News Archives

Classes underway for HPU’s sport and wellness leadership graduate program

Holloway and Evans for webBROWNWOOD – November 4, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s newest graduate program, the Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership (SWELL), is underway this fall with an opening cohort of 19 graduate students. Students are taking two courses, Leadership Seminar and Resource Management, on Monday and Tuesday evenings on the Brownwood campus. In addition, 11 of the students are serving HPU as graduate assistants in athletic coaching, sports information, event management, intramurals and departmental administration, gaining practical experience while preparing for leadership roles in the sport and wellness industries.

Among this initial cohort are six with no previous ties to HPU and five current university employees. The remaining students are HPU graduates, both recent and as far back as 2005.

Chassidy Holloway was completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama – Birmingham when she learned of HPU and the SWELL program.

“Once I made my visit to campus, I knew that this would be the perfect fit,” she said.

Today, Holloway serves as a graduate assistant in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science (ESS).

“The way classes are structured allows the students opportunities to really engage in the topics we discuss and find ways to incorporate them into our current work,” she said. “The classes have really helped me to cultivate my thinking and expand my insight on the opportunities available in the sport and wellness community. We have all bonded through our respect and passion for our respective fields and I believe that our engagement in class is a direct result of that bond.”

Dr. Graham Hatcher serves as program director and chair of the ESS department.

“We are already seeing the vitality of our department enhanced by our graduate students,” he observed. “They have served as class resources, assisted with fitness assessments for our ESS 1100 course and interacted informally with our undergraduate majors. We’ve moved from simply describing what graduate school offers to being able to demonstrate that firsthand. This group has had a range of professional experiences already in such diverse fields as international sport coaching, business ownership, university athletic administration and undergraduate teaching, yet they saw the benefit of added value by pursuing an advanced academic degree. Our department and the university are benefiting from their presence in measurable ways.”

Holloway said she feels honored to be at HPU and a member of the initial cohort of the SWELL program.

“The faculty I encounter daily are knowledgeable and accessible,” she said. “Having attended a larger institution as an undergraduate, I love the intimate feel on campus here at Howard Payne.”

To learn more about HPU’s Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership degree program, visit or call Dr. Graham Hatcher at (325) 649-8966.


Photo cutline: Chassidy Holloway, left, graduate assistant in HPU’s Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership program, assists Jada Evans, sophomore, on the treadmill.

Principal Training with a Christian Worldview: HPU master’s degree prepares students for success as Texas principals

BROWNWOOD – November 3, 2015 – Gayle White, high school principal for Kerens Independent School District, knew she couldn’t go wrong with choosing Howard Payne University to pursue her master’s degree and principal certification. As a third-generation HPU graduate, White had earned her bachelor’s degree from HPU as well.

“My grandparents met at Howard Payne and my parents met at Howard Payne,” she said. “I met my husband here and my daughter met her husband here.”

With such strong familial connections to the university, she was well aware of HPU’s commitment to Christ-centered, quality education. She soon learned that HPU offered its Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program fully online. This flexible format allowed White to intern as an assistant principal at a school in the Rio Grande Valley while pursuing her degree. She graduated from the program in 2012.

Not all online degree programs are created equal, White said.

“Not all programs are going to give you the same type of personalized education as Howard Payne,” she said. “They’re not going to provide the well-roundedness of HPU’s program wrapped up with Christian, global views like Howard Payne. As a Christian believer, that was very important to me.”

According to White, HPU helped her to grow and gave her the tools needed to do her job well.

“At my school this year, I’m working on developing leadership and empowering both teachers and students to be leaders,” she said. “My education from Howard Payne helped me tremendously in that. Empowering others is one of the core values that Dr. Robinson has ingrained in the program.”

Dr. Joe Robinson, director of the master’s degree program and professor of education, described his goals for the program.

“Our program is unique in that it combines aspects of organizational learning, brain-based research, and instructional leadership theory and practice from a Christian worldview,” he said. “What students gain from our program is immeasurable, the most noteworthy being a Christian-based perspective of school administration that enhances one’s potential to positively impact the lives of students, teachers and peers.”

The 30-credit-hour, non-thesis degree program consists of live, interactive lessons. White appreciated the collaborative nature of the program and holds all of her HPU instructors in high regard.

“They are fantastic people who know their subjects well,” she said. “It wasn’t just theory. They have real-world practical experiences from which to draw.”

She believes that’s one factor missing in many degree programs today.

