News Archives

HPU upgrades lecture hall with help from Midland charitable foundation

Students in updated Winebrenner classroomBROWNWOOD – October 4, 2018 – Students in Howard Payne University’s School of Science and Mathematics began the fall semester in a newly updated classroom thanks to the generosity of the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation of Midland.

Last semester, HPU received a grant of $207,000 from the foundation. The funds, designated for HPU’s Biomedical Science Program, included $150,000 to be used for an endowed scholarship in Mr. Davidson’s name and $57,000 to be used for new furnishings and fixtures in Lecture Hall 123 of HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. One of the largest classrooms in Winebrenner, Lecture Hall 123 is used by the Biomedical Science Program and other academic programs.

The room’s stadium-style seating was replaced with large tabletop work spaces which allow for greater levels of collaboration. Additionally, the HPU facilities department replaced the existing tile flooring with carpet to reduce noise and create a warmer classroom setting. A new mobile podium/desk was added which provides faculty members and presenters with more flexibility and complements the updated furnishings.

“The updated lecture hall is beautiful,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology and director of the Biomedical Science Program. “I was excited for my students to come back from summer break and see the upgrades. They were excited as well. We’re very grateful to the James A. ‘Buddy’ Davidson Charitable Foundation.”

The university has received significant support from the foundation in the past including funds for the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Chair of Christian Studies and for computers, furnishings and lab supplies for the university’s School of Nursing.

HPU is now enrolling for the spring 2019 semester. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Students in HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics began the semester in a newly updated classroom thanks to the generosity of the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation of Midland. Pictured here is Dr. Kristen Hutchins’ Health Professions Seminar course.

HPU Alumni Association to host Homecoming 5K race

HPU 5K CourseBROWNWOOD – September 20, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Alumni Association will host a 5K race on Saturday, November 3, in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming activities. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund and student and alumni programming.

Most of the 3.1-mile course runs along Brownwood’s Camp Bowie Walking Trail and begins at Festival Park located at 3206 Milam Drive. Participants are invited to walk or run during the event.

Entry fees are $30 if paid through 6 p.m. on November 2 or $35 on race day (cash or check only at the event). HPU students pay a discounted price of $15 in advance or $20 on race day. To register in advance, visit The race begins at 7:45 a.m. on November 3.

Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female as well as to top participants in various age groups.

“We look forward to welcoming members of the community along with HPU students, alumni and personnel,” said Matthew Haynie ’09, president of the Alumni Association. “Whether you prefer to walk or run, all are invited and sure to have a good time.”

HPU Homecoming 2018 – The Carnival of Blue and Gold – will be held November 2-3. A variety of events, including the 5K, are open to the community. For more information, visit


Attached: Map showing the route of HPU’s Homecoming 5K race

HPU fall 2018 semester begins with times of worship, reflection

Dr Armes Convocation for webBROWNWOOD – September 20, 2018 – The tone for Howard Payne University’s fall 2018 semester, now underway, was set early in the semester by Opening Session for university personnel and University Convocation, HPU’s first Chapel program of the 2018-2019 academic year.

During the Opening Session, Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer, presented a devotional message that also served as an inspiring challenge for the new year. Dr. Paul W. Armes, interim president, offered a welcome and shared his thoughts on HPU and the importance of faith-based education. Other university administrators provided campus updates and news.

Dr. Celeste Church, professor of music, accreditation liaison and dean of institutional research and effectiveness, introduced the James 5:16 Initiative, which encourages personnel to pray for one another. James 5:16 (NIV) states “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Pastor Ray Still, president of HPU’s Board of Trustees and pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels, delivered the morning’s keynote address. He spoke on the importance of higher education with a biblical worldview.

“We ought to desire for students to come out of here loving God and loving people and wanting to be used by God,” he said. “I’m glad that you’re a part of that.”

He discussed the power that occurs when Christians come together to work toward a shared goal.

“There is incredible power when all the people of God are pulling in the same direction,” he said. “There is an incredible power in momentum. There is an incredible power in the unity of hearts and minds all wanting to honor God and do what God has called them to do.”

