News Archives

Walker Memorial Library showcases HPU memorabilia

By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore

library display for webBROWNWOOD – October 24, 2014 – In honor of Homecoming 2014 and the 125th anniversary of Howard Payne University, the Walker Memorial Library has collected and is displaying historical HPU artifacts in the Browsing Room on the first floor.

The tribute includes various keepsakes from the HPU archives to foster nostalgia for alumni while offering students a tangible representation of the university’s history.

Memorabilia includes trophies, football gear, cheerleader and band uniforms and photos. Copies of every circulating yearbook are also available for viewing and some are available for purchase at $1.00 each.

The display will be open to the public during Homecoming, October 24-26. Hours are Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Walker Memorial Library will display historical artifacts during Homecoming 2014.

HPU to host ribbon-cutting for newly remodeled Mabee University Center

Fambroughs for webBROWNWOOD – October 22, 2014 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Howard Payne University’s newly remodeled Mabee University Center will be held this Friday, October 24, at 5 p.m. as part of the university’s Homecoming 2014 celebrations.

The extensive remodeling project included a renovated dining hall, study lounge, social spaces, large eatery and coffee bar, enhanced technology, new office suite for the vice president for student life and her staff, expanded campus store, additional conference rooms and improved Bullion Suites to host events for the university and the community.

Waldrop Construction handled the project.

“The remodel went beautifully,” says Dr. Bill Ellis, university president. “We’re very pleased with Waldrop Construction’s work and we look forward to opening the Mabee University Center to the alumni and the community during Homecoming.”

SmithGroupJJR of Dallas, one of the nation’s largest architecture and engineering firms, was in charge of the redesign. Bill Fishback, HPU’s assistant vice president for business and human resources, worked closely with the firm.

“During the construction phase of the Mabee Center renovation project, SmithGroupJJR representatives Nick Back, Kenda Draper and Eden Vaughn were invaluable as we worked with Waldrop Construction and subcontractors to ensure the end result would be a great facility for students,” said Fishback. “Nick Back, associate construction manager, is the consummate professional and was our ‘go to’ person at SmithGroupJJR, assisting us daily throughout project.”

The renovated dining hall opened at the beginning of the fall semester and Fambrough’s Eatery & Coffee Bar, as well as the student life offices, have opened in the past few weeks. Students have expressed their pleasure with the updated spaces.

“The new Fambrough’s looks really nice,” says Allan Chehadi, a sophomore from Austin. “I’m also excited for the new study lounge. It will make it a lot easier for 24-hour studying.”

According to Dr. Ellis, the needs and desires of students were the driving forces behind the project.

“Our main reason for the renovation was to provide a comfortable gathering place for our students and state-of-the-art dining facilities,” says Dr. Ellis. “I believe we have achieved just that. It is a joy to see the students exploring and enjoying the remodeled facility.”

With all of the new features, Dr. Ellis says the upgraded Mabee University Center will benefit the rest of campus and the community as well.

“We’re so proud of this facility and we hope the community makes plans to join us for the ribbon-cutting ceremony,” he said.

A complete schedule of Homecoming events and other information is available online at


Photo cutline: Among the extensive renovations to HPU’s Mabee University Center were updates and improvements to Fambrough’s Eatery & Coffee Bar.

HPU announces 2014 Homecoming Court

Homecoming Court 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – October 22, 2014 – Howard Payne University has announced the 2014 Homecoming Court. The HPU Homecoming queen and princess will be crowned this Friday, October 24, at 2 p.m. during Homecoming Convocation in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

Homecoming queen nominees are Katie Rose Bonner of Lytle, a senior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in political science and history; Morgan Marriott of Fort Worth, a senior communication major and psychology minor; and Samantha Mullins of Frisco, a senior psychology major and health science minor.

Katie Rose is the daughter of James and Rosemary Bonner of Lytle. She serves as student body president and is a member of Sigma Theta Phi, Gamma Beta Phi, Pi Gamma Mu and the HPU Moot Court team. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend law school and is considering a career in immigration or international law.

Morgan, the daughter of Dr. Ronny and Mrs. Robin Marriott of Temple, is a member of Delta Chi Rho and works for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper. She is a former member of the Lady Jackets women’s basketball team and after graduation plans to become a talk show host.

Samantha is the daughter of Chad and Natalie Johnson of Frisco. She is a member of Chi Alpha Omega and the Lady Jackets women’s soccer team. After graduation, she plans to become an occupational therapist and work with children who have special needs.

Princess nominees are Gabriella Guest of Midlothian, a junior choral music education major and theatre minor; Kelsan Wolverton of Lampasas, a junior cross-cultural and Bible major who minors in theatre; and Caitlin Wood of Miles, a junior Guy D. Newman Honors Academy student who majors in political science and minors in Christian education.

