News Archives

HPU honors students at Academic Awards Convocation

BROWNWOOD – June 6, 2014 – Howard Payne University recently honored 71 students for academic achievements during the spring 2014 semester. The honors were conferred at the annual Academic Awards Convocation ceremony held on HPU’s campus.

Receiving awards were:

Allen Andrus, Outstanding New All-Level Teacher award

Leah’Shae Gibson, Outstanding Student in Engineering Science award
Jessica Ramirez, Outstanding Social Studies Composite Student award

Ben Wheeler
Jarrod White, Outstanding Achievement in Theatre award

Conner Fisher, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Biology award

Big Lake
Samantha Guerrero, Academic Achievement in English award

Boylston, Mass.
Catherine “Katie” Mullaney, Othal Brand Award for Outstanding Civic Leadership, the Outstanding Student Speaker Bureau Member award and the Academic Achievement in English award

Janis Groves, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Communication Studies award

Kellie Warner, Outstanding Yellow Jacket Newspaper Staff Member award

Melissa Bernal, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Spanish award
Chasity Cartwright, Academic Achievement in English award
Amber Corley, Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities Preservice Educator of the Year award
Sarah Crager, Outstanding Upper-Division Music Major award
Ennis (EJ) Davila, Outstanding Student in Biblical Languages award and the Honor Award in Psychology
Justin Fisher, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Chemistry award
Stephanie Gutierrez, Outstanding Nontraditional Student award
Jared Huntley, Outstanding Student in Bible award
Benjamin Palmer, Outstanding Student Speaker Bureau Member award
Laura Salazar, Outstanding Nursing Student award
Zachary Tharp, Outstanding Student in Youth Ministry award

Erik Swenson, Outstanding History Student award

Chaparral, N.M.
Shannon Kerr, Outstanding Student in Christian Studies Composite award

Nathan Byrd, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Chemistry award
James Smith, Outstanding Mathematics Major award

Colby Compton, Outstanding Freshman in Art award
Ryan Contreras, Outstanding Lower-Division Music Major award
Abraham Cooper, Outstanding Student in Physics award
Kevin Holamon, Outstanding Political Science Student and Nontraditional Student awards
Kevin E. Kirk, Outstanding Student in MBA Research award
Mark A. Parker, Outstanding Student in Computer Information Systems award
Sydni Thompson, Outstanding Nursing Student award

Fayetteville, N.C.
Tracy Tucker, Outstanding Student in Christian Studies Bible Composite award

Daniel Taylor, Honor Award in Psychology

Flower Mound
Hannah Hicks, Outstanding Exercise and Sport Science Major award

Fort Hood
Samantha Coronado, Outstanding Yellow Jacket Newspaper Staff Member award

Fort Worth
Brandon Gould, Paul J. Cunningham Memorial award
Joshua Kennedy, Men’s Outstanding Scholar Athlete award, the Paul J. Cunningham Memorial award and the ASC Male Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor award
Hannah Williamson, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Spanish award

Asiyel Smith, Outstanding Freshman in Art award

Rachel Ellington, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Spanish award

Brittany R. Bailey, Outstanding Student in Marketing award

Lawrence R. Whittet, Outstanding Student in Management award

Grand Junction, Colo.
Elizabeth Rogers, Outstanding Moot Court Student award

Greenbrier, Ark.
Paul Warren, Outstanding Student in Cross-Cultural Studies award

Tonya Bloomer, Honor Award in Social Work
Kerrie Ford, Dallas B. Sherman Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the Outstanding Model United Nations Student award

Chelsey Cathey, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Chemistry award

Allison Mantell, Outstanding Student in Mathematics Education award

Amanda Cruddas, Mattie Anderson Hale Scholarship in English, the Women’s Outstanding Scholar Athlete award and the Tami Pattillo Memorial award
Harley Fine, Outstanding Student in Forensic Science award

La Grange
Valerie Marrs, Outstanding Candidate for Graduation in Biology award

William Colton Curry, Outstanding Student in Practical Theology and Outstanding Academic Achievement in Christian Studies awards

Naples, Fla.
Robin Scofield, Outstanding Academic Achievement in Communication Studies award