“At other institutions there’s a whole lot of ‘read this book and write a summary,’” she said. “I want to hear from someone who’s already experienced it and knows what can and can’t be done. Again, I can’t say enough about HPU’s Christian worldview. There’s a difference when you lead with Christian principles. It just makes a difference.”

To learn more about HPU’s Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program, contact Dr. Joe Robinson at (325) 649-8205 or


Photo cutline: Gayle White graduated in 2012 from HPU’s Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program. She is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

HPU celebrates restoration of Steinway piano

Steinway dedication 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – November 3, 2015 – Amid the flurried activity during Howard Payne University’s Homecoming 2015 festivities, a group of people assembled in the choral hall of HPU’s Davidson Music Complex to celebrate friendship, music and a very special piano.

The university hosted a rededication of one of its Steinway pianos in conjunction with the Department of Music’s Homecoming reunion. The Steinway & Sons Model D, also known as the “Concert Grand” piano, was originally donated to the university in 1968 by the late Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Eddie Trussell, 1929 Howard Payne graduates. The 9-foot long, 990-pound piano was used for decades before falling into disrepair.

“Fortunately, Steinway pianos have wonderfully long lifespans,” said Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU’s first lady. “We knew the piano was crafted in such a way that it could be restored rather than replaced.”

Dr. Ellis, along with award-winning Christian artist and HPU alumna Dr. Cynthia Clawson Courtney, co-chairs HPU’s campaign to become a prestigious “All-Steinway School.”

“Steinway & Sons flawless reputation, quality and long lifespan of its instruments will provide outstanding service and performance for our students and faculty for many decades to come,” said Dr. Ellis.

Pattersons for webDr. Burton and Mrs. Virginia Patterson, who have given faithfully to HPU for a number of years, learned of the restoration needs for the grand piano. Dallas Steinway artisan and technician Mr. Steve Claunch fully restored the instrument to its original grandeur. The Pattersons and their family foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Christianity, graciously funded this restoration in memory and honor of Frank and Pauline Patterson, missionaries to Latin America (1938-1972). Dr. and Mrs. Patterson additionally have an HPU endowed scholarship in their name and donated the organs located in the university’s Mims Auditorium and Grace Chapel.

“The Pattersons have hearts for restoring musical instruments and for Baptist causes,” said Randy Yeakley, HPU’s vice president for development. “We’re very grateful for their love of music, their dedication to HPU and their continued generosity.”

The Trussells’ daughter, the late Lucile McDaniel, graduated from Howard Payne in 1944. Her husband, the late Bill McDaniel, was also a 1944 graduate. Their three children attended HPU and were present at the rededication: Sophia (McDaniel) Faulkner ’70, B.J. McDaniel ’77 and Ruth (McDaniel) Thames ’68. Also present were Steve Faulkner (Sophia’s husband and 1972 HPU graduate), Kristen Ivy (Sophia’s daughter and 2001 HPU graduate), Craig Ivy (Kristen’s son), Julie Ivy (Kristen’s daughter) and Roxanne McDaniel (B.J.’s wife).

“Looking at the piano now, you would not believe it was donated to Howard Payne almost 50 years ago,” said Dr. Ellis. “That’s what makes Steinway pianos the very best. We’re so thankful for the Trussells’ generosity and their gift that still benefits our students today.”

For more information about HPU’s All-Steinway School campaign, visit or call HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006.


Photo cutlines: Members of the family that donated a Steinway piano to HPU in 1968, as well as HPU faculty and staff members, gather around the piano. Left to right: B.J. McDaniel; Roxanne McDaniel; Ruth Thames; Steve Faulkner; Sophia Faulkner; Julie Ivy; Kristen Ivy; Craig Ivy; Randy Yeakley, vice president for development; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music.

Dr. Burton and Mrs. Virginia Patterson and their family foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Christianity, funded the restoration of the piano.

HPU to host 32nd annual Community Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving Feast Volunteers for webBROWNWOOD – November 2, 2015 – The 32nd annual Community Thanksgiving Feast at Howard Payne University will once again usher in the holiday season for area residents. It is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at HPU’s Mabee University Center.

The tradition has been supported throughout the years by numerous individuals and organizations. Last year, more than 2,000 meals were served on campus and through the home-delivery program.

“The crisp mornings we have been enjoying remind us that it is again time to begin planning for a wonderful Thanksgiving day with family and friends at Howard Payne’s Mabee University Center,” said Bill Fishback, assistant vice president for business and human resources at HPU. “This community-wide effort of neighbors caring for neighbors seems to be as important to those who serve as it is to those who enjoy the meal each year. Volunteers will help serve meals at the Mabee Center or deliver meals in Brownwood and Early to those who cannot join us on campus. We have always been able to provide the meals free of charge because of the donations from the caring people and organizations in Brown County, so I am confident the money will be there by the time the bills must be paid.”