Gabriella is the daughter of Austin and DeeDee Guest of Midlothian. She is involved with the Student Government Association and is a member of Gamma Beta Phi, Kappa Delta Pi, the Concert Choir and the Symphonic Band. Additionally, she writes for the Yellow Jacket student newspaper and is involved with many HPU theatre productions. Her career goal is to become a high school choir director.

Kelsan is the daughter of Kelly and Susan Wolverton of DeSoto. She is on the Student Planning Committee and is involved with Alpha Psi Omega, the Baptist Student Ministry, the Ministerial Alliance and HPU theatre productions. After graduation, she would like to become a missionary.

Caitlin, the daughter of Ron and Sandy Wood of Miles, is a member of Gamma Beta Phi, Pi Gamma Mu and the Jacket Ambassadors. Additionally, she is involved with Student Government Association, Moot Court and the Baptist Student Ministry. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend law school and eventually work as a litigator or in-house counsel for a faith-based organization.

The Homecoming Court will be featured in the parade on Saturday, October 25, beginning at 9:15 a.m., and in the half-time show of the football game versus Hardin-Simmons University at Gordon Wood Stadium starting at 2 p.m.

The student body selects the court each year by elections coordinated through the Student Government Association.


Photo cutline: HPU has announced its 2014 Homecoming Court. Left to right: Kelsan Wolverton, Katie Rose Bonner, Morgan Marriott, Gabriella Guest, Samantha Mullins and Caitlin Wood.

Paul and Paula to return to HPU for Homecoming 2014

Paul and Paula for webBROWNWOOD – October 21, 2014 – In the early 1960s, excitement swept the Howard Payne University campus when two students achieved international fame. Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson Landon – known around the world as Paul and Paula – recorded their smash hit “Hey Paula” which spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1963. The pair will return to campus this Friday for a concert and unveiling of a Texas historical marker in their honor.

The event is in conjunction with HPU’s Homecoming 2014, October 24-26, which pays tribute to the university’s 125th anniversary.

“We’re privileged to honor Ray and Jill during our Homecoming and anniversary celebrations this year,” said Stephen Sullivan ’11, director of development and alumni relations. “They hold a very special place in HPU history.”

Landon said she always looks forward to returning home to Brownwood.

“My heart will always be in Texas,” she said. “I remember the day I got the call about the historical plaque. I really couldn’t take it all in. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and then couldn’t believe the honor we were being given. I just starting crying and still do when I think about the plaque being at Howard Payne long after Ray and I are gone. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways and I am grateful beyond any words I could put on paper. I wish with all my heart my parents could be there. They are so important to the ‘Hey Paula’ story.”

Hildebrand is also excited to return to his alma mater.

“The Bible says all good things come from God, and the people at Howard Payne and ‘Hey Paula’ were and are good things,” said Hildebrand. “Why would I not want to return to such a good memory?”

The historical marker will be unveiled at the university’s Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet at 6 p.m. on October 25, a ticketed event during which several HPU honorees will be recognized.

Cobbler on the Campus, a dessert social, will follow the banquet at 7:30 p.m. and the concert featuring Paul and Paula will begin at 9 p.m. at HPU’s Muse Mall and Plaza, in the center of campus. Also performing is Holly Tucker, a 2012 contestant on NBC’s The Voice. Admission to the concert is free and the community is encouraged to attend.

A complete schedule of Homecoming events and other details may be found online at For more information, contact HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006.


Photo cutline: HPU alumni Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson Landon, known around the world as Paul and Paula, are pictured at the height of their fame in the early 1960s.

HPU alumna to present piano recital

Kaitlyn Zachary for webBROWNWOOD – October 20, 2014 – Kaitlyn Zachary, a 2011 graduate of Howard Payne University, will present a piano recital this Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The recital is free to the public.

The program will feature classical pieces by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Chopin and Ginastera.

Zachary is pursuing a master’s degree in music with a concentration in piano pedagogy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. While completing her degree at the seminary, she has been a part of Southwestern Singers and has accompanied the Fort Worth Children’s Choir. In May 2014, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Musician’s Award by the Euterpean Women’s Society of Fort Worth.

Zachary is the assistant director of Southwestern Music Academy, serving more than 125 students in the Fort Worth area with private music lessons in a quality Christian setting. She currently teaches piano and violin lessons to children through the Academy and also serves as the group class coordinator for the program.

Her graduate piano recital will be held Friday, November 21, at the seminary and she will also perform in Southwestern’s Keyboards at Christmas concert on December 4.

Upon completing her master’s degree in December 2015, Kaitlyn hopes to continue using her musical abilities in further studio management and teaching, both locally and also on the international mission field.


Photo cutline: Kaitlyn Zachary, a 2011 HPU graduate, will present a piano recital this Wednesday.