Katie Murphy, Outstanding Senior in Art award

Becky Lamar, Outstanding New Elementary Teacher award

Keaton Fletcher, Outstanding Student in General Biology award

Jonathan Rick Henderson, Outstanding Student in Christian Education award

Blaine Wynn, Honor Award in Criminal Justice

Amber Jones, Outstanding Athletic Training Major award

Round Rock
Bryce McWhirter, Most Promising Newcomer in Theatre award

Katherine Dobson, Outstanding Achievement in Theatre award

Royse City
Hannah Strebeck, Outstanding Upper-Division Music Major award

Emily Bird, Outstanding New Secondary Teacher award

San Angelo
Cara DeLoach, Mattie Anderson Hale Scholarship in English and the Glenn Hopp Outstanding Writer award

San Saba
Marshal McIntosh, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Communication Studies award

Sarah Van Remmen, Outstanding Student in General Biology and Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Chemistry awards

Sierra Blanca
Rachel Moore, Highest GPA for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science award

Mallory Orms, Outstanding Exercise and Sport Science Major, Women’s Outstanding Scholar Athlete and ASC Female Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor awards

Timothy Marlin, Outstanding Graduating Senior in Mathematics award

Neva M. Bowers, Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship award

Lacy H. Culpepper, Outstanding Student in Finance and Outstanding Student in the School of Business awards

Students from HPU’s Pre-College Music program earn honors at state music competition

BROWNWOOD – June 5, 2014 – Fifty students from HPU’s Pre-College Music program participated in the District 4A Junior Festival, held on the HPU campus in March. Forty-eight students earned a “Superior” rating, making them eligible to compete in the Texas Federation of Music Clubs State Competition. Of these students, 22 entered the TFMC State Competition, with many taking high honors. The competition was held May 17 at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Listed below are the participants and their ratings:

Vocal Solo
Outstanding: Angie Calfa, Dallas Johnston, Laurel Edmondson, Mary McIver, Sarah Reeves and Jordan Roberts

Vocal Duet
Outstanding: Laurel Edmondson and Dallas Johnston

Piano Solo
Outstanding: James Bautista, Andrew Boren, Dakota Busby, Abe Cooper, Vic Cooper, Christian Fijer, Addison Miller, Michael Morales, Hannah Parson, Sarah Reeves, Natalee Rose and Trina Wheeless

Superior: Kamry Keese and Jordan Roberts

Excellent: Skyler Moore

HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art program, directed by Diane Owens, is part of the university’s School of Music and Fine Arts. The program offers Kindermusik classes to pre-school children, and lessons in art, musical instruments and voice to school-aged children and adults. This past year, 15 teachers, consisting of HPU music and art faculty, students and local teachers, taught more than 100 students who were enrolled in the program.

Enrollment for the Pre-College Music and Art program’s fall semester will begin August 11 and will continue until August 29. Classes begin on September 1, and each semester is 14 weeks in length.
For more information about the Pre-College Music and Art program at HPU, contact Diane Owens at 325-649-850l or or Jill Holamon, administrative assistant for the School of Music and Fine Arts, at 325-649-8500 or

The Texas Federation of Music Clubs operates in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs. The NFMC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to music education and the promotion of creative and performing arts in America. Since its founding in 1898, the NFMC has grown into one of the world’s largest music organizations with club and individual members of all ages. The NFMC is chartered by the Congress of The United States and is the only music organization member of the United Nations. Dedicated to finding and fostering young musical talent, the NFMC conducts annual Junior Festivals with more than 117,000 participants. The NFMC offers more than three quarters of a million dollars in awards through state and national competitions. Federation members work to create a dynamic musical and cultural environment in their communities through education and sponsorship of musical events.

HPU education professor publishes children’s book

Dr Voss and book for webBROWNWOOD – June 5, 2014 – Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at Howard Payne University, never really intended to write a children’s book but, according to Voss, God had other plans. In response to the 2013 Moore, Okla., tornado, Dr. Voss penned “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange,” a book dedicated to all disaster survivors.

“I remember watching the tornado coverage on TV and wondering, as a former kindergarten teacher, would I have been able to stay calm and keep my students calm,” she said.

The answer, as written on the back cover of her new book, is “a definite ‘yes,’ but only with God’s help.”

