News Archives

HPU group experiences God’s work in South Africa

HPU group in South Africa for webBROWNWOOD – September 18, 2015 – Five Howard Payne University students and two faculty members that traveled to South Africa during the summer were reminded that God is at work – in huge ways – around the world.

Led by Dr. Melody Maxwell and Dr. Derek Hatch, both assistant professors of Christian studies, the students spent two weeks touring the country, volunteering with Christian organizations and worshipping with more than 2,500 Baptists from around the globe at the 21st Baptist World Congress. They joined more than 60 other individuals from Baptist churches across the United States in serving through the South Africa Ministry Network.

The trip is a component of Dr. Maxwell’s International Missions Practicum, a capstone course for cross-cultural studies majors. The students spent the semester before they left learning about short-term missions and the history, culture and people of South Africa.

“One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was seeing things that we had learned about in class,” said Rachel Ellington, senior from Garland, mentioning sites such as the Apartheid Museum and Lesedi Cultural Village. “The world is a much bigger place than I thought. God is much more creative and the church is much more diverse than I ever dreamed.”

The group spent the first week working with the Refilwe Community Project near an informal settlement north of Johannesburg. Refilwe is a multivalent Christian organization that focuses on child care, community care and skills development.

Dr. Maxwell said the HPU group got to experience a bit of many of the ministries Refilwe has to offer such as farming, child care, kids clubs and more.

“It was a really incredible opportunity for us all to see how God was at work and how we could participate in God’s work,” she said.

The next several days were spent participating in the Baptist World Congress. The host of the event, the Baptist World Alliance, is a fellowship of Baptist believers comprised of 42 million members from 121 countries and territories.

“Experiencing the Congress really expands your boundaries and understanding of the global church,” said Dr. Maxwell.

Scripture was read or presented in approximately 25 different languages during the worship services.

“The Congress’ location on the African continent promised to bring a great deal of diversity to its attendance,” said Dr. Hatch. “I think it really made good on that promise.”

The students were required to seek out people from other cultures to learn about life and Christianity around the world.

“Getting to share life and experiences with people from all over the world was such a remarkable and eye-opening experience for me,” said Mikayla Warren, senior from Salado. “The trip was full of a lifetime of stories and memories and friendships.”

Among the things they learned from leaders of the South Africa Ministry Network was to embrace a “pilgrim’s posture.”

“People go on pilgrimages to seek the presence of God in other places,” said Dr. Hatch. “We weren’t going to bring Christ to South Africa but to encounter Christ in South Africa. He was already working there.”

The Congress served as a good reminder of Christ’s actions around the world.

“It’s really powerful to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ, saying the Lord’s Prayer in your own language and hearing everyone in the room do the same,” said Dr. Maxwell. “It’s fascinating to watch the room explode with dancing and singing and music from different cultures. It’s a privilege for us to be able to travel with, learn from and serve alongside the global Christian community.”

Lance Rhodes, senior from Corsicana, said the trip reminded him of his calling and passion for missions.

“This course rekindled the previously forgotten passion in my heart to go among the nations and proclaim the glory and the grace of Christ,” he said.

Additional students on the trip included Cristalyn Fitzgerald, senior from Burleson, and Paul Warren, May 2015 graduate from Salado.


Photo cutline: While in South Africa, HPU students and faculty met up with HPU alumni Dr. Chris and Mrs. Cindy Liebrum who were also attending the Baptist World Congress. Left to right: Cindy Liebrum, Cristalyn Fitzgerald, Paul Warren, Lance Rhodes, Mikayla Warren, Dr. Derek Hatch, Rachel Ellington, Dr. Melody Maxwell and Dr. Chris Liebrum.

HPU enters fall 2015 semester with increased enrollment

Jacket Journey group photo 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – September 16, 2015 – Faculty, staff and students at Howard Payne University entered the fall 2015 semester recently with increased enrollment and excitement over the months to come. Total undergraduate and graduate enrollment at HPU’s three locations is 1,163 students, a 2.2 percent increase over fall 2014. The figure includes 382 incoming freshmen and transfer students.

“We have certainly been blessed with an amazing group of students this year,” said Kevin Kirk, associate vice president for enrollment. “It is really great to see them already connecting to the campus community.”

Dr. Trissa Cox, professor of computer information systems, said summer is a great time of renewal but students are the lifeblood of campus.

“Howard Payne’s campus was never meant to be quiet,” she said. “I’m excited to see students back at HPU and around Brownwood.”

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU provost and chief academic officer, said the entire campus community plays a large role in the recruiting efforts.