The staff of Howard Payne’s Sodexo Food Service give up their holiday to prepare the meals. Anyone unable to join friends and neighbors at the Mabee Center can have meals delivered to his or her home by calling the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce at (325) 646-9535 by noon on Monday, November 23.

“Many of the volunteers have helped for years, making serving others part of their annual Thanksgiving tradition,” said Fishback.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal will consist of turkey, dressing and all the trimmings.

“Last year, we served 689 meals at the Mabee Center and 1,438 meals were provided to those in the community who were unable to join us for lunch,” Fishback said. “The volunteers enjoy visiting with each other and our guests as they work to serve the meals as quickly as possible. Too often, we take for granted the fact that we are very blessed to live in a community where so many people willingly give their time and money to support this wonderful event. We look forward to being part of another joy-filled Thanksgiving Day as we also give thanks to the Lord for blessing us in so many ways.”

According to Fishback, volunteers do not need to call to let the university know they are coming.

“Volunteers simply need to show up at the Mabee Center at 10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and we will put them to work,” he said.

If you would like to help support the Thanksgiving meal, please make checks payable to the “Community Thanksgiving Feast,” and send them to Bill Fishback at Howard Payne University, 1000 Fisk Street, Suite 210, Brownwood, TX, 76801.


Photo cutline: Volunteers serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal during HPU’s annual Community Thanksgiving Feast.

HPU’s Farquharson and Johnson to perform senior recital

Josh Farquharson

BROWNWOOD – November 2, 2015 –Howard Payne University students Josh Farquharson and Ruby Johnson will present a senior recital on Thursday, November 5, at 7 p.m. The recital will be in the university’s Grace Chapel. Farquharson, a music major from Wichita Falls, will perform on the alto saxophone. Johnson, a music education major from Alvarado, will perform on the clarinet. Both Farquharson and Johnson are students from the studio of Stephen Goacher, professor of music at HPU.

“These seniors close four years’ intensive study with the time-honored tradition of a Debut Recital – an ending and a beginning,” said Goacher. “We are proud to present these students in concert.”

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


Photo cutline: HPU’s Josh Farquharson and Ruby Johnson will perform a senior recital on November 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Ruby Johnson

HPU presents Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal to alumnus

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – October 21, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy presented the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal to George Aldridge, a 1975 HPU graduate, during an Academy Board of Directors banquet held recently on campus. At the banquet, Aldridge spoke to students, faculty, staff and board members on his career in foreign affairs.

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

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, presented the award, given by the Academy to honor individuals who share Dr. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, our Western heritage and the free enterprise system.

Aldridge is a 1975 HPU graduate who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He received his master’s degree in comparative politics and American government from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University – Commerce) in 1981 and completed doctoral coursework in comparative politics and international affairs from the University of North Texas.

He has won a number of awards including three Superior Honor Awards (two individual, one group) and seven Meritorious Honor Awards (four individual, three group). He was listed in “Who’s Who Among Young American Men” in 1988.

Aldridge served as director of the southwest offices of the National Association of Arab Americans from January 1986 to June 1990, when he then became a U.S. Foreign Service officer. His overseas tour encompassed Jamaica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Belize, Morocco, Kenya, Tunisia and Sudan. He then took on the position of director of the Middle East Partnership office in Beirut, Lebanon. His domestic assignments included staff assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs and program officer for Palestinian refugees in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Aldridge and his wife, Marie, have three children. His daughters attend Texas State University and Virginia Commonwealth University and his son is a junior at the International School of Luxembourg, in his wife’s native country.

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Academy director, HPU’s Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities, said the Academy is honored to be associated with distinguished alumni such as Aldridge.
“We thank Mr. Aldridge for his contributions to our nation and for returning to HPU to address our students, faculty and Board of Directors,” said Dr. Murphy.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently presented George Aldridge, right, with the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal. He is pictured with Dr. Justin D. Murphy, director of the Academy, HPU’s Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities.

Timeless Traditions: HPU Homecoming draws large crowd

BROWNWOOD – October 20, 2015 – More than 1,000 alumni, community members and other friends of Howard Payne University, as well as HPU faculty, staff and students, attended the university’s Homecoming this past Friday and Saturday to honor and celebrate HPU’s many “Timeless Traditions.”