Dr. Voss was on a road trip a few weeks after the tornado when God revealed the story to her in a “colorful movie format.” In a hurry to capture the story, she began dictating the scenes on her iPhone. When she arrived home, it took a day to transcribe everything into text and several months to revise and refine.

The story is designed to bring comfort to children, parents, teachers and communities following any tragic event. Intended for second- and third-grade audiences, the book contains the appropriate vocabulary and literary devices. It is illustrated by Dr. Voss’ son, Ben Voss, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lubbock.

Dr. Voss has donated the book to many school districts, hoping it will be read in classrooms in towns that – like Moore and the fictional community in the book – have experienced disasters.

“This is God’s story and He wanted me to spread the word,” she said. “I’ve learned when God nudges you to do something, you obey.”

“Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange” is available for purchase at retailers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It may also be purchased through the publisher at


Photo cutline: Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at HPU, holds a copy of her new book, “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange.”

HPU students embark on summer mission trips

BROWNWOOD – May 30, 2014 – In preparation for summer mission trips through the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions, Howard Payne University students Ashley Chapman, Daniel Harris and Paula Johnson spent time reflecting on Isaiah 6:8.

The verse reads, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”

“The last words in that verse really stuck out to me,” said Chapman, a junior from Ennis. “I already had a plan for my summer, but the one God had for me is so much better. I now have a chance to serve in two areas that desperately need the Word of God and His unconditional love.”

Chapman will serve in Mission, Texas, and Mexico City, helping with backyard Bible clubs, Vacation Bible School, food distribution, personal evangelism, prayer walking, medical missions and more as she connects with the people living in those cities.

“I just hope with all my heart that I will be able to find those who are lost or have strayed from their faith and show them that God’s love will never leave us,” she said.

Daniel Harris, a sophomore from Boerne, will work with families, students, senior adults and children in a vastly underserved area of inner-city Houston. Harris will work at the Mission Centers of Houston, helping with English as a Second Language (ESL), sports camps, prayer walks, food and clothing drives and much more.

“My goal is to build bonds with my teammates and the people we are serving,” he said. “I really hope I can show people how they can have a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring, is already in Orlando serving with Give Kids The World, an organization through which children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations.

“My hope is that I can make an impact on these children,” she said. “I want them to know that, though they are hurting now, God loves them and they are here for a reason.”

Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, encourages the university family and surrounding communities to be in prayer for the missionaries and the work they are doing this summer.

“I’m very thankful HPU has students each summer who are willing and excited to forego typical vacations in order to serve others,” he said. “I pray that God’s hand will be upon them and that His will is accomplished through them.”

HPU to host book signing for authors of Texas fern guide

Ferns and Lycophytes Book Cover for webBROWNWOOD – May 29, 2014 – Howard Payne University will host the authors of “The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas” in a book-signing event on Friday, June 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the university’s Walker Memorial Library.

Botanists George M. Diggs, Jr., and Barney L. Lipscomb conducted their research using, in part, a fern collection in HPU’s herbarium. Dr. Marilyn Mathis, associate professor of biology at HPU, serves as curator of the herbarium.

“My students this spring used the book for identifying the ferns they collected and we found it to be extremely useful,” she said.

A description of the book found on the Botanical Research Institute of Texas’ website (, states, “Texas has a surprising number of native ferns and lycophytes — 127 in all, the most of any state in the continental U.S.A.”

HPU’s collection provided valuable insight to the authors. Among other samples, HPU’s herbarium houses the only known Texas collection of the Pteris vittata fern, gathered from a stream-side boulder in San Saba County.

Dr. Jack Stanford, professor emeritus of biology at HPU who retired from the university in 1999 after 33 years of service, contributed to the book and received special recognition from the authors.

“The authors have provided us with a superb look at Texas plants,” said Dr. Stanford. “Anyone with an interest in plants – from botanists to home gardeners – will enjoy meeting them as well as reading their new and refreshing treatment of the ferns and their allies found throughout Texas.”

For more information or to order a copy of the book, visit Books will also be available for purchase during the event. For more information about the book signing, contact the university’s Walker Memorial Library at (325) 649-8602.


