News Archives

HPU Honors Academy student interns in D.C. over summer

Landon HankinsBROWNWOOD – September 16, 2013 – Landon Hankins, who will graduate in December from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy (formerly the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom), spent the summer interning in Washington, D.C., with the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS). Hankins’ stay in D.C. was funded through the Honors Academy, which provides students with stipends to aid in the cost of completing internships for their majors.

“The funds help students enhance their education by applying what they have learned in the classroom to a real-life setting,” said Dr. Justin Murphy, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Honors Academy.

Hankins travelled to D.C. through The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) program, which organized his living arrangements, classes for the semester and other activities. During the summer, he attended two classes – Economics & Public Policy and American Political Thought – at George Mason University’s Arlington campus. TFAS participants were housed on The George Washington University campus in Foggy Bottom, just blocks from many memorials and other significant D.C. locations.

Hankins also had the opportunity to attend a variety of lectures by individuals such as former Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and others. In addition, he was able to sit in on several sessions of the CHDS’s Caribbean Defense and Security Course.

“Needless to say, my summer experience was invaluable, and I am very thankful for the opportunities and the support given by the Honors Academy,” stated Hankins.


Photo cutline: Landon Hankins, who will graduate from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, interned in Washington, D.C., during the summer.

HPU alumna addresses International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities

IABCU RiversideBROWNWOOD – September 16, 2013 – Jennifer Gober, a 2002 Howard Payne University alumna, spoke at the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) annual meeting held this summer at California Baptist University in Riverside. Gober is a member of the Baptist College & University (BCU) Scholars Program, a partnership between Baylor University Graduate School, the IABCU and IABCU partner schools.

In addition to travelling to the IABCU annual meeting, BCU Scholars have the opportunity to attend retreats and seminars, network with administrators from IABCU schools and fellowship with other doctoral students planning to teach in Christian colleges and universities.

Gober is pursuing a doctoral degree in chemistry at Baylor and plans to become a professor. She began her career in chemistry at HPU.

“I really enjoyed my time at Howard Payne,” she said. “I loved the small setting and the interactions I had with students and professors.”

Gober has particularly fond memories of then-dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, Dr. Donal Bird.

“Dr. Bird and his wife, Mrs. Marjorie Bird (who taught in the physical sciences and mathematics departments), really cared about their students,” she said.

According to Gober, the personal connections she shared with the HPU faculty members prepared her for life as a scientist.

“As a chemist, I have found that it is very easy sometimes to focus only on the science and the work right in front of me, be it my research in the lab or teaching the material to students,” said Gober in her speech at the annual meeting. “As a Christian, I endeavor to follow God and to love those around me. The question then becomes how to incorporate both the Scientist and the Christian in my approach to teaching and how to be a whole person who can teach from a solid base and help students grow as people, not just pass the tests and make the grade.”

She said the BCU Scholars Program has “opened her eyes to these questions.”

“Once you ask the right question, you can start finding the right answer,” she said.


Photo cutline: HPU alumna Jennifer Gober, second from left, and other BCU Scholars (from left) Chris Moore, Courtney Parker and B.J. Parker, spoke at the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) annual meeting held at California Baptist University in Riverside.

HPU names Clint Dempsey assistant vice president for development

Clint Dempsey for webBROWNWOOD – September 16, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently named Clint Dempsey assistant vice president for development. Dempsey, a Brownwood native, has assumed primary responsibility for the school’s annual fund and assists in other campus fundraising efforts.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Dempsey most recently served as vice president of operations for A&M’s 12th Man Foundation.

“Clint’s background at the 12th Man Foundation has prepared him well for his new role,” said Randy Yeakley, vice president for development at HPU. “Additionally, he has the added advantage of growing up here in Brownwood. I hope you will join the university in welcoming him back to town.”

Dempsey, a former Brownwood High School athlete, is the son of Larry and Karen Dempsey of Brownwood. He and his wife, Bethanne, are the parents of a one-year-old daughter, Tyler.