HPU Board of Trustees to convene next week with four new members

BROWNWOOD – October 16, 2014 – Four individuals have joined the Howard Payne University Board of Trustees during the last year and will be on campus next week when the board convenes for a regular meeting. The board will meet in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming celebration, Oct. 24-26.

Dr. Daniel Sanchez and Ray Still were elected to the board in October 2013 and Dr. Bernardo “Bernie” Moraga and Annette (Brooks) Spikes were elected in March 2014.

“The university is honored to welcome the newest members of our Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “Each board election brings us supportive and caring individuals who truly have HPU’s best interests at heart.”

Dr. Daniel SanchezDr. Daniel Sanchez, a 1962 HPU alumnus, serves at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in a number of positions including professor of missions; director of the Scarborough Institute of Church Planting and Growth; associate dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions; and director of the Hispanic Theological Studies Program. Dr. Sanchez received his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in Oxford, England. In addition to being an educator, he has served as church planter and missionary among other roles. He and his wife, Carmen, who passed away in May 2014, have three children.

Ray Still for webRay Still has served as senior pastor of New Braunfels’ Oakwood Church for 20 years. During that time, the congregation has grown to more than 4,500 members. Still has served on the boards of McKenna Memorial Hospital, the McKenna Legacy Foundation, Christus Santa Rosa Hospital and Houston Baptist University. He and his wife, Sandra, have one son.



Bernardo Moraga for webDr. Bernardo “Bernie” Moraga serves as pastor of Buena Voluntad Baptist Church in San Antonio and is former pastor of First Spanish/Fruit Ave. Baptist Church in Albuquerque. A 1974 HPU alumnus, Dr. Moraga received his Master of Arts degree from Southwest Texas State and his Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Theological Seminary. He is former pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of San Francisco, Grace Baptist Church of Weslaco and Good Shepherd Baptist Church of Comanche. Moraga is a former member of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico Executive Board; a former national consultant for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Hispanic Initiative; a former member of the Texas Baptist and California Baptist Executive Boards; and a former trustee for Dallas Baptist University. In 2001, Dr. Moraga received the HPU Distinguished Alumnus Award. He and his wife, Anita, have two sons.

Annette Spikes for webAnnette Spikes, an educator and community activist, is a 1963 HPU alumna who went on to earn a Master of Education degree from Sam Houston State University. She married Grady Spikes ’62 (deceased 1999) while at HPU. The Spikes both taught two years at Coleman ISD before moving to Conroe ISD. Annette Spikes organized the Volunteer League for the Conroe Symphony Orchestra. She is past president and a board member of the organization, as well as treasurer and acting executive director of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance. Additionally, she is a member of the Conroe Service League and serves various other community organizations. The Spikes have two sons and five grandchildren.

HPU sophomore Sarahi Castillo awarded UPS Scholarship through ICUT Foundation

Sarahi Castillo for webBROWNWOOD – October 14, 2014 – Sarahi Castillo, a sophomore at Howard Payne University, was recently selected to receive a $2,425 UPS Scholarship provided through the ICUT Foundation.

Sarahi is the daughter of Maria C. Medina and Larry Medina of El Paso and a 2013 graduate of Montwood High School. She is majoring in exercise and sport science at HPU and is a member of the women’s basketball team.

The ICUT Foundation is a charitable organization operated by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, a statewide association for private colleges and universities. ICUT Foundation is an affiliate of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). Since 1985, The UPS Foundation has funded over $2.2 million in scholarships for Texas students.

The UPS Foundation (NYSE: UPS), which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2011, is responsible for facilitating community involvement to local, national and global communities. In 2010, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $95 million in charitable giving around the world.

Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation, said, “UPS is pleased to continue that spirit of giving by partnering with CIC to support thousands of students working to become the leaders of tomorrow by obtaining an education from our nation’s independent colleges.”

Richard Ekman serves as CIC president.

“Through this national scholarship program, CIC and UPS are delighted to make it possible for 614 deserving young men and women to attend the private college or university of their choice,” he said. “By directly assisting students with significant financial need, CIC and UPS are helping a new generation of students achieve their dreams of a college education.”


Photo cutline: HPU sophomore Sarahi Castillo was recently awarded a UPS Scholarship through the ICUT Foundation.

HPU Homecoming 2014 parade to follow new route

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Homecoming parade, a community tradition, will be held Saturday, October 25, at 9:15 a.m. The parade will follow a new, longer route this year so that more people in the community have an opportunity to enjoy it.

Beginning at the Brownwood Coliseum, the parade will travel north on Baker St., turn left onto Center Ave., move across Austin Ave. and enter campus. The procession will end in front of HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center on Center Ave.

