News Archives

HPU Jazz Band to present fall concert featuring Dr. Tarik Hassan of New Orleans

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Jazz Band’s fall concert will feature jazz bassist Dr. Tarik Hassan and will be held on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. The concert is free of charge and open to the public.

Dr. Hassan is a distinguished scholar, performer and composer from New Orleans who has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Les Cultures du Monde in France, and Snug Harbor and House of Blues jazz clubs in New Orleans.

This year, the band’s program will present classic jazz styles such as Cool, Bebop and Latin Jazz. A new jazz arrangement of George Gershwin’s 1932 orchestral work “Cuban Overture” will be presented as well as a big-band adaptation of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s 1953 tribute to gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.

“We are pleased to present our students and Dr. Hassan to our campus and community,” said Stephen Goacher, director of the ensemble and professor of music. “This concert will be a celebration of this great American music – jazz.”

The HPU Jazz Band has garnered numerous accolades in its rich history. More recently, it won consecutive Outstanding Collegiate Band awards at the Temple Jazz Festival from 2006 to 2009 and gave other performances and awards at the festival in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Additionally, the band performed at the North Texas Jazz Festival in 2010.

For more information, call HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.


Cutline: New Orleans jazz bassist Dr. Tarik Hassan will perform during the HPU Jazz Band’s fall concert on Thursday, October 20.

HPU Herbarium to sponsor worldwide WeDigBio event

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Herbarium will sponsor a Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Bio Collections event on Saturday, October 22, from 9:00 a.m. to noon in room 113 of the university’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. The public is invited to participate.

WeDigBio is a four-day event to promote biodiversity that engages participants online and onsite as they digitize natural history collections. Onsite events are hosted by museums, herbaria, universities and other institutions and enable participants to get involved with local collections. Online events engage volunteers from around the globe by facilitating the transcription of specimen information from images hosted by worldwide transcription platforms.

“We are very excited to be a part of this worldwide endeavor,” said Dr. Marilyn Mathis, associate professor of biology. “This event will help make biological collections available to everyone.”

The HPU group will work with Botanical Research Institute of Texas to build a database of Texas flora. Volunteers will transcribe various plant specimen labels at the event. During the transcribing process, volunteers with have the opportunity to win prizes and play various games, such as Habitat Locations, Geo Locator and Timeline Tracker. There will also be short programs for volunteers to view titled “A Visit to Kew Gardens in London, England” with senior Sara Wood, biology major from Orange Grove, and “A Visit to Eastern Australia” with senior Keaton Fletcher, biology major from Perryton.

For more information, call HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics at 325-649-8400.


HPU students receive top speaker awards at Moot Court tournament

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2016 – Five Howard Payne University students recently competed in their first Moot Court tournament of the year, with three receiving top speaker awards. The event was held at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio.

HPU students who brought home awards were sophomore Bailey Myler, a Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social science jurisprudence major from Brownwood (fourth speaker); junior Jakob Morgan, a Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social science jurisprudence major from Blanket (sixth speaker); and freshman Jordan Hahn, a Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and political science international studies major from Burnet (ninth speaker).

HPU took two Moot Court teams to the competition. The Moot Court 1 team was comprised of Hahn and freshman Andie McCoy, a Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social studies composite high school major from Whitehouse. Hahn and McCoy’s team advanced to the semi-finals. The Moot Court 2 team was comprised of Myler and junior Justin Harris, a social science jurisprudence major from Fort Worth. Morgan had the opportunity to partner with a student from The University of Texas San Antonio to form a hybrid team.

“This was our first competition of the 2016-2017 season, and I could not be more proud of our Moot Court team,” said Lorianna Kelly J.D., assistant professor of government and HPU Moot Court sponsor. “The entire team has worked hard to prepare arguments and practice answering difficult questions, and it is great to see that hard work pay off. I can’t wait to see how well our team does throughout the season.”

In recognition of their achievement, Stephen M. Sheppard, dean of St. Mary’s University School of Law, awarded Hahn and McCoy with a $5,000 scholarship each. Sheppard also awarded a $2,500 scholarship to each of the other HPU team members.


HPU Homecoming festivities to include bonfire, fireworks and parade

hpu-bonfire-raft-2016 BROWNWOOD – October 11, 2016 – Howard Payne University will host a bonfire, a fireworks show and a parade as featured parts of the university’s Homecoming 2016 celebration. The Bonfire and Fireworks on the Bayou event is scheduled for Friday, October 28, at 9:00 p.m. at Riverside Park in Brownwood. The parade is scheduled for Saturday, October 29, at 10:00 a.m. The public is invited to attend each of these events.

The 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.

“We are excited to have the bonfire and fireworks this year as part of our Homecoming events,” said Stephen Sullivan ’11, MBA ’14, director of development and alumni relations at HPU. “Our hope is that these events will provide an opportunity for HPU alumni to engage with current students as well as the community. Everyone is invited to attend.”