Photo cutline: Brownwood native Clint Dempsey was recently named assistant vice president for development at HPU.

HPU named a “Best Regional College of the West” by U.S. News & World Report

HPU Bell TowersBROWNWOOD – September 13, 2013 – Howard Payne University again received competitive rankings in the 2014 edition of “Best Colleges” released this week by U.S. News & World Report. HPU placed 14 out of the institutions in the “Best Regional Colleges of the West” category. Additionally, the university maintained its 2013 eighth-place ranking in the “Best Value Schools” category for regional colleges of the West.

The publication ranked nearly 1,800 higher-education institutions from across the country based on 16 indicators of academic quality including student-faculty ratio, graduation and retention rankings, peer assessment scores and available financial resources. “Best Value Schools,” described by U.S. News as “great schools at great prices,” are determined by comparing the institution’s academic quality to the cost of attendance.

Institutions are ranked within four geographic regions: North, South, Midwest and West. Universities and colleges in Texas and Oklahoma compete in the West region, which is the largest geographic section, encompassing the entire Western U.S.

According to the publication, the ranking methodology was significantly updated this year to place more emphasis on student outcomes.

“U.S. News strives to provide students and their families with the most comprehensive data available,” said Bob Morse, director of data research, in a press release issued by the publication. “Measuring outcomes is critical to understanding how well a school retains and educates its students.”

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, encourages people to visit the university to determine its value on their own.

“We’re very pleased with our U.S. News rankings,” he said. “What truly makes this a remarkable university, however, are the things that can’t be ranked on a numeric scale. I encourage prospective students and their families to come to campus, meet our faculty and staff, witness our student life and find out what it’s like to be part of the HPU family.”

To schedule a campus visit, call (325) 649-8020 or go to More information about HPU’s “2014 Best Colleges” ranking can be found online at


Photo cutline: Howard Payne University was recently named a “Best Regional College of the West” and a “Best Value School” by U.S. News & World Report.

HPU designated “Military Friendly School”

BROWNWOOD – September 13, 2013 – Howard Payne University was named to the Military Friendly Schools® list by Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The 2014 Military Friendly Schools® list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the U.S. that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

“Inclusion on the 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools® shows HPU’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, vice president at Victory Media and a nine-year Navy veteran. “The need for education is growing and our mission is to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools.”

The Military Friendly Schools® website, found at, features the list, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best schools to suit their unique needs and preferences. The 1,868 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience. These schools have world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, academic accreditation, credit policies, flexibility and other services to those who served.

Now in its fifth year, the 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools® was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 10,000 schools nationwide approved for VA tuition funding. The survey results that comprise the 2014 list were independently tested by Ernst & Young LLP based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media. Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country. A full list of board members can be found at


Founded in 1889, Howard Payne University is a Christ-centered academic community dedicated to excellence by developing and equipping the whole person for intellectual inquiry, personal and professional integrity, and service to God and humanity.

Located in Brownwood, Texas, HPU offers a full array of undergraduate programs and a limited number of graduate programs in a traditional residential academic community. The university also offers selected undergraduate and graduate course work by electronic means and at extended learning centers in El Paso, Texas, and New Braunfels, Texas. HPU maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio, which contributes to the university’s reputation of being “a place where everybody is somebody.”

Eight join faculty at Howard Payne University

fall 2013 new facultyBROWNWOOD – September 11, 2013 – The fall 2013 semester at Howard Payne University brought eight new full-time faculty members to the HPU classrooms.

“HPU sought and found the highest quality of individuals to add to our faculty,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “We’re delighted to start the semester with an excellent group of new and returning faculty members to help shape the minds of our students.”

Dr. P. Graham Hatcher joins HPU as professor of exercise and sport science and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. He most recently served at Blue Mountain College in Mississippi.