Generations of alumni were welcomed home to relive memories of their time spent at HPU. Among the events was the popular Homecoming Parade featuring student-designed floats and other attractions. Several participating organizations based their floats on various campus traditions. The winning float, created by the Delta Chi Rho sorority, paid tribute to HPU’s annual Christmas on the Plaza event.

A variety of receptions and reunions were held throughout the weekend. Among those, the Golden Graduate Luncheon celebrated the 50-year reunion of the Class of 1965. Each returning alumnus/alumna from the class received a certificate from Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

The university recognized 10 honorees during the annual Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet held Friday evening. Following the banquet, hundreds gathered at HPU’s Muse Plaza and Mall for Cobbler on the Campus and a pep rally.

“It was an honor to meet and become friends with so many HPU alumni over the course of Homecoming 2015,” said Stephen Sullivan ’11, ’14, director of development and alumni relations. “The event was a great success and we’re so thankful for all of those who came to campus to celebrate with us.”


Alumni friends gather outside HPU’s Mims Auditorium prior to Homecoming Convocation.
Drs. Bill and Diana Ellis, HPU president and first lady, wave to onlookers during the Homecoming parade.
Many future HPU Yellow Jackets enjoyed the opportunity to meet Buzzsaw, HPU’s mascot, during Homecoming.
Students ceremoniously beat the Freshman Drums in the hours leading up to the football game kickoff.

HPU invites businesses and organizations to take part in career fair for students and alumni

BROWNWOOD – October 20, 2015 – Howard Payne University will host a career fair for students and alumni on Thursday, November 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to the campus only, the fair will introduce current students and graduates to representatives from businesses and organizations around the area.

HPU is seeking businesses interested in participating. There is a $30 registration fee and the deadline to register is Friday, November 6.

To learn more, contact Tammy Arreola, HPU’s director of career services, at or (325) 649-8630 or visit


Chapman and Bonner crowned HPU Homecoming Queen and Princess

Homecoming Queen 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2015 – Ashley Chapman of Ennis and Jaclyn Bonner of Lytle were crowned Howard Payne University’s Homecoming Queen and Princess during a ceremony held today on campus.

Chapman, the daughter of Ricky and Diane Chapman, is a senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in Spanish and political science. She is the presiding senior senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and an honorary member of Sigma Theta Phi. She additionally serves as resident assistant for HPU’s campus apartments. Her future plans are to pursue an internship in public policy and eventually work in a district office.

Bonner, the daughter of James and Rosemary Bonner, is a junior public and media communication major. She is the president of Gamma Beta Phi, a National Collegiate Honor Society. She also serves as the junior class senator for the SGA, as a Yellow Jacket newspaper columnist and is a member of the Model United Nations team and the Baptist Student Ministry. Following graduation, she would like to represent a missions or humanitarian, non-profit organization in the public relations department and eventually be involved in human-rights advocacy.

Homecoming Princess 2015 for webThe Homecoming Court will be featured during the halftime show of the football game as HPU takes on East Texas Baptist University this Saturday. The game begins at 2 p.m. at Gordon Wood Stadium.


Top photo: Katie Rose Bonner, HPU’s 2014 Homecoming Queen, crowns Ashley Chapman, the 2015 Homecoming Queen.

Bottom photo: Katie Rose Bonner, 2014 Homecoming Queen, crowns her sister, Jaclyn Bonner, the 2015 Homecoming Princess.

Final preparations underway for HPU Homecoming 2015

Homecoming banner installation for webBROWNWOOD – October 15, 2015 – The Howard Payne University Homecoming banner was installed today at HPU’s Mims Auditorium, the site of registration for the event. Homecoming activities, many of which are open to the community, will be held this Friday and Saturday. A complete list of events and corresponding ticket information is available online at

Homecoming 2015 was made possible through the generosity of the following sponsors: Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce (Pep Rally), the HPU Alumni Association (Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet), Early Chamber of Commerce (Picnic on the Plaza), Willie’s T’s (Decades Breakfast), Underwood’s Cafeteria (Cobbler on the Campus), Early Blooms & Things (Registration), Wendlee Broadcasting (Golden Graduate Luncheon), Big Country Ford (Parade), Mills County State Bank (Little Jackets’ Nest), TexasBank (Departmental Receptions), Dr Pepper Bottling, Citizens National Bank, Painter & Johnson Financial, Porter Insurance Agency, Winstar Marketing, Adidas, PF&E Oil Company, United Supermarkets, Robnett Integra Insurance Services and Smith & Sharpe Insurance.


Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s maintenance department install a banner at Mims Auditorium in anticipation of Homecoming 2015.