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.

Parade Route Map_Revised_2014This year’s HPU 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.

The parade will feature student-designed floats and other attractions including the HPU Yellow Jacket Marching Band and the HPU mascot, Buzzsaw. Additionally, there will be a variety of floats and participants from the community.

“HPU’s Homecoming parade will include community, alumni and current student participants,” said Laura Benoit, associate director of alumni relations at the university. “We are excited this year to have Rick Phelps of Victory Life Church in Brownwood to help us coordinate the parade and we look forward to seeing many community members on Saturday morning enjoying this HPU tradition.”

The Homecoming parade is sponsored by Bruner Auto Group.

Community organizations interested in participating in the parade can register online at

A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available online at


An 8-foot-by-8-foot bonfire raft will float on the Pecan Bayou during HPU’s Homecoming 2016 Bonfire and Fireworks on the Bayou event. The raft was constructed by Ricky Brooks of Kool Kreations Custom Boat Docks using steel donated by Sweetwater Steel.

HPU’s Homecoming 2016 parade will begin at Brownwood Coliseum and end in front of the Doakie Day Art Center on the HPU campus.

Scholarships awarded to three HPU pre-college music students

BROWNWOOD – October 11, 2016 – Three students from Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art Program were recently awarded scholarships at the 18th Annual Music Scholarship Awards in Eastland during the town’s Rip Festival. The scholarship awards were presented by the Nancy Seaberry Frost Arts Endowment.

The Mary Frances Bishop Memorial Scholarship was awarded to 13-year-old Sarah Ann Reeves, a piano and voice student from Goldthwaite. The Wilda Dragoo Music Scholarship was awarded to piano students Christopher Ivy, age 6, and Kyle Ivy, age 12, both of Brownwood. The three scholarship recipients are students of Diane Owens, director of HPU’s Pre-College Music Program.

Each student must present letters of recommendation to the scholarship committee and write a personal letter explaining why he or she is deserving of this monetary award. Academic accomplishments and community service are also factors in becoming a recipient of one of the scholarships.

“I am very proud of these three students,” said Owens. “They all work hard to do their best, are always well-prepared for their lessons and have a love of music. It is a great pleasure to work with them and see them develop into fine musicians.”

NSF Arts has awarded hundreds of music scholarships and sponsored more than 100 concerts across Texas since 1999. NSF Arts is a proud sponsor of many youth music programs in the state that provide concert tickets and music education experiences for Texas school children.

For more information about HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art Program, call 325-649-8500.


HPU’s Yellow Jacket Band given new drum major stand

BROWNWOOD – October 11, 2016 –  Howard Payne University’s Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma groups recently purchased a new drum major stand for the HPU Yellow Jacket Band. Pictured are HPU’s Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma group members along with Corey Ash, director of bands and associate professor of music (second row, far right), and Dr. Robert Mangrum, group sponsor, university historian and professor of history and government (third row, far right).



HPU to host UIL speech and debate workshop for area schools

BROWNWOOD – October 7, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau, the university’s award-winning speech and debate team, will host a University Interscholastic League speech and debate workshop for area high schools. The workshop will take place on Thursday, December 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center. The cost is $25 per student and coaches are admitted at no charge.

Workshops will be held for both novice and experienced competitors. Events will include prose, poetry, informative and persuasive extemporaneous speaking and Lincoln-Douglas and Cross-Examination debate. Experienced competitors are encouraged to bring competition pieces and cases. Students will receive experiential learning and coaching help from college competitors with innovative ideas, creative instruction and results-driven performance.

“We are pleased to be offering this annual speech and debate workshop for area schools,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication.
“We have an exceptional team of 14 forensic competitors on our HPU team this year and they have both the experience and expertise to help coach high school students.”

For registration and other details, please contact Dr. Julie Welker at

More information about Howard Payne University is available online at


HPU students advance at Rice University Speech and Debate Tournament

dsc_0418BROWNWOOD – October 7, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at the Rice University Classic Speech and Debate Tournament at Rice University, in Houston. Two of HPU’s debate teams advanced to the partial-octofinal round at the tournament.

HPU students who advanced in competition include Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake; and Christopher Freeland, sophomore biochemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Bangs; Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington; and Andrea Balderas, junior biology major from Lytle.

Students must have had a winning record in preliminary rounds to advance. Thirty-two teams from 21 participating schools competed at the tournament.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, directs the team.

“For our first tournament of the year, this is a great accomplishment,” Dr. Welker said. “The tournament at Rice University always draws very competitive teams, so for HPU to advance two teams is quite an accomplishment.”

Students also competed in eight other speech events, including impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, poetry, prose, programmed oral interpretation, informative speaking, persuasive speaking, and dramatic interpretation.