Lori (Anderson) Kelley, J.D., serves as assistant professor of political science and holds the title of J.D. Sandefer Chair of Political Science. Kelley, a 2002 HPU alumna, most recently served at Dell, Inc.

Dr. Kevin Kelley is the new assistant professor of organizational psychology and business. His most recent professional experience includes TAD (Talent Assessment and Development) business development and consulting.

Dr. Brad Lemler, a certified public accountant, joined the full-time faculty as professor of accounting. Dr. Lemler, who previously served as an HPU adjunct, joined the university from Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.

Dr. Melody Maxwell serves as HPU’s new assistant professor of Christian studies. She joins the university from East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.

Dr. Denny Megarity, who previously served as an HPU adjunct faculty member, joined the full-time faculty this semester as assistant professor of chemistry. Prior to HPU, he served at Mind Technologies Institute.

Dr. Dan Pryor also joined the full-time faculty this semester after serving as an adjunct. Dr. Pryor, assistant professor of business, previously served at St. Edwards University in Austin and Texas State University in San Marcos.

Dr. Craig Younce is HPU’s new assistant professor of biology. He most recently taught at Valencia College in Orlando.


Photo cutline: Eight individuals joined the faculty at HPU. From left: Dr. P. Graham Hatcher, Dr. Brad Lemler, Dr. Dan Pryor, Dr. Denny Megarity, Dr. Craig Younce, Dr. Kevin Kelley, Lori Kelley and Dr. Melody Maxwell.

HPU welcomes largest number of incoming freshmen in more than 30 years

jj_group (1)BROWNWOOD – September 4, 2013 – Howard Payne University announced today that the largest number of new students in more than three decades enrolled at the university for the fall 2013 semester. HPU welcomed 340 first-year students and 50 transfer students to the university. Total enrollment for the semester is 1,170 which includes undergraduate and graduate students from HPU’s Brownwood, El Paso and New Braunfels campuses.

“We’ve anxiously awaited the totals so that we could officially share the good news,” said Kevin Kirk, associate vice president for enrollment management. “This is the largest number of incoming freshmen the university has seen since the 1970s, and they are joining a great group of returning students.”

Kirk compared seeing the new students on campus to the excitement a child feels on Christmas morning.

“The HPU faculty and staff all worked so hard to bring in this incredible class of great students and we are so thankful that God chose to bless those many efforts,” he said.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, says the enrollment figures are encouraging but he sees value beyond the numbers.

“There is so much potential in each and every one of these students,” he said. “We are extremely blessed to welcome so many into the HPU family and I pray that the university, in turn, is a blessing to them.”

TaShana Hooker, a music education major from Carrollton, is a member of the freshman class.

“I’ve already met so many wonderful people, and the professors are so kind and understanding,” she said. “Most importantly, I’m able to expand my faith here without worrying about feeling uncomfortable about it. I love HPU so much, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this semester and school year holds.”

Photo cutline: HPU enrolled the largest number of new Yellow Jackets since the 1970s for the fall 2013 semester. New students are pictured doing the “Sting ’em” cheer during Jacket Journey, HPU’s new-student orientation week, with upperclassmen group leaders and student life staff.

HPU renames honors program after former president Dr. Guy D. Newman

NewmanBROWNWOOD – September 3, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently announced the decision to rename its multidisciplinary academic honors program the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy. The name change followed unanimous votes by the Academy Board of Directors and HPU’s Board of Trustees.

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.

“The new title is descriptive of the Academy’s academic mission as envisioned by Dr. Newman,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, the program’s director.

Dr. Newman was serving as Baylor University’s vice president in charge of developing and fundraising in 1955 when the HPU (then Howard Payne College) Board of Trustees elected him president.

According to Dr. Robert Mangrum, HPU’s university historian and professor of history and political science, Dr. Newman became concerned that many Americans were losing touch with their great American heritage and particularly with the influence of Christianity in the development of the “American Way of Life.” Dr. Newman’s autobiography, “One Guy’s Dream” (1985), described his vision for the honors program.