Photo cutline: HPU will host the authors of “The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas” in a book-signing event on Friday, June 13.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, named president of ASC Executive Committee

Dr-Bill-Ellis ASCBROWNWOOD – May 28, 2014 – Dr. Bill Ellis, Howard Payne University president, was recently named president of the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Executive Committee. He will begin his one-year term Tuesday, July 1.

The ASC, one of the largest intercollegiate athletic conferences in NCAA Division III, will begin its 19th year of league competition in 2014-15. Twelve colleges and universities located in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas hold membership in the athletic conference.

Dr. Ellis served as vice president for the Executive Committee during the 2013-2014 academic year.


Photo cutline: Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, was recently selected president of the American Southwest Conference Executive Committee.

Dr. Cynthia Clawson performs for HPU Steinway campaign

Photo 1 -Clawson performing for webBROWNWOOD – May 23, 2014 – Howard Payne University hosted alumna and Grammy-award winning artist Dr. Cynthia Clawson in concert last Sunday afternoon. Dr. Clawson, accompanied by Steinway artist Marvin Gaspard, performed several songs at Brownwood’s First United Methodist Church in support of HPU’s campaign to become an All-Steinway School.

In addition to her Grammy Award in 1981 for Gospel Album of the Year, Dr. Clawson has been honored with five Dove awards and numerous Dove nominations. Her rendition of “Softly and Tenderly” was featured in the 1985 Oscar-winning motion picture “The Trip to Bountiful.” She is also a member of the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Photo 2 -Clawson and Gaspard onstage for webDr. Clawson received a vocal performance scholarship to attend HPU and was a member of the A Capella Choir and the Oratorio Chorus. She was also an original member of the HPU Heritage Singers. Her career has spanned more than four decades with 22 recordings to her credit. She was named “The most awesome voice in gospel music” by Billboard magazine.

“Not only does the university pride itself in recruiting the very best among music faculty and students, but we also bring in amazing performers throughout the year,” said Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady. “It is always a treat to hear Dr. Clawson perform and she is a true testament to the quality of musicians produced by the university. It is vital that the musical instruments HPU offers its students, faculty and guests are of the same caliber as the performers who will use them.”

The concert was the latest event hosted by the university in celebration of the Steinway campaign. Ron Losby, president of Steinway & Sons – Americas in New York City, visited the campus in early May to preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For more information about HPU’s All-Steinway School campaign, please contact Randy Yeakley, Photo 3- Group at sign for webvice president for development, at (325) 649-8804 or


Photo cutlines:

Photo 1: Dr. Cynthia Clawson performs in support of HPU’s campaign to become an All-Steinway School.

Photo 2: Dr. Cynthia Clawson, accompanied by Steinway artist Marvin Gaspard, performs at Brownwood’s First United Methodist Church.

Photo 3: HPU is in the process of becoming a prestigious All-Steinway School. Left to right: Dr. Cynthia Clawson, alumna and Grammy-award winning artist; Mrs. Carol Jordan, All-Steinway School campaign committee member, Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; and Mr. Marvin Gaspard, Steinway artist.

Kelsan Wolverton of Lampasas receives HPU Yellow Rose Scholarship

2014 Yellow Rose Scholarship for webBROWNWOOD – May 22, 2014 – Howard Payne University sophomore Kelsan Wolverton of Lampasas was named the recipient of the Yellow Rose Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. The award was presented at the tenth annual HPU Woman’s Club Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon held on campus last month.

Wolverton is a cross-cultural studies and Bible major and minors in theatre. She is involved in a wide range of campus activities and is a member of the Student Planning Committee, the Student Activities Council and the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team. She has also been selected as an officer of the Ministerial Alliance and president of the HPU chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honor society. She is a student worker in HPU’s special events department.

Wolverton is the daughter of Kelly ’96 and Susan Wolverton. Her sister, Sharon, is a freshman at HPU.

The HPU Yellow Rose Scholarship is presented annually to a female HPU student who will begin her junior year in the upcoming fall semester and who has maintained a 3.0 GPA since beginning her freshman year at HPU. The recipient participates in campus extracurricular activities and exhibits leadership qualities representative of the Christian values and beliefs foundational to the university.


Photo cutline: Kelsan Wolverton, second from left, received the HPU Yellow Rose Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. She is pictured with (from left) Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Sharon Wolverton, her sister and HPU freshman; and Susan Wolverton, her mother.

