 2016 – The public is invited to the Howard Payne University campus for Texas Arbor Day, Friday, November 4, as the university hosts a tree-planting ceremony and educational program on planting and pruning trees. The events, which begin at 3 p.m. at HPU’s Mabee University Center, are free of charge.

Nick Harrison, Texas A&M Forest Service Firewise coordinator and former Brownwood resident, will lead the training session. At the activity’s conclusion, HPU representatives will plant a 30-gallon Texas Redbud in front of the university’s Office of Admission.

Lacy Sperry, community relations manager at TXU Energy, assisted the university in securing the donation of the tree for the ceremony as well as 14 additional trees.

Terry Pritchett, HPU’s assistant vice president for facilities and planning, serves as chair of the university’s Campus Tree Advisory Committee. The committee was created to ensure the good stewardship of the environment God has given the university to manage.

“We’re thankful to Ms. Sperry and TXU for assisting us in our efforts of maintaining HPU’s reputation of being a beautiful, tree-lined campus,” said Pritchett. “HPU, and the entire Brownwood community, benefits from their efforts.”

Questions about HPU’s Arbor Day events may be directed to the university’s facilities office at 325-649-8608.

More information about Howard Payne University is available online at


Cutline: The beautiful, tree-lined HPU campus will be the setting for an educational program and tree-planting ceremony for Arbor Day on November 4.

Bonner and Mata crowned HPU Homecoming Queen and Princess

BROWNWOOD – October 28, 2016 – Jaclyn Bonner, senior from Lytle, and Adriana Mata, junior from San Angelo, were crowned Howard Payne University’s Homecoming Queen and Princess during a ceremony held today on campus.

Bonner, the daughter of Rosemary and James Bonner, is a communication major and sociology minor. She is the senior presiding senator of the Student Government Association, a leader within the Baptist Student Ministry and a columnist for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper. Additionally, she serves as a resident advisor, as a member of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society and as a volunteer intern for Genuine College Ministry. Upon graduating from HPU, she would like to work with marginalized people groups abroad then return to the United States to begin a career in advocacy and government relations.

Mata, an elementary education major minoring in music performance, is the daughter of Gloria and Lupe Mata. She is a member of the Student Activities Council and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She aspires to become an elementary teacher to share her love of music with the next generation of musicians.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on McMurry University this Saturday. The game begins at 4 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.


Cutline: Adriana Mata, left, and Jaclyn Bonner, right, were crowned HPU’s Homecoming Princess and Queen, respectively. They are pictured with HPU’s 2016 Coming Home Queen, Martha Dufresne ’71.

HPU to host display of ancient Hebrew scrolls

tanakh-displayBROWNWOOD – October 27, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies is partnering with the Christian Heritage Foundation of Cleburne to present “The Tanakh,” a program and display of the scrolls of the Hebrew Bible. There are two opportunities to attend the program – 6 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 3. The program, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

The discussion, led by Charles Garrett, executive director of the Ancient Hebrew Scroll Project, is part of HPU’s Lectures in Christian Scriptures series.

The display contains 16 scrolls which Jewish people refer to as the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) and which Christians call the 39 books of the Old Testament. The Tanakh is an acronym which stands for Torah (instruction), Neviim (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings). The scrolls are from Poland, Iraq, Morocco, Russia and other countries around the globe. Each is more than 250 years old, with the exception of six scrolls commissioned by the Christian Heritage Foundation when a worldwide search failed to discover those needed to complete the set.

“Those interested in the study of the Bible might find this program to be very informative and of great significance,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “HPU is proud to host this display and we look forward to welcoming members of the community.”

For more information, visit or contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at (325) 649-8403.


Cutline: HPU’s School of Christian Studies will present “The Tanakh,” a program and display of the scrolls of the Hebrew Bible. Photo via

HPU Homecoming to feature parade, bonfire and fireworks

BROWNWOOD – October 26, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Homecoming parade will be the longest in known history at HPU, with more than 40 floats featuring entrants from campus and the community. The parade is scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m. New this year, HPU’s Homecoming will also feature Bonfire and Fireworks on the Bayou. This event begins 9 p.m. Friday at Riverside Park in Brownwood.

“HPU is extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from the Brownwood community throughout the years,” said Stephen Sullivan ’11, MBA ’14, director of development and alumni relations. “The entire community is invited to attend these events as we celebrate Homecoming 2016.”

