News Archives

HPU alumnus and trustee addresses criminal justice students

Roy RobbBROWNWOOD – March 21, 2016 – Howard Payne University criminal justice students were recently visited by Roy Robb, 1967 HPU alumnus and current member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Robb, whose career in the criminal justice field spanned more than 40 years, was responsible for taking care of the 400 people removed from the Yearning for Zion Ranch following the arrest of Warren Jeffs, former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Jeffs was later brought to Texas to stand trial on charges stemming from the raid on the YFZ Ranch by law enforcement officers. He is currently serving a sentence of life in prison plus 20 years. Robb, then court master for the 51st Judicial District Court, was tasked with daily briefings and written reports in the investigation of Jeffs prior to the arrest.

Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, invited Robb to speak to HPU’s criminal justice students regarding the details of this politically and legally challenging case.

“Mr. Robb’s lecture was invaluable to our students who are planning to pursue careers in criminal justice,” she said. “We’re thankful for his dedication to the field and to HPU.”

Robb served as director of probation services for the 51st, 119th and 340th District Courts. He also served as secure program specialist with the Texas Youth Commission, a role from which he retired in 2005.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU in 1967, he went on to receive a Master of Criminal Justice degree from American Technological University in 1976.

Though HPU did not offer a criminal justice degree during Robb’s time as a student at HPU, he said the education he received encouraged him to enter his chosen profession.

“At Howard Payne, I experienced how Christian professors never gave up on students,” he said. “I witnessed lives being changed and grew to care deeply for youth who had problems. Howard Payne shaped what I did in my life by giving me the deep desire to help others.”


Photo cutline: Roy Robb, HPU alumnus and trustee, recently addressed criminal justice students at the university.

HPU to host Spring Sing 2016

Spring Sing 2015BROWNWOOD – March 15, 2016 – Howard Payne University student organizations will take the stage this Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19, for Spring Sing 2016. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. each evening in HPU’s Mims Auditorium.

Spring Sing is a popular event on the HPU campus, drawing audiences of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community. General admission tickets are $5 for all audiences and are available for purchase online at Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door on the evenings of the event. Reserved-seating tickets are available for $10 at the HPU Cashier’s Office on the second floor of the Packer Administration Building.

This year’s theme is “High Notes of History” and each student group will present an eight-to-10-minute act based on a timeframe, historical figure or moment in history. This year’s participants are Alpha Psi Omega, Chi Alpha Omega, Delta Chi Rho, Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma and Sigma Theta Phi.

“The goal of Spring Sing is to honor God, represent HPU in a positive manner and present a fun and entertaining production that showcases the talents, skills and creativity of HPU students,” said Francie Clark, director of student activities.

The performances are family friendly and the community is welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Clark at


Photo cutline: Costumes, musical performances and dancing are hallmarks of HPU’s annual Spring Sing event. Pictured are members of Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma performing in 2015.

HPU hosts health fair to promote well-being of students, personnel

Health Fair 2016BROWNWOOD – March 15, 2016 – Howard Payne University recently celebrated the upcoming spring season with the “Spring into Health Fair.” The third-annual health fair featured health screenings, demonstrations, exhibits, games and a variety of giveaways for students, faculty and staff of HPU.

Staff and faculty from HPU along with local vendors set up booths that each focused on one of seven dimensions of health: emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, spiritual and social.

At the physical health booth, for example, the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) offered three different experiences. These included a pull-up contest and therapeutic modality experiences such as electrical stimulation and manual therapy. The physical health booth also offered an evaluation station where participants could be evaluated by either an athletic training student under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer or by a certified athletic trainer.

“The physical health booth provided health screening and physical assessments to promote overall wellness,” said Mike Terrill, assistant professor of athletic training and director of ATEP. “The athletic training students and I had a great time.”

At the intellectual health booth, faculty and staff from HPU’s Walker Memorial Library hosted a memory game. Out of the 49 participants, the winner of the memory game was Derek Anderson, junior political science major from Harker Heights, who won a $15 Subway gift card.

“It was a fun day and we enjoyed visiting with the students who came by our table,” said Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries and associate professor of library science. “The health fair is a highlight of our spring semester and it’s nice to have time outdoors observing students putting their skills into practice.”

Keith Platte, director of the Baptist Student Ministry, administered a spiritual survey for student reflection at the spiritual health booth.

“The survey contained 15 questions about spiritual aspects we identified as being beneficial ways to help strengthen one’s faith,” said Platte.

Vendors for the health fair included Abilene Behavioral Health, American Red Cross, Brown County Health Department, Chick-fil-A, Cross Timbers Health Clinic, Family Service Center, GNC, KPSM, National Marrow Donor Program, Sodexo and WIC.