To view Dr. Tew’s, Dr. Armes’ and Pastor Still’s presentations from the Opening Session, visit

HPU’s Chapel season began Wednesday, August 22, with the annual University Convocation program. Dr. Armes addressed the student body and HPU personnel, encouraging those in attendance to become the extraordinary people God has created them to be. HPU faculty members appeared in their academic regalia and the audience was led in prayers, hymns, scriptural readings and the Alma Mater.

New this semester, HPU offices will be closed weekly for Chapel (Wednesdays at 10 a.m.) so that personnel may join with students in worship. Campus visitors and community guests are welcomed and encouraged to attend. The schedule of Chapel programs for the semester is available at

HPU is now enrolling for the spring 2019 semester. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Dr. Paul W. Armes, HPU’s interim president, addresses the audience at HPU’s annual University Convocation ceremony.

HPU named 2019 “Best Value School” by U.S. News & World Report

HPU's Old Main TowerBROWNWOOD – September 14, 2018 – In a list released this week by U.S. News & World Report, Howard Payne University was named a 2019 “Best Value School” in the “Best Regional Colleges West” category. HPU was in sixth place among the ranked universities.

The rankings are based on three variables: ratio of quality to price (determined by the institution’s overall score in the Best Colleges rankings); percentage of all undergraduates receiving need-based scholarships or grants during the 2017-2018 academic year; and the percentage of an institution’s total costs for the 2017-2018 academic year covered by the average need-based scholarship or grant to undergraduates.

“HPU is proud to offer a quality education with a distinctively Christian worldview at a great value,” said Dr. Paul W. Armes, interim president. “We strive to make the cost of an HPU education even more affordable through a variety of scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.”

HPU was additionally ranked 14th in the “Best Regional Colleges West” category and 9th in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category for the region.

HPU is now enrolling for the spring 2019 semester. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU has been named a 2019 “Best Value School” by U.S. News & World Report. Pictured is HPU’s Old Main Tower.

HPU professor and alumnus team up for forensic science workshop

Horizons campersBROWNWOOD – September 14, 2018 – This summer, Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University, and Frank Ritter, 2017 HPU graduate and science teacher at Early Middle School, teamed up again to present a forensic science workshop. The former professor-student duo presented at the 4-H Horizons Camp held at the 4-H State Conference Center at Lake Brownwood.

“Representing big cities and small towns throughout Texas, more than 100 Horizons Camp kids from 10 to 14 years of age selected specific project areas of interest to them and spent six hours per day over five days working on fun and educational project-focused activities,” said David W. Smith, Horizons program director.

As part of the STEM-robotics track, Dr. Smith and Ritter guided 15 students in microscopic investigation of fingerprints and hair samples, whereby students classified fingerprints applied to glass slides and identified the structures present in human hair. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

“The opportunity to experience the enthusiasm of the Horizons Camp participants with regards to forensic investigations is a pleasure I shall not soon forget,” said Ritter. “I look forward to the possibility of future collaborations with both them and the HPU science department.”

Dr. Smith and other faculty members in HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics hope that enrichment programs in the community will remember that HPU represents an immediate resource for the academic development of students of all ages.

“We are eager to serve,” he said.


Cutline: Students participating in the 4-H Horizons Camp led by an HPU faculty member and an alumnus study images under a microscope.

HPU announces new faculty, promotions and transitions

Fall 18 New Faculty and PromotionsBROWNWOOD – September 13, 2018 – Howard Payne University recently began its fall 2018 semester with several changes to its faculty in regard to new hires, promotions and transitions.

Rachel Derrington was employed as assistant professor of social work and director of the social work program while Frank Nelson was employed as the director of bands and assistant professor of music. Dr. Eric Covington, formerly HPU’s resident director for Taylor Hall and the campus apartments, became the assistant professor of Christian studies for the New Braunfels extension center. Deborah Dill, formerly HPU’s acquisitions coordinator and administrative assistant to the dean of libraries, was promoted to the role of director of libraries. Two additional faculty members received promotions: Lauren Kirk was promoted from instructor of education to assistant professor of education and Amy Kresta was promoted from instructor of biology to assistant professor of biology.