The parade will feature student-designed floats and other attractions including the HPU Yellow Jacket Marching Band. Additionally, there will be a variety of floats and participants from the community.

“We hope everyone makes plans to attend this fun event,” said Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations. “All of the participants are working hard to put on a parade everyone can enjoy.”

A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available online at Click the image below to download the map as a PDF.


HPU theatre department to present “Suite Surrender” during Homecoming 2014

Suite Surrender Poster for webBROWNWOOD – October 13, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre will present performances of Suite Surrender in conjunction with HPU’s Homecoming 2014 celebration. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 23, through Saturday, October 25, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 26. Prior to the Saturday night performance, at 6:30 p.m., HPU theatre alumni will perform a special arrangement of songs, monologues and scenes.

Suite Surrender is a comedic play by Michael McKeever. The production is set in 1942 and focuses on a feud between two of Hollywood’s biggest divas, played by Gabi Guest, a junior from Midlothian, and Alexandra Taliaferro, a senior from Haslet.

Additional cast members include Abbey Beardsley, a freshman from Fort Worth; Megan Hoghaug, a freshman from Dripping Springs; Isaac Howell, a sophomore from Georgetown; Hayden Jacobs, a freshman from Lytle; Brittany Martin, a junior from Goldthwaite; Bryce McWhirter, a sophomore from Round Rock; and Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro.

“We hope HPU Homecoming guests and others from the community make plans to bring their entire family to watch Suite Surrender,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor of theatre and head of HPU’s theatre department. “Our cast and crew are working tirelessly to put on a performance everyone can enjoy.”

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance through the School of Music and Fine Arts. For more information, contact Jill Holamon at (325) 649-8500 or via e-mail at A complete schedule of Homecoming events, lodging information and other details are available at

HPU’s speech and debate team begins competition season

SSB Fall 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – October 10, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s competitive speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau (SSB), began its 2014-2015 competition season in September.

The team first traveled to Texas State University to participate in practice British parliamentary (BP) debate rounds with the TSU team, followed by the Hill Country Swing individual events tournament.

“I’m really excited that we were able to have some practice debate rounds with the TSU team,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the communication department and SSB coach. “They are a highly competitive team and, since we only go to two BP tournaments a year, it was very beneficial to get in the extra practice.”

The team then traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to compete in the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado College Tournament.

“This tournament is such a great experience for our team,” said Dr. Welker. “We get to compete against universities from all over the United States, including teams from Yale and University of Alaska-Anchorage. These schools are considered some of the best in the U.S., so it’s a privilege to get to compete with them.”

According to Dr. Welker, of the four HPU teams that competed, two of the teams missed advancing to the quarterfinals round by just a few points.

“That is quite impressive,” she added.

During the trip to Colorado Springs, the team was able to take the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway up to the Pike’s Peak Summit.

Kaleigh Tankersley, senior from Iraan and team captain, said the tournament was a good experience and the trip to Pike’s Peak was wonderful.

“The SSB trip to Pike’s Peak was a great time for all of us to bond and to really get to know each other,” she said. “We also got to experience some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world.”

Dr. Welker said she believes the students deserve to have some fun in exchange for all their hard work.

“The Pike’s Peak trip was just amazing,” she said. “The views were unbelievable, and the experience together as a team was special.”

The team also visited the United States Air Force Academy and the Garden of the Gods.

Braxton Clark, a freshman from Southlake, said that the trip was an overall good experience.

“Going to Colorado with the SSB team has brought us closer together and helped us learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which will help us as we proceed,” he said.

While the debate team was competing in Colorado, two freshmen team members attended the Newbie Novice individual events tournament at Tarrant County College. Luis Rodriguez Ortiz of Brownsville placed fifth in impromptu and extemporaneous speaking, and Brianna Cruz of San Angelo placed fifth in prose and poetry.

“These two freshmen, although late additions to the team, really showed up and competed well at this tournament,” said Dr. Welker. “I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow this year.”

In addition to Clark, Cruz, Rodriguez Ortiz and Tankersley, members of HPU’s SSB include Marcos Corley, a senior from Corpus Christi; Meg Eakin, a sophomore from Plano; Adam Jones, a sophomore from Irving; Lauren Long, a freshman from Grand Junction, Colo.; Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro; and Dorie Walton, a junior from Lolita.

The team is preparing for two major upcoming tournaments – the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association fall championships in October and the Oxford IV International BP Tournament in November.

For more information about the Student Speaker Bureau, visit


Photo cutline: HPU’s competitive speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau, recently began its competition season. Team members include, from left, Braxton Clark, Dorie Walton, Adam Jones, Meg Eakin, Marcos Corley, Kaleigh Tankersley, Jared Russell, Lauren Long and Dr. Julie Welker. Not pictured are Brianna Cruz and Luis Rodriguez Ortiz.