HPU band fraternity and sorority honored at Southwest District Convention

Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma for webBROWNWOOD – May 20, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, national honorary band fraternity and sorority, brought home three awards from the annual Southwest District Convention at Baylor University.

HPU’s chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi was presented the Outstanding Service to Music Education Award, which recognizes extraordinary service furthering music education at the university or in the community. The university’s chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was presented the Patsy Drury Hejl Outstanding Chapter Award for chapters consisting of 17 or more members, the highest award a chapter can receive in the Southwest District.

Additionally, Allen Andrus, a May graduate from Anson, was awarded the J. Lee Burke Student Achievement Award, established in 1991 to recognize student leaders who have made outstanding contributions to college bands and the fraternity. Andrus served as Kappa Kappa Psi chapter president and the district’s vice president.

Allen Andrus Kappa Kappa Psi Award for web“The J. Lee Burke Student Achievement award is one of the highest Kappa Kappa Psi awards an individual can receive in the nation,” said Stephen Sullivan, director of alumni relations and sponsor of the HPU chapter. “Typically this award is selected by the district council, but this year the national council of Kappa Kappa Psi nominated Allen for this award. This speaks volumes to his dedication and the Christian servant leadership that Allen exhibited during his time at HPU.”

The Southwest District consists of colleges and universities of all sizes from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas.


Photo cutlines: Howard Payne University’s chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, national honorary band fraternity and sorority, were honored at the annual Southwest District Convention at Baylor University.

Four graduate with MBA from HPU’s New Braunfels Center

NB graduates Spring 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – May 20, 2014 – Four area businesspeople recently graduated with Master of Business Administration degrees from Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center. Kimberly Ashley-Stevens, Steve Ellery, Brittney Overstreet and Frank Wall received their diplomas during the university’s Commencement ceremony on May 10 in Brownwood.

HPU began offering the MBA degree in New Braunfels in the spring 2013 semester and undergraduate degrees the following fall.

Kimberly Ashley-Stevens works for an international secondary customer service provider.

“The Howard Payne MBA program reinforced a value that had shaken me to my core when I was working in the public sector,” she said. “There are Christians who are captains of industry and they do not have to compromise their values to be successful and to carry on Christ’s ministry. My excitement in regards to business has been rekindled and my focus is once again on the right prize.”

Designed to work around busy schedules, HPU’s MBA degree can be achieved in as few as 12 months, with all courses offered at night and on weekends.

Steve Ellery is the group product manager at Hexcel Corporation in Seguin, a manufacturer of aerospace carbon fiber composite materials. He is responsible for marketing, technical service and customer service.

“I really enjoyed my experience at HPU in New Braunfels,” he said. “The instructors and class formats were excellent and the class schedules did not interfere with my work schedule. Enrolling in the MBA program at HPU was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This is a great program for professionals who already have a career and want to broaden their skills.”

Brittney Overstreet serves as the production-creative coordinator for small business and leadership programs at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

“I am so glad HPU came to New Braunfels,” she said. “It was convenient to take classes without having to commute.”

Though the program has a business core, it also includes courses such as organizational communication and psychological applications, designed to add a deeper understanding of practical skills to business and management applications. Prerequisite self-study course work is available for non-business undergraduates entering the program.

Frank Wall is director of information technology at Simpson Performance Products, Inc., a manufacturer of driver safety equipment for the auto racing industry.

“HPU’s MBA program provided me with rich experiences and information from highly qualified instructors, strong course materials and a diverse array of business and life perspectives from fellow students,” he said. “Overall, it was a challenging and enriching experience that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to take his or her career and capabilities to the next level.”

The HPU New Braunfels Center office is located at 1423 N. Walnut Ave., Suite 105. Until HPU’s permanent New Braunfels campus is constructed as part of the Veramendi development project, courses are being offered at New Braunfels High School, at the Aflac Suite (1259 Loop 337 North, Suite #200) and online. For more information, visit or call (830) 629-2366.


Photo cutline: Four area businesspeople recently graduated with MBA degrees from Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center. Left to right: Steve Ellery, Frank Wall, Brittney Overstreet and Kimberly Ashley-Stevens.