“Our purpose was to reach the totality of the individual students, giving them a true perspective not only of our American system but also of the world in which they live, enabling them to go out and encounter with courage and confidence the exigencies thrust upon all youth of all times in a meaningful and perceptive way,” he wrote.

More than 400 students have graduated from the Academy since its inception, going on to serve in a variety of fields including law, politics, business, ministry, government, medicine, education, economics, psychology and social work.

In addition to the creation of the Academy, Dr. Newman’s tenure saw the construction of six new campus buildings, increased enrollment, improved faculty salaries and numerous other campus improvements.

Dr. Newman met personally with General MacArthur in 1962 to seek permission to name the program in his honor. According to Dr. Murphy, General MacArthur’s unwavering loyalty to America will continue to remain a central image of the Academy and its ideals.

After serving for 18 years as president, Dr. Newman retired and was named chancellor of the university. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 82.

“The Academy has always and will always continue to align with Dr. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, Western civilization and principles of free enterprise,” said Dr. Murphy.


Photo cutline: HPU recently announced its decision to rename its multidisciplinary academic honors program after former president Dr. Guy D. Newman.

Rev. Ray Still of New Braunfels speaks at HPU Convocation

Rev. Ray Still, senior pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels, spoke at Howard Payne University’s Convocation on Wednesday.BROWNWOOD – August 29, 2013 – Rev. Ray Still, senior pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels, addressed new and returning Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff at University Convocation on Wednesday. The event marked the first chapel service of the academic year.

Rev. Still, who has led Oakwood Baptist Church for 20 years, has served on the boards of McKenna Memorial Hospital, McKenna Legacy Foundation, Christus Santa Rosa and Houston Baptist University. He is also the chairman of the New Braunfels Bond Advisory Committee. Rev. Still has been married to his wife, Sandra, for 32 years and they have one son.

Rev. Still discussed the various journeys students will take during their years at HPU.

“God is always in motion,” he told the students. “Where does He want to take you? What does He want to show you? The faculty members at HPU will challenge you. What will you be open to experience with Jesus?”

Additional Convocation program participants included Dr. Bill Ellis, president; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music; Dr. Jennifer Clement, assistant professor of psychology; Mike Dillard, assistant professor of business administration; Katherine Licce, senior music major from Bertram; Catherine Mullaney, senior English major and president of the Student Government Association from Boylston, Mass.; Dr. Allen Reed, professor of music; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music; and Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and president of the Faculty Assembly.


Photo cutline: Rev. Ray Still, senior pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels, spoke at Howard Payne University’s Convocation on Wednesday.

Dr. Pamela Bryant named dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics

Dr. Pamela Bryant has been named dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at Howard Payne University.BROWNWOOD – August 28, 2013 – Howard Payne University has named Dr. Pamela Bryant dean of the university’s School of Science and Mathematics. She had served as interim dean since the fall 2012 semester.

Dr. Bryant, a professor of chemistry, came to HPU in 2001. She holds a doctorate in chemistry from Louisiana State University and completed post-doctoral work in chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, she holds a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s degree in chemical education, both from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

In conjunction with other science and math faculty members, Dr. Bryant recently launched HPU’s new engineering science degree program. In addition, Dr. Bryant helped to develop a Teacher Quality Grant with Dr. Michael Rosato, dean of HPU’s School of Education, to promote improved instruction in mathematics and science for Texas schoolchildren by providing professional development for their teachers.

Dr. Bryant received HPU’s Excellence in Teaching award in 2003 and the Outstanding Faculty Member award for the 2005-2006 academic year.

“We’re very pleased with the excellent ways in which Dr. Bryant has served the university,” said Dr. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “We look forward to many more advances for the School of Science and Mathematics under her leadership.”


Photo cutline: Dr. Pamela Bryant has been named dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at Howard Payne University.