The Homecoming parade will follow the same route as last year. Beginning at Brownwood Coliseum, the parade will travel north on Baker St., turn left onto Center Ave., move across Austin Ave. and enter the HPU 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. Rick Phelps of Victory Life Church in Brownwood helped coordinate the parade which is sponsored by Bruner Auto Group.

Friday evening’s bonfire will be built on a steel 8-foot-by-8-foot raft that will float on Pecan Bayou. The steel for the raft was donated by Sweetwater Steel in Early and the raft was constructed by Ricky Brooks of Kool Kreations Custom Boat Docks at Lake Brownwood. The HPU men’s soccer team collected the wood that will be used for the bonfire, which will be lit by a flaming arrow shot by HPU senior Ivy Nichols of Richardson. Following the bonfire, an exciting, 15-minute fireworks show will light the night sky. The fireworks are made possible by a generous donation from an anonymous donor to HPU.

In addition to the bonfire and fireworks, various HPU student organizations will provide games and activities at Riverside Park during the events. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and snacks for this event. No alcoholic beverages are permitted.

A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available online at


HPU announces 2016 Homecoming Court

homecoming-court-2016BROWNWOOD – October 24, 2016 – Howard Payne University has announced its 2016 Homecoming Court. The Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned Friday, October 28, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are seniors Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle, Elizabeth Rainey of Poolville and Sydney Spencer of Georgetown. Princess nominees are juniors Camila Cotter of San Antonio, Marissa Godbey of Austin and Adriana Mata of San Angelo.

Jaclyn Bonner, the daughter of Rosemary and James Bonner, is a communication major and sociology minor. She is the senior presiding senator of the Student Government Association, a leader within the Baptist Student Ministry and a columnist for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper. Additionally, she serves as a resident advisor, as a member of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society and as a volunteer intern for Genuine College Ministry. Upon graduating from HPU, she would like to work with marginalized people groups abroad then return to the United States to begin a career in advocacy and government relations.

Elizabeth Rainey, an elementary education major, is the daughter of Susan and Richard Rainey. She is an honorary member of Pi Theta Chi, a local sorority founded at HPU in the spring of 2016. After graduating from the university, Rainey aspires to become an elementary reading specialist.

Sydney Spencer, the daughter of Tina and Eric Spencer, is a student in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy majoring in social work and global studies. She is the Student Government Association President and president of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. Additionally, she is an honorary member of Delta Chi Rho and is involved with Model United Nations, Pi Gamma Mu and the Social Work Club. Her career aspiration is to become an ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Camila Cotter, a music education major, is the daughter of Ivette and Michael Cotter. She is a member of the Chapel worship band, Pi Theta Chi, Gamma Beta Phi, Heritage Singers and the Concert Choir. Additionally, she serves as a resident assistant. Upon graduating from HPU, she aspires to become a high school choir teacher.

Marissa Godbey, the daughter of Tammie Kelley and Brent Godbey, majors in church music and music education with a minor in youth ministry. She serves on the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team and as president of new membership education and recruiting for Pi Theta Chi. She is a resident assistant, a member of the Heritage Singers and a section leader in HPU’s Concert Choir. After graduating from HPU, she would like to teach music in a low-income area while serving in a church. She also plans to earn a doctoral degree in choral conducting.

Adriana Mata, an elementary education major minoring in music performance, is the daughter of Gloria and Lupe Mata. She is a member of the Student Activities Council and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She aspires to become an elementary teacher to share her love of music with the next generation of musicians.

The Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on McMurry University on Saturday, October 29. The game begins at 4 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.

For a complete list of Homecoming 2016 activities, visit


Cutline: Members of HPU’s 2016 Homecoming Court are, left to right, Sydney Spencer, Elizabeth Rainey, Jaclyn Bonner, Adriana Mata, Marissa Godbey and Camila Cotter.

HPU Homecoming to feature Authors’ Reception and Archival Display

BROWNWOOD – October 24, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Walker Memorial Library will host an Authors’ Reception and Archival Display this weekend in conjunction with HPU’s Homecoming 2016 celebrations. The authors’ reception will take place Saturday, October 29, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The archival display will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Seven authors will participate in this year’s reception including Dr. Don Newbury ’61, HPU’s chancellor and former president. Additional authors include Dr. John Duncan, 1982 HPU graduate and former member of HPU’s Board of Trustees; Rev. James Goforth, 1961 HPU graduate; Craig Hughes, 1975 HPU graduate; Mark Long, 1973 HPU graduate; Murselle McMillan, 2015 HPU graduate; and Sara Musgrove, 2006 HPU graduate.

