News Archives

HPU students share Christ during Spring Break on South Padre Island

hpu_at_beach_reach_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 4, 2013 – Heading to the beach for Spring Break is a common experience among college students, but a group of Howard Payne University students had perhaps a different purpose in mind when they travelled to South Padre Island last month. Ten students from HPU’s Baptist Student Ministries, along with BSM director Keith Platte, shared the love of Jesus Christ with beachgoers during Beach Reach 2013.

According to the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, an estimated 50,000 students visit the island each March for Spring Break. Beach Reach was created in 1980 by Buddy Young, a seminary student and part-time Baptist Student Ministry director in Dallas, as a way for Christian students from different universities and churches to share the Gospel with their peers. The outreach has since expanded to Panama City, Fla., and other popular Spring Break destinations.

“Beach Reachers,” like the group from HPU, participate in a number of activities including serving free breakfasts on the beach, giving free van rides to people at night to anywhere on the island, cleaning up beach areas and many other acts of service. Most importantly, they serve and meet people with the intent of sharing the news of Jesus Christ.

“It was amazing how God was working through and in our students,” said Platte, who was particularly impressed with how open the beachgoers were to receiving the Word of God.

“The people in the vans were respectful and would let us pray for them when we asked,” he said. “Often, they wanted us to pray for them even more, which led to deeper conversations. Some people stayed in the van for longer than the length of their rides, so we would sit and talk for 45 minutes or so.”

The HPU group gave a ride to a man who stayed on the van for more than an hour as they delivered others to their destinations.

“He responded well when we presented him with the Gospel,” Platte said. “I can’t explain it any other way except to say that God was working on his heart.”

Platte and the students would have enjoyed more time with each of the people to whom they gave rides but recognize the importance of the interactions they had.

“Our job is to plant the seed,” Platte said. “Hundreds of seeds might be planted before anything takes root. All we can do is reach out and make that contact.”

Now that they’ve returned home, Platte encourages the BSM students to keep praying for the people they met.

“We pray that, even if they don’t remember our names or faces, the beachgoers remember the messages we were sent to deliver.”

BSM students who attended Beach Reach included Alex Caro, a senior from Howe; Lacy Culpepper, a sophomore from Zephyr; Allyson Gainey, a junior from Kermit; Jenny Goff, a junior from Austin; Ruby Johnson, a sophomore from Alvarado; Kim Lilley, a senior from Brownwood; Xavier McFalls, a freshman from Amarillo; Andi Peaster, a freshman from Edinburg; Rebekah Steadman, a junior from Fort Worth; and Whitney Williams, a sophomore from Gatesville.

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Photo cutline: HPU students recently shared the Gospel during Spring Break at South Padre Island. The top row, from left, includes Rebekah Steadman, Jennifer Goff and Alex Caro. Bottom row, left to right: Andi Peaster, Xavier McFalls, Allyson Gainey, Lacy Culpepper, Whitney Williams, Kim Lilley and Ruby Johnson.

HPU student delegates meet with state legislators

hpu_teg_day_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 4, 2013 – Six students from Howard Payne University visited Austin recently for the Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) Student Advocacy Day. Groups from several private universities in the West Texas region, including HPU, traveled to the capitol building to encourage representatives and senators to continue support for the TEG program.

The HPU students met with legislators and staff from their home districts to thank them for appropriating funds for the program, which assists with tuition to private colleges and universities. They also took a guided tour of the capitol building and observed a Senate session. During the visit, university delegates learned the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III (education) added $ 15 million to the TEG program for the 2014-2015 biennium.

“The TEG program has greatly benefitted Howard Payne students over its 44-year history,” said Kevin Kirk, associate vice president for enrollment management. “The TEG makes college a financial reality for many of our students coming from all over the state of Texas. We made the trip to Austin to say ‘thank you’ to the representatives and senators for their support and to encourage their continued support in the future.”