Freshman Erin Haley, communication major from Mason, said that her first collegiate speech tournament was a good learning experience.

“It was unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m excited to continue competing and developing my pieces,” said Haley.

Also competing at the tournament were Morgan Ashmore, senior communication major from Weatherford; Brooklyn Britton, freshman theatre major from Brownwood; Gabrielle McWhirter, senior theatre major from Brownwood; Madison Neal, freshman social science jurisprudence major from Chandler; Tyler Olin, sophomore social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe; Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd; Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth; and Haylee Williams, freshman communication major from Bellville.

Sidni Kirby, instructor of communication, assisted by travelling with and coaching the team as well.


Photo cutline: Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau competed at Rice University recently with two teams advancing in competition. 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.

Swonger receives full-tuition scholarship to Howard Payne University as student in Honors Academy

jessica-swongerBROWNWOOD, TEXAS – October 4, 2016 – Jessica Swonger, a recent graduate of Mountain Home High School in Mountain Home, Arkansas, was recently awarded a full-tuition scholarship to attend Howard Payne University as a student in the university’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. Swonger, the daughter of Darin and Melissa Swonger, began at HPU this fall and plans to major in jurisprudence, psychology and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

The Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy is designed for academically gifted students who aspire to leadership roles in a variety of careers. Students develop critical-thinking skills by analyzing current issues through the multidisciplinary Honors Academy major, which includes courses from the School of Humanities and the School of Business.

Swonger learned of HPU through friends who are alumni of the university. She learned about the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy after looking more closely to see what HPU had to offer. Additionally, she was excited about the opportunity to play soccer at the university.

“I chose HPU because of the large-school opportunities within the small-school atmosphere,” said Swonger. “Howard Payne has everything I need to accomplish my goals and I am able to have an extensive and unique education while continuing my soccer career as a Yellow Jacket.”

At HPU, Jessica would like to participate in Moot Court, Model U.N. and other extracurricular activities. She plans to attend law school after graduation and become an international attorney focused on human trafficking.

“We are thrilled to welcome an exceptional new class into HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of the Honors Academy. “Jessica joins a small cohort of equally dedicated, bright and talented students as they learn to put into practice the Academy’s motto: ‘Facing the Future with Faith and Knowledge.’”

For more information about HPU and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, visit


Photo cutline: Jessica Swonger received a full-tuition scholarship to attend Howard Payne University as a student in the university’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

Marroquin receives HPU New Braunfels Center’s J. Mart Findlater Scholarship

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BROWNWOOD – September 27, 2016 – Marzena Marroquin of New Braunfels has been awarded Howard Payne University New Braunfels Center’s J. Mart Findlater Scholarship. The scholarship, the first to be presented by HPU in New Braunfels, provides $2,700 per semester.

Marroquin, a sophomore business administration major, graduated from Canyon High School in New Braunfels in 2014. She is the daughter of Linda Medrano Martinez of New Braunfels.

“We are honored to have Marzena as the recipient of HPU NB’s first scholarship,” said Christy Meinecke, HPU’s major gifts officer for the south-central region. “Marzena is the type of student who makes her hometown proud and we are thrilled to have her as a student. I am excited to see what the future has in store for her.”

The scholarship was established in memory of J. Mart Findlater by family members to benefit a graduate of the Communities In Schools of South Central Texas program.

“We are thrilled that this scholarship is benefitting one of our Communities In Schools of South Central Texas graduates, opening doors to a high-quality education at Howard Payne University in such a supportive and more intimate environment,” said Christine (Chris) Douglas, chief executive officer of Communities In Schools of South Central Texas, Inc. “We share our appreciation with the donors!”

J. Mart Findlater was a son of Irish immigrants who came to Texas in 1882. Findlater’s father, a rancher who realized other ranchers had a constant need for supplies, founded the Findlater Hardware Co. in San Angelo in 1895 and sold windmills, pipe fittings, water towers and fencing materials. J. Mart Findlater became one of the first Boy Scout Leaders in San Angelo and attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, and Texas A&M University in College Station. He also served in the Texas Calvary during World War I. After the war, he joined the family business and eventually became president of Findlater Hardware Co., a position he held for more than 50 years. He passed away in 1972 and is remembered for his unselfish nature, strong Christian faith, integrity and patriotism.

To establish a scholarship at HPU NB, contact Christy Meinecke at or call 830-629-2366.

Since 2012, HPU’s New Braunfels Center has served more than 100 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs. The center recently opened a new facility at 4102 Loop 337, Suite 100, New Braunfels, TX 78130. More information about HPU NB is available online at


Photo cutline: HPU sophomore Marzena Marroquin, of New Braunfels, is the recipient of HPU New Braunfels Center’s J. Mart Findlater Scholarship.