“This will be a fun time to mingle and visit,” said Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries. “If you see a book you want to purchase you will have the opportunity to do so.”

The archival display will feature a recreation of a typical office from the university’s early years. Among the items featured in this display is the Founder’s Desk, the original desk used by Dr. John D. Robnett, HPU’s founder and second president.

Also on display will be historical items and memorabilia including HPU yearbooks for viewing and purchase, photos, posters, clothing and more. A special display will honor the classes of 1966 and 1976, which are celebrating 50th and 40th class reunions, respectively.

Additionally, the library has created a t-shirt display featuring 80 HPU t-shirts.

“We encourage alumni to donate t-shirts for this display,” Riggs said. “We keep the shirts well preserved and it’s a great way to capture slices of life at HPU during different decades.”

For more information, contact HPU’s Walker Memorial Library at (325) 649-8602 or


Cutline: Many pieces of HPU memorabilia will be on display at the university’s Walker Memorial Library for Homecoming 2016 including this early version of HPU’s Buzzsaw mascot.

HPU announces Homecoming 2016 honorees

BROWNWOOD – October 20, 2016 – Howard Payne University will recognize 10 individuals during the Homecoming 2016 celebrations, October 28-30.

This year’s honorees include Dr. Vernon Holleman ’53, Distinguished Alumnus; Robert Morrison ’82, Distinguished Alumnus; Dr. Brad Collins ’01, Outstanding Young Graduate; Emily Gore ’09, Outstanding Young Graduate; Martha Dufresne ’71, Coming Home Queen; Dwain Bruner, Medal of Service; Stephen Haynes, Grand Marshal; Dan McGhee ’71, Sports Hall of Fame; Greg Nixon ’06, Sports Hall of Fame; and Dr. Adrian Gil, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award.

The honorees will be recognized during the Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, sponsored by the HPU Alumni Association, on Friday, October 28. The banquet begins at 6 p.m. The Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service award will be presented during the Hispanic Fellowship Breakfast on Saturday, October 29. For ticket information for either event, visit or call (325) 649-8044.

For more information about these and other Homecoming events, visit

Dr. Vernon Holleman ’53, Distinguished Alumnus

Dr Vernon HollemanAccording to Dr. Vernon Holleman, his preparation at HPU was so successful that he was quickly accepted into three medical schools upon graduating in 1953 with a double major in chemistry and biology and an art minor. At that time there were only three medical schools in Texas.

He chose to attend Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he graduated with his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1958. He went on to complete an internship and residency at Scott & White Clinic and Hospital before joining the senior medical staff. He continues to work reduced hours of 45 to 50 hours a week at the hospital (since renamed Baylor Scott & White). By his estimation, he has been employed continuously by Scott & White longer than any other physician.

Dr. Holleman attends yearly internal medicine review courses at Harvard Medical School and has attended courses at Southwestern Medical School and many others in the more than 58 years he has practiced medicine.

He has been a member of several churches throughout the years including Brownwood’s Calvary Baptist Church and Belton’s First Baptist Church. He is a member of the Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation organization in North America. He serves on the club’s publications and records committees.

He and his wife, Shirley Eyvonne Roberts Holleman, recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. They have three children, Richard, Joel and Douglas.

Robert Morrison ’82, Distinguished Alumnus

robert-morrisonRobert Morrison says HPU provided him with a faith-based education and lifetime friends and connections.

Morrison graduated from HPU in 1982 with a degree in physical education and minor in social studies. While at HPU, he was involved with Jackets for Jesus and Ebony Imani, and was captain of the Yellow Jacket football team. He went on to sign a free-agent contract with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks before sustaining a career-ending injury.

Morrison earned a Master of Education degree from Tarleton State University in 1987 and principal certification and a Master of Education degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University in 1998.

His career in education includes teaching, coaching and administrative positions at several Texas high schools. He began his career as teacher and coach at Bangs High School before becoming a teacher and coach at Westfield High School in Spring. He then served as assistant and associate principal at Spring High School; assistant and associate principal at Montgomery High School; and principal at Sweeny High School. He currently serves as principal at Abilene High School.

Morrison’s professional affiliations include memberships in the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (also past-president), the Texas Association of African-American Principals, the Legislative Committee, the Texas Assistant Principal’s Committee, the Texas High School Coaches Association and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

He has received numerous honors including Teacher of the Year for Bangs High School and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Assistant Principal of the Year for Region 6 in 2012-2013.