“We are very grateful to our vendors for helping make the HPU health fair a success each year,” said Francie Clark, director of student activities. “They educate our campus on different programs and services available in the health industry and how to navigate those programs.”


Cutline: Senior Mason Murray takes junior Marino Ochoa’s blood pressure at HPU’s health fair.

HPU prepares for Resurrection Week

By Christy Ash, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – March 14, 2016 – Howard Payne University is preparing for its upcoming Resurrection Week, an annual spring revival event, to be held March 21 through March 23 on the HPU campus. The services, open to the community as well as HPU students, faculty and staff, are intended as a time of spiritual renewal for the campus.

Danny CullinsThis year’s speaker, Danny Cullins, grew up in the Houston area and attended HPU from 1995 to 1999. Upon graduating from HPU, he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. There he met and married his wife, Laura. Together they have served on church leadership teams in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. Danny Cullins also spent some time working as an industrial engineer for Michelin. Most recently, the couple helped plant a new church in Fountain, Colo., where they reside. God has blessed them with three children: Brady (9), Ellie (7) and Will (4).

The worship portion of the services will be led by the Mike Romero Band. Mike Romero Music is a Christian nonprofit organization and ministry based out of Houston, working to invest in God’s people as they learn what it Mike Romero Bandmeans to honor and praise the Creator. The band members strive to serve the Body of Christ in all that they do, including writing and recording music, leading worship, teaching, equipping, training, discipling and investing in the current and future generations of worshipers and worship leaders. Band members include Romero, Jack O’Briant, J-Mike Toler, Branden Montgomery and Austin Ray.

Services on Monday and Tuesday will be held at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and the last service will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Each will take place in HPU’s Mims Auditorium. For more information, contact Corey Ash at (325) 649-8502 or


Above: Photos of Danny Cullins and the Mike Romero Band

HPU to host the Assembly Quartet in concert

BROWNWOOD – March 3, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts will host the Assembly Quartet, a professional chamber music ensemble of saxophones, in concert on Monday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be held in the university’s Grace Chapel and the public is encouraged to attend.

The Assembly Quartet was originally formed in 2003 by graduate students from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. Its mission is to promote music education and expand the enjoyment of music for people of all ages. The quartet, now based in Mississippi, is a versatile ensemble that plays a variety of music styles from orchestral pops to virtuosic avant-garde.

“The HPU School of Music and Fine Arts is excited to host this wonderful ensemble,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. “We are proud to be able to offer this concert free of charge to all of our students as well as the community at large.”

For more information about the Assembly Quartet, visit or contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

HPU to close for Spring Break

BROWNWOOD – March 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University will be closed for Spring Break next week, March 7-11. No classes will be held and administrative offices will be closed.

The university will reopen and classes will resume at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 14.


Bully prevention expert to speak at HPU’s Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon

Donna Clark Love for webBROWNWOOD – March 1, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Woman’s Club will host its annual Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon on Thursday, April 14, beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center. This year’s guest speaker is HPU alumna Donna Clark Love, an internationally recognized expert, trainer and motivational speaker in the areas of bully prevention, family systems and student assistance.

Luncheon tickets are $25 each and may be purchased online at or in person at HPU’s Harrison House, 803 Center Avenue in Brownwood. Sponsorships are available for $1,000 or $500 and include tickets for 8 and a reserved table with signage. Sponsorship and level recognition are included in publicity, both prior to and during event. A portion of the sponsorship is considered a tax-deductible donation to HPU’s Yellow Rose Scholarship Fund.

Clark Love has served as a teacher and school district administrator and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, a certified trainer for Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and a certified mediator/conflict resolution trainer. She has been featured on NBC’s Today show and NBC Nightly News to highlight successful prevention/intervention programs and has been interviewed by Forbes magazine on bully prevention.

“We’re very excited to welcome Donna Clark Love back to the HPU campus,” said Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady and Woman’s Club president. “She is an excellent speaker and her presentation will be valuable to parents, educators and beyond.”

During the luncheon, the Woman’s Club will announce the recipient of the Yellow Rose Scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year as well as honor one of the guests with the prestigious 2016 Yellow Rose Award.

For more information about the HPU Woman’s Club or the Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon, visit, e-mail or call (325) 649-8305.


Photo cutline: The HPU Woman’s Club will host its annual Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon in April with guest speaker Donna Clark Love.