HPU student delegates included Allen Andrus, a senior from Anson; Kathryn Barrackman, a senior from Houston; Colton McCabe, a sophomore from Gatesville; Courtney Officer, a sophomore from Stephenville; Erik Swenson, a junior from Carrollton; and Brogan Turner, a freshman from Brownwood. The students were accompanied by Kevin Kirk and Yvonne Lundy, executive assistant to the associate vice president for enrollment management.

“The Tuition Equalization Grant has helped to further not only my intellectual education, but my spiritual education,” said Colton McCabe. “It was a privilege to thank my representative and senator in person for their support of this program.”

Approximately 275 Howard Payne University students received funding through the TEG for the spring 2013 semester.

More than four decades ago, the TEG was created by Dr. Gary R. Price, a 1960 graduate of HPU. Wishing private colleges and universities were more affordable to students in Texas, he developed the concept, wrote the legislation and worked to gain support for it. Sponsored by the late Dr. Lynn Nabers, a fellow HPU alumnus who was then a state representative, the legislation was passed in 1971. Since its inception, the program has assisted needy students to bridge the gap between tuition rates at state and independent institutions.

To be eligible for a TEG, a student must be a qualified Texas resident; establish financial need as defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; be enrolled fulltime in an approved independent college or university in Texas; not receive any form of athletic scholarship; and maintain a 2.5 GPA by the end of the sophomore year.

Additional private universities from the West Texas Region of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas participating in the trip included Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, Lubbock Christian University and McMurry University.

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Photo cutline: HPU delegates give the university “sting ’em” salute in front of the capitol building in Austin. From left are Courtney Officer, Allen Andrus, Brogan Turner, Erik Swenson, Kathryn Barrackman and Colton McCabe.

HPU cheerleaders named National Champions

cheerleaders_with_banner_for_webBy Rachel Ellington, Howard Payne University freshman

BROWNWOOD – April 4, 2013 – The Howard Payne University cheerleaders recently participated in the 2013 Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals and were named “National Champions” in the small co-ed college division and fourth place overall. The competition consisted of more than 50 divisions, ranging from toddlers to college students, from more than 20 states.

The HPU cheerleaders, divided into three teams, also competed in the group stunts division, receiving second-, fourth- and fifth-place honors.

“This year’s team has worked very hard throughout the semester and the championship highlights the students’ dedication, talent and ‘coachability’,” said Jeffri Foster, cheer coach. “I could not be any more proud of the team and I look forward to continuing to build a successful program alongside these cheerleaders.”

The HPU cheer team includes Brooke Belcher, a freshman from Gunter; Harli Benham, a freshman from Three Rivers; Aly Castle, a junior from Lampasas; Kelci Feist, a sophomore from Deleon; Kelsey Johnson, a freshman from Goldthwaite; Kris Lowrey, a freshman from Brownwood; Lawrence Martinez, a freshman from Pflugerville; Rachel Moore, a junior from Sierra Blanca; Whitney Presbaugh, a junior from Fort Worth; Dariann Reed, a sophomore from Houston; Rachel Runnels, a sophomore from Paradise; and Mitchell Sostarich, a sophomore from Devine.

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Photo cutline: The HPU cheerleaders were recently named “National Champions” at the 2013 Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals. Back row, from left: Coach Jeffri Foster, Kelsey Johnson, Rachel Moore, Whitney Presbaugh, Aly Castle, Brooke Belcher and Kelci Feist. Front row, from left: Kris Lowrey, Rachel Runnels, Lawrence Martinez, Harli Benham, Dariann Reed and Mitchell Sostarich.

Howard Payne University to feature art of Susan Harmon

tangled_up_in_blue_for_webBy Jes Miera, Howard Payne University junior

BROWNWOOD – March 28, 2013 –Artist Susan Harmon will exhibit her Sight/Insight Collection at Howard Payne University until May 1. Susan is the spouse of David Harmon, chair of art at HPU. The collection is housed at the Doakie Day Art Center in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery.