Dr. Brad Collins ’01, Outstanding Young Graduate

dr-brad-collinsDr. Brad Collins says the HPU faculty, administration, coaching staff and other personnel encouraged him to find his vision and gave him the platform to achieve it.

Dr. Collins graduated from HPU in 2001 with a degree in biology. While at the university, he was a member of HPU’s football team for four years, during which he was named Academic All-Conference. He was also a member of the track team for one year.

Upon graduating from Parker University in 2004 with his Doctor of Chiropractic degree, Dr. Collins purchased a private practice where he has been owner and doctor for 11 years. He has also had the opportunity to be the team doctor for several teams that have won state championships in football and track. He has also worked with multiple Olympic athletes, collegiate athletes and professional baseball and football players.

Dr. Collins is a member of Grandview’s First Baptist Church where he serves on the personnel committee. Additionally, he is a member of the Disciple All Nations Board of Directors and Grandview’s School Board of Trustees. He is a former member of Grandview’s 4B Economic Development Board.

He and his wife, Dr. Kandace R. Collins, have three children, Carter, Codi and Kenna.

Emily Gore ’09, Outstanding Young Graduate

emily-goreEmily Gore says HPU, particularly the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy (then the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom) and the Department of Communication Studies, gave her the skills needed to become a strong, qualified working professional.

Gore graduated from HPU in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and minor in public relations. While at HPU, she was involved with Model United Nations and the Sumners Scholars program.

Gore went on to earn a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked in the field of public health preparedness since 2007 when she began her career with the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department. She has served as the public health manager for the Dallas County Health and Human Services Public Health Preparedness Division since 2011. In that role, she is responsible for public health and medical preparedness and response programs ranging from infectious disease to bioterrorism and other all-hazards threats.

She has been a state and national reviewer for the Project Public Health Ready Accreditation Program for local health departments and is currently serving as the vice chair on the Medical Countermeasures Workgroup for the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). She also recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to serve as a committee member and panelist for the Institute of Medicine’s workshop on Sustainability of the CDC Strategic National Stockpile. She has been a panelist and speaker for other events including the NACCHO Annual Conference, NACCHO Public Health Preparedness Summit and the Contingency Planning and Management Symposium.

Many of Gore’s family members also attended HPU including her grandparents, Dale ’55 and Laverne ’54 Gore. Dale Gore is a current member of HPU’s Board of Trustees.

Martha Dufresne ’71, Coming Home Queen

martha-dufresneMartha (Beene) Dufresne says HPU (then Howard Payne College) provided her with a Christian environment and Bible-based curriculum as well as Christian professors, friends and disciplines that continually reminded her of her relationship with Christ.

Dufresne graduated from the university in 1971 with a degree in business education and a minor in music education. She went on to earn an associate degree in nursing from Midland College in 1985. In addition to being a wife, mother, grandmother and homemaker, she has served in a variety of roles including missionary, public school teacher, college instructor, paramedic instructor, emergency medical technician, registered nurse and homecare giver.

While at HPU, she was involved with organizations such as the Baptist Student Union, Sigma Alpha Sigma and the Oratorio Chorus. She served as a summer missionary to Michigan with the Home Mission Board and was named to the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities list.

She served on HPU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1994 to 2000, including a stint as president from 1996 to 1998. Additionally, she is a member of the alumna group Sisters of the Seventies. She is active in her church as a Sunday School teacher among other roles and has held leadership positions within the Woman’s Missionary Union.

She and her husband, Thomas Dufresne ’72, have two daughters, Christy (Dufresne) Lannom ’94 (spouse Clint Lannom) and Alicia (Dufresne) Music ’98 (spouse John Music ’00), and eight grandchildren.

Dwain Bruner, Medal of Service

dwain-brunerThe Bruner name is widely recognized in this area of Texas, and Dwain Bruner and family have made a significant impact on HPU and Baptist higher education.

Bruner graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1951 and from Detroit’s Chevrolet School of Merchandising & Management in 1956. Additionally, he served in the United States Navy from 1951 to 1955 and the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1955 to 1972, with the final rank of Commander.

He was employed with his father at Bruner Chevrolet Co. in Kerens from 1955 to 1962; as a Chevrolet dealer at Dwain Bruner Chevrolet in Wolfe City from 1962 to 1969; as a GM/Chrysler dealer at Bruner Motors, Inc., in Stephenville from 1969 to present; and as a GM/Toyota dealer at Bruner Auto Group in Brownwood/Early from 2007 to present.