HPU honors four students in Christian ethics and theology

Currie-Strickland Honorees 2016BROWNWOOD – February 29, 2016 – Four Howard Payne University students were honored as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology at the university’s ninth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics event earlier this month. Those honored include Shaefer Church, senior Bible major from Farmington, New Mexico; Cheney Cover, junior cross-cultural studies major from Troup; J.T. Hurt, a 2015 HPU alumnus and current graduate student from Brownwood; and Tom Kyle, junior cross-cultural studies major from Salado. Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies, presented the awards.

“At these lectures, we honor these good students,” said Dr. Auvenshine. “But, the reality is that they honor the Lord and us every day as they faithfully serve and study with us.”

Each year, the honorees are selected based on an evaluation of achievement in their classes and on the ways that they have excelled in their thinking in the fields of Christian ethics and theology. This year, each student received a certificate and three books: “Do Justice, Love Mercy” by Phil Strickland; “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?” by Brian McLaren; and “A New Religious America” by Diana Eck.

“Our faculty are privileged to teach many fine students at HPU, but these four have excelled above and beyond what is required,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies. “We are all very proud of them and happy to honor them.”

The four students plan to pursue ministry-related goals after graduation. Church hopes to go to seminary and then overseas to be a missionary. Cover wants to minister to refugees in an urban environment. Hurt is currently a student in the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry program at HPU and plans to pursue youth ministry. Kyle plans to attend the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas to study translation and linguistics. He also wants to work overseas with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at (325) 649-8403 or visit

Photo cutline: Dr. Donnie Auvenshine (left), professor and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies, is pictured with Currie-Strickland Scholars Shaefer Church, Tom Kyle, Cheney Cover and J.T. Hurt.

HPU awards honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to El Paso’s Richard W. Nassar

Dr Richard Nassar for webBROWNWOOD – February 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University recently granted its highest honor, the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, to Richard W. Nassar of El Paso. Dr. Nassar was awarded the degree during the university’s fall Commencement ceremony in December.

Dr. Nassar was born in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1975. He is an active member and ordained deacon of El Paso’s First Baptist Church. Dr. David Lowrie, senior pastor of the church and former member of HPU’s Board of Trustees, wrote a letter to Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, recommending Dr. Nassar for this honor.

“As a Christian businessman he looked for ways to use his professional and personal influence to advance the cause of the Christ in the world, especially in El Paso,” wrote Dr. Lowrie. “He helped many people escape the dangers of persecution by sponsoring them for citizenship.”

Upon his retirement, Dr. Nassar focused his efforts on establishing a dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews, Dr. Lowrie continued in his letter of recommendation.

“In 2013, he helped the church launch the Middle Eastern Studies Ministry which has created a safe place for people of different Middle Eastern faiths to dialogue and seek greater understanding,” wrote Dr. Lowrie. “All the while, Mr. Nassar’s focus has been on presenting the claims of Christ by his words and example. His influence in the Middle Eastern community of El Paso is vast and very significant. I believe Mr. Nassar is the kind of man of courage and peace who offers hope in our world that we can find peaceful ways to live together.”

Dr. Nassar is an author and poet and recently finished a book of Arabic poetry. The collection is scheduled to be published in Lebanon in 2016.

“HPU was delighted to present its honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to Dr. Nassar, a man who has made the pursuit of peace among nations and the cause of Christ his lifelong mission,” said Dr. Ellis. “We commend the work he has done in El Paso and around the world and join him in prayer for a more peaceful world.”


Photo cutline: Upon receiving the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, Dr. Richard Nassar addressed the crowd at HPU’s fall Commencement ceremony.

HPU theatre producing “Inventing Montana”

Inventing Montana for webBROWNWOOD – February 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre is producing “Inventing Montana,” a play by Jeanne Murray Walker. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 25, through Saturday, February 27, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28. The HPU Theatre is located at 202 Whaley Street in Brownwood.

A comedy, “Inventing Montana” tells the story of Montana Winfield, a university professor and Dickens scholar. A young lady comes to his home to bring him an unpublished Dickens manuscript hoping he will read it and authenticate it. As he reads the manuscript, the Dickens characters arrive and tell their story. Montana’s story alternates with scenes from the Dickens novel, invented by the playwright.

“The interspersing of the modern-day characters and the Dickens characters provides an intriguing evening’s entertainment,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor of theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre.

Following the run in Brownwood, the theatre department will tour the show to the Christian University Theatre Festival, to be held this year at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview March 2-4.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children. They are available for purchase on the evenings of the performances. Admission is free for HPU faculty, staff and students. For more information, call HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: Bryce McWhirter (Montana Winfield), sophomore from Pflugerville, and Hailey Green (Margaret), sophomore from Kennedale, rehearse a scene from “Inventing Montana.”