Susan Harmon holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Georgia Southern University and is currently working on her PhD from Monash University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research is titled “Inside Madness: Painted Stories of People who Suffer from Mental Illness.” The Sight/Insight Collection, which features 15 mixed media pieces, follows this theme. The collection took Harmon seven years to complete.

Each piece is a physical manifestation of Harmon’s emotional responses to stories of suffering. Harmon finds these stories in literature, calling them “the catalyst for the creation of this body of art.”

In an artist statement she wrote, “Stories inspire me to paint. As I scratch, tear and smear paint with my fingers, I try to be honest in my process for expressing my deepest personal feelings toward these passages.”

The Sight/Insight Collection is open to the public for viewing. The gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. For further information, contact David E. Harmon, chair and professor of art at HPU at (325) 649-8088 or via e-mail at dharmon@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: Susan Harmon’s “Tangled Up in Blue” is one of the pieces currently on display at HPU.

HPU celebrates Black History Month with special chapel service

black_history_month_chapel_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 27, 2013 – Howard Payne University celebrated Black History Month with a special chapel service held last month. The second annual service focused on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation signing and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, in which an estimated 250,000 people demonstrated peacefully in the nation’s capital for civil rights and economic equality. Members of the African-American chapter of HPU’s Alumni Association, alongside current students, presented poetry, music and stories during the service titled “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

The spirited celebration included congregational singing, readings by students and alumni and a powerful solo by Shirley Sanders ’72 of Texas City – which drew a standing ovation from the audience – all with the purpose of educating students about important milestones in our nation’s history related to the journey of African-Americans.

Ne’Lexia Galloway ’11 of San Antonio, president of the African-American alumni chapter, said about the chapel program, “African-American cultural history cannot be defined, but it is our civic duty as African-Americans to spread the history for the betterment of America. I am pleased to know that Howard Payne takes pride in Black History Month and believes in making the student body knowledgeable of America’s history.”

Other program participants included L.J. Clayton ’84 of San Antonio; Deborah Jones ’73 of Texas City; Adelia Kirk ’89 of Brownwood; Carol (Liz) Mahoney ’69 of Texas City; Gladys Murray ’80 of Austin; and Wilbert Rogers ’75 of Dallas. Student participants included Kalari Faultry, a sophomore from Houston; Jennifer Goff, a junior from Austin; Gabriella Guest, a sophomore from Midlothian; Jajuan Johnson, a sophomore from Fort Worth; Amber Jones, a junior from Rosenberg; Miriam Mackey, a junior from Taylor; Jeremy Perkins, a junior from Alexandria, La.; Richard Porche, a sophomore from Kyle; Zacchaeus Steidel-Santiago, a sophomore from San Antonio; and Nicholas Stubblefield, a freshman from Prairie View.

“It was once again a pleasure to work with our African-American alumni chapter on this important chapel celebration,” said Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students. “We must never lose sight of the difficult road trodden by the African-American community in our nation’s history, and so it is fitting that we recognize Black History Month in this special way.”

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Photo cutline: HPU sophomore Zacchaeus Steidel-Santiago sings “If I Can Help Somebody” during the university’s second annual Black History Month chapel service. Photo by Jes Miera, HPU junior.

HPU to present concert of original music by student, alumni and faculty composers

BROWNWOOD – March 25, 2013 – Howard Payne University will present a concert of all-new music by student, alumni and faculty composers March 26 at 6 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. There is no cost for admission, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Guitarist Kevin Baker, a senior from Brownwood, will perform two of his own compositions. Various pieces for piano and saxophone composed by Christopher Gonsalves, a senior from Sutherland Springs, will be performed by Dr. Allen Reed, professor of music; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music; and Allen Andrus, a senior from Anson. Julia Hironaga, a 2012 graduate, will contribute a piece for flute and piano.

In addition, Dr. Celeste Church and Dr. Greg Church, associate professors of music, will perform vocal works by Dr. Elisabeth Greene, adjunct instructor of music, and Dr. Robert Tucker, dean of music, fine arts and extended education. The opera scenes by Dr. Greene were first performed at Tapestry New Opera’s “Opera Briefs” in Toronto, Canada.