“In addition to the excellent work of our admission staff, the university is particularly indebted to the personnel in the offices of business affairs, financial aid and the registrar for countless hours of behind-the-scenes efforts to bring in this class,” he said. “I am deeply appreciative of the university’s faculty who are invaluable to the process of recruitment and retention by providing exemplary education and loving Christian support to all our students.”

Nathan Lacy, freshman from Brownwood, said he already feels like a member of the HPU “family.”

“I’m looking forward to future semesters and the many wonderful things I am about to learn,” he said.

Like many other students from the area, Lacy benefits from HPU’s Heart of Texas Scholarship which awards substantial financial assistance to students from Brown County and other nearby counties.

Lacy said he chose HPU not just for the quality education but because he feels it is the best place for him to grow and prosper as an individual.

“I am extremely happy that I received the Heart of Texas Scholarship,” he said. “It was a tremendous help.”

HPU is always excited to welcome new members to the family. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an HPU Yellow Jacket, visit, e-mail or call (325) 649-8020.


Photo cutline: New freshmen are pictured with upperclassmen leaders during HPU’s Jacket Journey new-student orientation.

HPU students pray at remembrance event for those affected by 9/11 tragedies

BROWNWOOD – September 11, 2015 – Several Howard Payne University students prayed and reflected on the events of September 11, 2001, during a remembrance event hosted on campus Friday by the Student Government Association. Students were invited to place American flags in the ground near the university’s Bell Towers.

Mike McConnell, SGA president, said students in SGA believe prayer is the strongest form of patriotism.

“We’re glad that we were able to create an event that emphasizes the importance of spiritual strength in the face of adversity and hope that students remember to spend time praying for all those personally affected by the 9/11 tragedies, as well as thanking God for His faithfulness,” said McConnell.


Photo cutline: HPU students placed flags around the university’s Bell Towers in remembrance of the 9/11 tragedies.

HPU’s Dr. Evelyn Romig named Distinguished Professor of Literature

BROWNWOOD – September 10, 2015 – After 34 years of extraordinary service to Howard Payne University, Dr. Evelyn Romig has accepted the position of HPU’s first Distinguished Professor of Literature.

Dr. Romig has served the university faculty as head of the Department of English, dean of the School of Humanities, president of the Faculty Assembly and, since 1988, as full professor of English.

“When Dr. Romig expressed the desire to reduce her teaching load or possibly retire, we discussed the opportunity for her to serve in a new role,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, university provost and chief academic officer. “Known for her innovations in classroom teaching, Dr. Romig is again assisting the university to pioneer new avenues of educational excellence.”

As the university’s first Distinguished Professor of Literature, Dr. Romig will continue to teach on a limited basis, providing the same exemplary experience for which she is known.

“I can’t think of a teacher who better balances commitment to her subject matter with commitment to her students,” said Dr. Millard Kimery, professor of English and chair of the Department of English. “The English department is lucky to have more time to learn from her example.”

Dr. Romig is the recipient of numerous Excellence in Teaching Awards at HPU and the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award in 1991. She is published by Salem Press and in scholarly publications such as Dickens Quarterly and Literature and Psychology. She earned a Master of Arts degree from Texas A&M University and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Rice University.

Dr. Romig has been very engaged in the community, serving as a leader at the United Methodist Church, as member of the American Association of University Women and with the Pecan Valley Arts Festival. She served for 12 years with the Brownwood Independent School District Board of Trustees, including a term as its president.

“I am excited for our students and the university that Dr. Romig will remain on the faculty through which she has served the Brownwood community so faithfully,” said Dr. Tew.


Photo cutline: Dr. Evelyn Romig was recently named HPU’s first Distinguished Professor of Literature.

HPU advances in U.S. News & World Report rankings

BROWNWOOD – September 9, 2015 – Howard Payne University advanced in two categories in the 2016 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report released Wednesday. HPU jumped two places from 2015 to be ranked second among the regional colleges of the west in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category. Additionally, the university placed 11th out of the ranked institutions in the “Best Regional Colleges of the West” category (up four places from 2015) and eighth among the regional colleges of the west in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category.

Institutions are ranked in all categories 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, U.S. News determines its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category by taking into account an institution’s academic quality based on its “Best Colleges” ranking and the 2014-2015 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

“The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal,” the publication stated.

U.S. News determines the “Best Colleges for Veterans” by examining institutions in the 2016 “Best Colleges” rankings which participate in federal initiatives that make pursuing a college degree more affordable for veterans and active service members.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, said he is proud of the work faculty and staff perform to serve the university’s students.

“We’re honored that the ‘Best Colleges’ publication has once again chosen to recognize HPU for the value, academic rigor and educational benefits we provide our students,” he said.

Prospective students and their families may schedule a campus visit at or by calling (325) 649-8020.


Photo cutline: HPU advanced in two categories in the 2016 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. Pictured is the university’s distinctive Old Main Tower.

