News Archives

HPU to host speaker Dr. Robert Sellers for ninth annual Currie-Strickland lectures

Sellers Formal Press Shot for webBROWNWOOD – January 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University will host its ninth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics next month with guest speaker Dr. Robert P. Sellers, professor of theology and Connally Chair of Missions at Logsdon Seminary in Abilene. The lectures are Thursday and Friday, February 11 and 12, in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. The lectures are free to the public and the community is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Thursday’s lecture, which begins at 7:00 p.m., is titled “Love your [Non-Christian] Neighbor as Yourself: Religious Pluralism and the Second Great Commandment.” The second lecture, to be held Friday morning at 10:00 a.m., is titled “Do Not Oppress the Foreigner or the Poor: Religious Pluralism and the Care for the Alien and Stranger.”

Dr. Sellers received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and psychology from Mississippi College as well as a Master of Divinity degree in New Testament and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in theological ethics from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has done postgraduate work at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and at Andover-Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts.

For almost 25 years, Dr. Sellers and his wife, Janie, served as missionary student workers and theological educators in Java, Indonesia. Before returning to the United States, he taught ethics at the Indonesia Baptist Theological Seminary and the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary. From 1996 to 1998, he was visiting professor at Truett Seminary and in Baylor University’s religion department before beginning his tenure at Logsdon.

Dr. Sellers is a member of the Board of Trustees and the chair for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. He serves on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the Baptist World Alliance and is a Baptist member of a joint Baptist-Muslim Task Force that has coordinated two National Baptist-Muslim Dialogues. He is currently serving his second five-year term representing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on the Interfaith Relations and Collaboration Table of the National Council of Churches. Locally, he is the Protestant representative on the board of the Abilene Interfaith Council.

Janie Sellers serves as an officer on the Board of Trustees for the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio as well as on the Board of Consultants for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. The Sellers’ children, Tyler and Marnie, were both born in Indonesia and both currently work for Texas Baptist universities.

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Admission is free but reservations are requested. For reservations or more information, please contact Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies by e-mail at or by phone at (325) 649-8403.


Photo cutline: HPU will host speaker Dr. Robert Sellers during its ninth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics.

HPU student TJ Counce wins accolades at Baylor Mock Trial Tournament

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – January 20, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Mock Trial team participated in the Green and Gold Invitational Mock Trial Tournament at Baylor University, with TJ Counce, senior from Lockhart, receiving the award for second-best overall witness.

Mock Trial is a simulation of lower-court trials in the United States judicial system. The American Mock Trial Association acts as the governing body for intercollegiate Mock Trial competition and hosts tournaments at universities across the nation to provide opportunities for college students to gain experience for future law careers. Through the trial simulations, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

Other HPU participants were J Bailey, junior from Gunter; Joshua Dykes, junior from Mount Pleasant; Zachary Eller, senior from Temple; Katherine Hailey, junior from Waxahachie; Lainee Hasty, freshman from Runaway Bay; Rachel Hughes, sophomore from Llano; Caleb Kostreva, freshman from Clifton, Colorado; Daniel Lacy, sophomore from Kerrville; Sierra Mendez, sophomore from Brownwood; Jakob Morgan, sophomore from Blanket; Danya Rios, junior from Brownwood; Skyler Schoolfield, sophomore from Aledo; and Andres Zambrano, junior from Brownwood. The team is led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

The students played the roles of attorneys and witnesses during the conference. Team members who served as attorneys for the defense and prosecution prepared opening statements, closing arguments, and direct- and cross-examination for the witnesses. Counce served as a witness while playing several expert roles and won accolades from all the judges.

The three-day contest, which is sanctioned by the AMTA, attracted 30 teams of undergraduate students from across Texas. Local attorneys and law students served as judges for the tournament.


Photo cutline: HPU senior TJ Counce was named second-best overall witness at the Green and Gold Invitational Mock Trial Tournament at Baylor University.

HPU names Michael Rodgers CFO, vice president

Mike Rodgers for webBROWNWOOD – January 19, 2016 – Howard Payne University recently named Michael Rodgers, Certified Public Accountant, as chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration.

Since 2009, Rodgers has served as vice president of business and chief financial officer at Criswell College in Dallas. He has held several administrative roles at First Baptist Academy in Dallas and All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler and was an adjunct faculty member at Dallas Baptist University and Criswell College. He has additional experience working with the Dallas Seminary Foundation and with private accounting firms and has maintained his CPA license since 1979.