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

HPU to host Traffick911 training session

BROWNWOOD – March 25, 2013 – Howard Payne University will host a free Traffick911 training session on the prevention of domestic minor sex trafficking March 28 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be held in the Bullion Suites of the Mabee University Center. The training is designed for CPS workers, teachers, school counselors, attorneys, family court personnel, social workers and others who come across at-risk children. Continuing Education Units are available.

Traffick911 is an agency which has trained hundreds of frontline responders at the local, state and national levels, focusing on the prevention of the crime, the rescue and restoration of the victims and the prosecution of the offenders. According to the Traffick911 website, human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the world and the average life expectancy for a child forced into sexual slavery is just seven years.

“Unfortunately for our society, domestic minor sex trafficking is a most relevant topic,” said Dan Humeniuk, chair of HPU’s social work department and assistant professor of social work. “This type of training is essential for human service professionals who regularly encounter at-risk children and adolescents.”

For more information, or to register for the training session, contact Bob Contreras, family liaison for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, at (325) 641-6486 or bob.contreras@tjjd.texas.gov. Other information and resources are available at www.traffick911.com.

HPU’s Resurrection Week to begin Monday

david_burkBROWNWOOD – March 22, 2013 – Howard Payne University will host Resurrection Week, the university’s annual spring revival, March 25-27. The featured speaker for the week is David Burk, president and founder of Total Surrender Evangelistic Association, Inc., in Arlington. Worship will be led by the Nick Gainey Band. Gainey is a 2008 HPU graduate and the worship pastor and an elder at Connection Community Church in Rowlett.

Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the university’s Mims Auditorium. All services are open to the public.nick_gainey

“Resurrection Week is going to be a great time of renewal, challenge and worship together,” said Corey Ash, chapel coordinator and director of bands. “I assure you that you will be blessed!”

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Photo cutline: David Burk and Nick Gainey will headline Resurrection Week at Howard Payne University.

Tickets available for HPU’s “Rock: Then and Now” concert

BROWNWOOD – March 19, 2013 – Tickets are still available for Howard Payne University’s “Rock: Then and Now” concerts to be held on the HPU campus, March 22-23 beginning at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

“Rock: Then and Now” will feature HPU faculty, staff and students performing family-friendly songs by a variety of musicians including Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Whitney Houston, Journey, Coldplay, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Chicago, Styx and more.

Tickets are $5 each and available for purchase online at www.hputx.edu/rock. Tickets are also available at the School of Music and Fine Arts and at the door on the evenings of the concerts.

Prior to Friday’s performance, Dr. Rob Tucker, dean of music, fine arts and extended education, will also present a brief history of rock to those interested in a look at the genre from an academic perspective. The discussion will be held at 6 p.m. on March 22 at the university’s Grace Chapel. There is no cost for admittance to this pre-concert event.

For more information, contact the School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500 or visit www.hputx.edu/rock.

HPU students recognized by faculty for achievements in Christian studies

student_award_recipients_with_dr_hatch_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 8, 2013 – Four students in Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies were honored as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology during the Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics held recently on the HPU campus.

The students included Jessica Baniewicz, a senior cross-cultural studies and Spanish major from Plano; Colton Curry, a senior practical theology major from Lubbock; EJ Davila, a senior psychology major (with emphasis in psychology and ministry) from Brownwood; and Mary Vasquez, a junior biblical languages and English major from Blanket.

“The faculty of the School of Christian Studies honored these individuals, among our many hard-working and gifted students, based on our evaluation of their achievement in their courses and the ways in which they have excelled in thinking in, and related to, the fields of Christian ethics and theology,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies.

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Photo cutline: Four HPU students were honored during a recent event on campus. From left are Mary Vasquez, EJ Davila, Colton Curry, Jessica Baniewicz and Dr. Derek Hatch.