Dr. Daresa Voss named interim dean of HPU’s School of Education

Daresa Voss for webBROWNWOOD – September 8, 2015 – Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at Howard Payne University, was recently named interim dean of the university’s School of Education.

Dr. Voss joined HPU’s faculty in 2003 following 14 years of service elsewhere in Christian higher education at Wayland Baptist University and William Jewell College. She holds Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from Texas Tech University.

With numerous publications and presentations to her credit, Dr. Voss also is certified in Bilingual Elementary Certification, Elementary Teacher Certification and Kindergarten Endorsement.

Dr. Voss earned the Excellence in Teaching Award at HPU in 2009 and was named the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year for the 2010-2011 academic year.

“I am looking forward to Dr. Voss joining the efforts of the Deans Council and anticipate her rendering exceptional leadership,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer.


Photo cutline: Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at HPU, was recently named interim dean of the university’s School of Education.

Four join HPU faculty

new faculty fall 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – September 4, 2015 – Howard Payne University started the fall 2015 semester with four new faculty members. Joining HPU were Dr. James Finch, professor of business administration; Rafael Franco-Cuevas, instructor of Spanish; Leslie Greaves, instructor of nursing; and Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry.

“We’re pleased to welcome these four additions to the university’s extraordinary faculty,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer.

Dr. James Finch received his Bachelor of Science degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1980; his Master of Business Administration degree from The Ohio State University in 1984; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, also from The Ohio State University, in 1987. His past experience includes serving in a variety of positions, most recently professor of business administration, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Rafael Franco-Cuevas received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California in 1981 and his Master of Arts degree from California State University in 1993. Previous experience includes various positions related to the Spanish language and Hispanic literature and culture. He also served as Spanish instructor for both Pima Community College District and The University of Arizona South.

Leslie Greaves received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2000 and her Master of Science in Nursing degree in 2013 from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Her past experience includes serving in a variety of positions at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, such as patient safety officer and patient safety services supervisor, education supervisor, clinical educator/training center coordinator and staff registered nurse. She has also taught various nursing courses since 2005.

Dr. Derek Smith received his Bachelor of Science degree from Angelo State University in 1991; his Master of Science degree from The University of Texas at Dallas in 1994; and his Doctor of Chemistry degree, also from UT Dallas, in 1996. Dr. Smith previously taught at HPU from 2007 to 2011. Other past experience includes serving as scientist at Hydrozonix and as a teaching assistant at UT Dallas.


Photo cutline: Four joined the HPU faculty during the fall 2015 semester. Left to right: Leslie Greaves, Dr. Derek Smith, Rafael Franco-Cuevas and Dr. James Finch.

Registration open for symposium marking 75th anniversary of establishment of Camp Bowie in Brownwood

BROWNWOOD – September 4, 2015 – On September 16-18, 2015, Tarleton State University, Howard Payne University and the Brown County Museum of History will sponsor a symposium in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of Camp Bowie in Brownwood. Camp Bowie, commissioned for construction in Brown County on September 19, 1940, was the first major military project in Texas during WWII. It was a major training base for the famed 36th Division, and over 250,000 troops served or trained at the facility from 1940-1946. The base also included a large German POW camp.

Read the event press release at

Register for the event at or call (325) 649-8409

The Symposium will offer presentations on Camp Bowie, the history of military installations in Texas, the legacy and contributions of those who served in WWII from the region, and other related topics. The event is already attracting attention around the region and the state, and will be a forum for faculty, students, military scholars, researchers, dignitaries and residents. The event will be coordinated with the opening of a new exhibit at the Brown County Museum titled “A Tribute to Those Who Served.” Other related events include a concert by the 36th Division Memorial Band on September 12, and a Living History Camp, Reenactments and Veteran’s Memorial commemoration on the weekend of September 18-20.

Wednesday, September 16
7:30 p.m. – Opening Reception – Foyer, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center, Howard Payne University

Thursday, September 17
8:30 a.m. – Registration/tour sign up – Foyer, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center, Howard Payne University

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. – Opening Session, Jackson Room, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center

Introduction and Camp Bowie History, Dr. Eric V. Morrow – Tarleton State University

Preserving Camp Bowie History, Ms. Alexia Riggs – Dean of Libraries – Howard Payne University; Board Member – Brown County Museum of History

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Session 2, Jackson Room, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center; Camp Bowie tour available – preregistration online or by phone.

A Soldier’s View of Life at Camp Bowie – Reflections from the letters and journal of Harold W. Hooper stationed at Camp Bowie 1939-1941, Mr. James Hooper

Noon – Luncheon (pre-registration online or by phone), Bullion Suites, Mabee University Center – Howard Payne University

Keynote, Mr. Jeff Hunt – Director, Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – Session 3, Jackson Room, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center; Camp Bowie tour available – preregistration online or by phone.