Bruner has been a member of Stephenville’s First Baptist Church since 1969, having served as a deacon, teacher, substitute organist and on various committees throughout the years. Additionally, he has served on the Wolfe City and Stephenville school boards, the Erath County Central Appraisal District Board and HPU’s Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Brownwood, Early and Stephenville Chambers of Commerce.

Bruner is married to Carolyn Wyatt Bruner and they have two children, Gwyn (Bruner) Schneck and Greg Bruner, a current member of HPU’s Board of Trustees.

Stephen Haynes, Grand Marshal

stephen-haynesThough Stephen Haynes, mayor of Brownwood since 2010, didn’t attend HPU, he says the university did help him prepare for future success. Both of his parents, Darrell Haynes ’64 and Marilyn Corea Haynes ’67, are graduates and HPU left a lasting impact on them that dramatically influenced his childhood.

Haynes graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1999 with a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. He is licensed by the State Bar of Texas, the All Federal District Courts in Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

He began his legal career in Dallas where he worked for several years. In 2006, he moved home to Brownwood where he practices law and is a partner in the Haynes Law Firm, P.C. His practice is devoted to all types of civil law with a particular emphasis in civil litigation.

Haynes is actively involved in many community and civic affairs. He is a past chairman of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and vice president of Brownwood Manor, Inc. Additionally, he serves as a deacon at Austin Avenue Church of Christ.

He and his wife, Lori, have four children, Austin, Emily, Allie and Ella.

Dan McGhee ’71, Sports Hall of Fame

dan-mcgheeDan McGhee was a four-year letterman at HPU. McGhee, who graduated from the university in 1971, was also a four-time All-Lone Star Conference selection for some of the best teams in Howard Payne history.

With 1,694 career points (1967-’68, ’68-’69, ’69-’70, ’70-’71), McGhee scored a career-high 40 points versus Southwest Texas State College on February 24, 1968.

He had 651 career field goals, 392 career free throws and 775 career rebounds, all three still in the top 10 all-time at HPU. He grabbed a career high 18 rebounds versus Roseland AAU on March 29, 1970.

McGhee was drafted on January 23, 1971, by the Dallas Chaparrals American Basketball Association (ABA), a 17th round pick (#165 overall). The Dallas Chaparrals later become the San Antonio Spurs.

McGhee lived in Brownwood for many years after college but now resides in Brenham.

Greg Nixon ’06, Sports Hall of Fame

greg-nixonGreg Nixon, class of 2006, was an All-American sprinter and football standout for the Howard Payne athletic program.

In his junior year of 2005-2006, Nixon started running track in college part-time to help keep his speed for football. With only a few months of training, he became the NCAA Division III national champion at 200 meters. In his senior season, Nixon won the national championship crown in the 100 and 200 meter, making him a four-time All-American in the sprints.

Along with conference championships in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, Nixon was named the American Southwest Conference Athlete of the Year at the end of his senior season.

After college, Nixon was convinced to run the 400-meter and went on to claim the 2007 U.S. Indoor National 400-meter title only having run the race four times in his career.

Qualifying for the U.S. Outdoor National Championships later that year, Nixon also made his first USA team participating in the Pan Am Games earning a silver medal in the 4×400 meter relay.

In 2008, Nixon won a gold medal in the 2008 World Indoor Championships 4×400 meter relay and also made it to the finals in the U.S. Olympic trials, placing 7th.

In 2009, he led the world in the 400 meter, 300 meter and 200 meter in indoor. Nixon made another U.S. Indoor World team in 2010, winning a second gold medal.

Also in 2010, Nixon won the U.S. Outdoor National title in the 400 meter with a world-leading time of 44.61. He went on the next year to run with USA in the 4×400 meter, helping claim the 2011 World Outdoor Championship.

Dr. Adrian Gil, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award

dr-adrian-gilDr. Adrian Gil joined HPU’s faculty in fall 2014 as director of the university’s El Paso Center and associate professor of business. Under his leadership, the center has increased its academic offerings and taken advantage of new opportunities for community engagement.

Dr. Gil graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He then worked for two global manufacturers where he was allowed to fast-track through several functional positions managing engineering, quality assurance, environmental compliance, safety, purchasing, production control and distribution.

While working, Dr. Gil returned to UTEP to obtain his Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in finance. He later returned to school once more to complete his doctoral degree in international business with an emphasis in strategic management.

His work has been presented at several national and international conferences and he is a published researcher. In addition to his teaching and administrative duties at HPU, he has taught courses at UTEP and the University of Houston-Downtown.

He and his wife, Joanna, have three sons, Adrian, Andres and Joshua.