Rodgers received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Master of Arts in Christian Education degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Master of Humanities degree from the University of Dallas.

At HPU, Rodgers will oversee business operations including finance, human resources and facilities and planning.

“Mr. Rodgers has a proven track record of excellence and commitment to Christian education,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, university president. “We’re delighted to welcome him as we start the spring 2016 semester at HPU.”


Photo cutline: Michael Rodgers was recently named chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration at Howard Payne University.

HPU to exhibit works by artist Ruben Salinas

BROWNWOOD – January 18, 2016 – The artwork of Ruben Salinas, painter and digital design artist, will be on exhibit at Howard Payne University January 25 through March 5. The collection, titled “Aspects of Black and White,” will be exhibited in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, and following the footsteps of his father, who worked as an illustrator and art director, Salinas studied communications and majored in advertising at Universidad Regiomontana. He moved to Houston in 1980 where he continued his education in visual communications at The Art Institute of Houston. He went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stephen F. Austin University. Salinas moved to Savannah, Ga., in 2005 to teach at Savannah College of Art and Design. Today, he continues work as a freelance illustrator and painter.

Salinas is the author of “The Spirit of Gesture,” a practical drawing guide for capturing the essence and energy of the subject, written for illustration, animation and concept development students and enthusiasts. He is also the founder of Art Studio Press, a graphic design, illustration, publishing and giclee printing studio.

“Mr. Salinas is a very talented illustrator and painter,” said David Harmon, professor of art and chair of HPU’s Department of Art. “We’re pleased to exhibit his work and invite the community to come take a look.”

HPU’s gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. For more information about the exhibit, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood.


Attached: Promotional poster for Ruben Salinas exhibit at Howard Payne University

Central Texas Community Band to begin rehearsals at HPU

BROWNWOOD – January 18, 2016 – It’s time to dust off that old clarinet or trombone and get back in the band! The Central Texas Community Concert Band will begin rehearsals for the spring 2016 season on Monday, January 25, at Howard Payne University.

The band will meet in HPU’s Davidson Music Complex beginning at 7:30 p.m. Corey Ash, director of bands at HPU, will lead the group along with several guest conductors from the area.

“Everyone is invited to be a part of this exciting group,” said Ash. “The band will perform varied literature for its annual spring concert. From high school students to those who are older but still have the desire to play, all are invited to come and be a part of this wonderful community project.”

For more information, contact Ash at (325) 649-8502 or


HPU announces holiday schedule

BROWNWOOD – December 15, 2015 – Howard Payne University will be closed Monday, Dec. 21, through Friday, Jan. 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Offices will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4.

HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement (The Harrison House), located at 803 Center Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30, and Thursday, December 31, to process end-of-the-year gifts. The Office of Institutional Advancement may be reached at (325) 649-8006 or (800) 950-8465.

HPU’s spring 2016 semester begins Monday, Jan. 11.

HPU’s Harmon exhibiting work at Lubbock gallery

BROWNWOOD – December 15, 2015 – A painting by David Harmon, chair of Howard Payne University’s Department of Art, was accepted to the group exhibition “White on White” at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock. The exhibition is open now through January 23.

Each piece in the exhibition features monochromatic works from the many hues and shades of white. The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and is free to the public.

Harmon additionally presented a paper in New York City this fall at the National Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists. His paper was titled “Revealing Aesthetics in Art Appreciation.” The conference, held at the famous Warwick New York Hotel, was sponsored by the School of Visual Arts.

“Mr. Harmon’s commitment to his professional development is apparent in his accomplishments in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “His passion for art is reflected in his works as well as in the works of his students.”


Photo cutline: David Harmon, chair of HPU’s Department of Art, is exhibiting a painting at a Lubbock gallery.

HPU expanding presence in New Braunfels thanks to local businessman

BROWNWOOD – December 14, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s presence in New Braunfels is expanding thanks to the generosity of New Braunfels businessman and HPU alumnus Bob Knoll, CEO of Millennium Packaging/Supplize. Knoll has offered the university the use of a facility in New Braunfels as a home for the HPU New Braunfels Center to grow during the next several years. The university looks forward to eventually building a permanent campus in the community as part of the Veramendi development project.

Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies, sees this new development as an opportunity to further extend the legacy of HPU to the community of New Braunfels. The “Extending the Legacy” theme pays homage to the 126-year history of HPU’s main campus in Brownwood.

“Our desire is to continue extending HPU’s rich legacy into New Braunfels, offering the same type of caring, Christian environment in which students may grow both academically and spiritually,” Dr. Meinecke said.

HPU has maintained a presence in the community since March 2012 when the HPU Board of Trustees approved extending education to New Braunfels. Since that time, HPU’s New Braunfels Center has served more than 100 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs.

Knoll felt compelled to partner with HPU in the mission of bringing Christ-centered, quality higher education to the Austin/San Antonio corridor. The building is located off Interstate 35 at 4102 Loop 337 in New Braunfels and will be remodeled to include administrative offices, classrooms, a conference room and study areas to accommodate the planned expansion of HPU. Classes will be held in the new building beginning in summer 2016.

“This new building will allow us to welcome more students to the HPU family over the next few years,” said Dr. Meinecke. “We have been blessed beyond measure by Mr. Knoll’s generosity.”

To learn more about HPU’s plans to expand in New Braunfels, and how you can get involved, call (830) 629-2366 or e-mail Information may also be found online at


Photo cutline: An architectural rendering shows the new facility for Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center once necessary renovations are complete.

Early HPU artifact discovered in attic of Brownwood home

ellis and music faculty for webBROWNWOOD – December 14, 2015 – An item found in the attic of a Brownwood home was recently given a prominent new location at Howard Payne University. A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma – the oldest known in existence – was discovered and donated to the university by Derek and Stephanie Kirbo of Brownwood.

The diploma was awarded to Miss Bessie Doswell Ramey in 1898 upon the completion of “the full course in Piano, Harmony, and History of Music.” The university, which was founded in 1889, granted its first degree in 1895.

“The diploma is in astonishingly good condition given its age,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. Dr. Ellis presented the diploma to representatives of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts during the university’s Recital Hour. The artifact is now on display in the university’s Davidson Music Complex.

The Ramey family was well known in the area, with ties to the Howard Payne founders and other pioneers. Bessie Ramey’s father, John James Ramey, died in 1895. His obituary reads, “Mr. Ramey’s name is inseparably connected with Howard Payne College, of Brownwood, and more than any one man, with the exception of Dr. John D. Robnett, the founder of the institution, supported the college at a time when it was in sore need of friends.”

Although little more is known about Bessie Ramey and her time at Howard Payne, Dr. Ellis emphasized the significance of the diploma’s discovery.

“The individuals who founded Howard Payne built it out of nothing near the very beginning of the establishment of Brownwood,” he said. “Early students like Bessie Ramey paved the way for future generations. We’re so thankful to the Kirbos and will cherish the diploma for many years to come.”


Photo cutline: A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma found in a Brownwood attic now has a permanent home inside the university’s Davidson Music Complex. Left to right: Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and professor of music; Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; and Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music.

Mustaches for Missions: HPU fundraising tradition garners donations and laughs

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2015 – Members of Last Beard Standing, the Moostaches and The Fan{tache}tics all stepped up to the Mustache Wheel of Doom at Howard Payne University Monday evening to learn the fate of their facial hair. The Baptist Student Ministry’s annual fundraising event brought in $5,331 for student missions.

Each November, participating male students, faculty and staff members refrain from shaving for the month while selling t-shirts and collecting donations for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions. The teams that raise the least amount of money spin the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shave in whichever style the wheel determines. The choices include stripes, half-beards, “no-tee goatees” and more. The participants keep their entertaining new facial-hair stylings throughout the remainder of Finals Week.

The Mustache Wheel of Doom is held each year in conjunction with HPU’s Pancake Supper. Faculty and staff serve pancakes and other breakfast foods to students as they eagerly await to see the results.

“I am extremely honored to serve with a team of students who make missions fundraising a priority,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM. “They helped to raise money for our usual goal of $4,000, but exceeded it by more than $1,300. I could not ask for a greater group of students and supporters to help us send students on missions to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”


Photo cutline: HPU junior Evan Fleming, left, and Keith Platte, BSM director, await the results of Fleming’s Mustache Wheel of Doom spin. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU senior.