POWs at Camp Bowie: A Brief History and the Ethics of POW Treatment During WWII, Dr. Matthew Hallgarth and Ms. Michelle Loyd – Tarleton State University

Strength Has Many Faces – The story of POW Henry Spalding and the Lost Battalion during three and a half years of captivity, Ms. Marcia Glasgow – Comanche, Texas

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. – Session 4, Jackson Room, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center

Video presentation of interviews from area residents and those who served at Camp Bowie

5:00 p.m. – Exhibit Viewing, Brown County Museum of History

6:30 p.m. – Banquet, Bullion Suites, Mabee University Center (pre-registration online or by phone)

Friday, September 18

9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. – Session 5, Jackson Room, Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center

The Landing at Salerno: the 36th Division’s First Fight, Mr. Jeff Hunt – Director, Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin

Visions of Peace: How Texans Imagined Post-War Life at the Conclusion of World War II, Dr. Eric V. Morrow – Tarleton State University

Resolutions Passed by the Texas Legislature
During the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, resolutions were passed by both the House and Senate honoring the anniversary of the establishment of Camp Bowie and recognizing this commemorative event. You can view the resolutions at the links below.

Senate – SR 800

House – HR 2354

Camp Bowie Tours
We have arranged for tours of the Camp Bowie area to be provided during the event by City and Rural Rides. Once the website is available, registration will include the fees and times. This will provide an opportunity for a guided tour of the main area of the camp including structures still in place.

Museum Exhibit Tour and Other Events
A viewing of the new exhibit – A Tribute to Those Who Served – will be held on Thursday evening September 17 followed by a banquet commemorating the anniversary. More details on the program of these events will be forthcoming, but invitations have been extended to dignitaries to participate. The plans for the banquet include a color guard, music, a video presentation, greetings from local and state officials and more.

The event is connected to the Brownwood Reunion which will be held on September 18-20 ( On Saturday, September 19, the Museum will sponsor a Living History camp and re-enactments from WWII, tours of the new exhibit, and a memorial at Camp Bowie.

For interviews and information on sponsorships and the symposium please contact the following coordinators from each institution:

Brown County Museum of History
Ms. Beverly Norris
Coordinator – “A Tribute to Those Who Served” Exhibit
(325) 647-7879

Howard Payne University
Dr. W. Mark Tew
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
(325) 649-8042 –

Tarleton State University
Dr. Eric V. Morrow
Head – Department of Social Sciences
(325) 642-1340 –


Howard Payne University holds Convocation ceremony

Fall 2015 Convocation for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – September 2, 2015 – Howard Payne University kicked off its fall 2015 Chapel season last week with its annual University Convocation ceremony. Kathy Hillman, president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, addressed the audience.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, said he appreciated Hillman’s words to the students.

“We are so pleased that we could have Kathy Hillman address the students as they begin the fall semester,” he said. “I pray this semester is good for the students and that the Lord will bless them in the coming weeks.”

Other program participants included Corey Ash, associate professor of music; Jennifer McNiece, assistant professor of government; Mike McConnell, HPU senior and president of the Student Government Association; Dr. Harlan Scott, associate professor of biology and president of the faculty assembly; Dr. Allen Reed, professor emeritus of music; Mike Daub, associate professor of accounting; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Hannah Strebeck, HPU senior; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music.


Photo cutline: Kathy Hillman, president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, delivered the address at HPU’s recent Convocation ceremony. She is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

HPU’s Dr. Paul Lilly awarded the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Award

humeniuk and lilly for webBROWNWOOD – August 31, 2015 – Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of Howard Payne University’s Department of Public Safety, was recently awarded the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Award of the National Awards program of the American Police Hall of Fame. Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, presented the award on Friday during a faculty assembly.

In a letter to Dr. Lilly, Chief Jack L. Rinchich, national president of the American Police Hall of Fame, wrote, “Your dedication to continuing education and training to improve your law enforcement skills is proof of your commitment to serve the public. By striving for knowledge, you set an admirable standard for all officers to follow.”

Dr. Lilly said he was “honored beyond words” to receive this award.

“I had heard of this honor but never knew anyone who actually received it,” he said.

Humeniuk said she was delighted, but not surprised, to learn Dr. Lilly received the award.

“Dr. Lilly has a very distinguished career in law enforcement,” she said. “His lengthy career in law enforcement prior to teaching in higher education has been a tremendous help in making application of theory, principles and practices come true for our students in the classroom.”


Photo cutline: Lynn Humeniuk, left, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, presented the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Award to Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of Howard Payne University’s Department of Public Safety.