“We’re pleased to welcome Ms. Derrington and Mr. Nelson to HPU’s faculty, and we extend our congratulations to all of those who received promotions,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer.

Derrington holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver and a Master of Social Work degree in policy and program management from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She was most recently employed at the same university as an adjunct professor and curriculum developer.

Nelson holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from HPU and a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He has additional graduate study toward a Doctor of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He most recently served as interim assistant band director at El Dorado High School and as associate director of bands at Belton High School.

Dr. Covington, who joined the HPU staff in January 2017, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree from Dallas Baptist University. He additionally earned a Master of Arts degree from Wheaton College, and a Master of Letters degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of St. Andrews.

Dill was originally employed by the university in 1992 and re-employed in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU and the Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas.

Kirk joined the HPU faculty in 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree, both from Baylor University, and additional graduate study toward the Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Liberty University.

Kresta was employed by HPU in 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Lutheran College and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University. She has additional graduate study toward the Doctor of Philosophy degree in wildlife science from Texas A&M University – Kingsville.


Cutline: HPU recently announced new faculty members as well as faculty transitions and promotions. Left to right: Deborah Dill, Amy Kresta, Lauren Kirk and Rachel Derrington. Not pictured are Dr. Eric Covington and Frank Nelson.

HPU to host Encounter Week fall revival September 17-19

1. Saleim Kahleh photoBROWNWOOD – September 13, 2018 – Howard Payne University will host Encounter Week fall revival services next Monday, September 17, through Wednesday, September 19. This year’s guest speaker is Saleim Kahleh and worship will be led by the Clayton Tyner Band.

Kahleh was raised as a Muslim in a loving Islamic home. After his first year of college, he went on a quest to find the truth about God and religion. The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Kahleh, and now he testifies around the world about the goodness of God. He graduated in 1984 from Houston Baptist University and is now employed there in the role of associate university minister. He is founder of Saleim Kahleh Ministries.

The Clayton Tyner Band is from San Antonio. Tyner graduated from HPU in 2012 and went on to lead worship at San Antonio City Church where he met the rest of the band. Last year, they became involved with a City Church campus getting ready to become a church plant. They believe music is just a small part of what it means to worship Jesus and hope their passion invites others to experience Him as well.

2. Clayton Tyner Band photoEncounter Week services will be held in HPU’s Mims Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. All Encounter Week services are open to the public.

“Mr. Kahleh has been a part of HPU’s revival services in the past and it’s always a blessing to have him back on campus as well as HPU alumnus Clayton Tyner, who is amazing in worship,” said Keith Platte, Chapel coordinator and director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. “The community is invited to join us for this time of worship and prayer.”


Cutlines: 1. Saleim Kahleh, founder of Saleim Kahleh Ministries, is the scheduled speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week services.
2. The Clayton Tyner Band will lead worship at HPU’s Encounter Week services.

HPU Pre-College music students earn top honors at state competition

BROWNWOOD – August 20, 2018 – Fourteen students from Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art Program recently participated in the Texas Federated Music Clubs State Competition at Texas State University in San Marcos. Many of the students who competed took home high honors.

The outstanding rating in the vocal solo/musical theatre category was awarded to Angie Calfa, Emmagrace Quillin, Sarah Reeves and Jordan Roberts. The outstanding rating in the vocal solo/ art song category was awarded to Angie Calfa and Sydney Neel. The outstanding rating in the piano solo category went to Andrew Boren, Angie Calfa, Vic Cooper, Leila Gautier, Christopher Ivy, Sarah Reeves, Jordan Roberts and Cate Smith. Students who received the superior rating in the same category were James Bautista, Kyle Ivy, Michael Morales and Evan Smith.

“We are very proud of these students and their accomplishments,” said Diane Owens, director of the program and adjunct instructor in HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “A big ‘shout-out’ also goes to the teachers and parents who encourage and support these young musicians.”

The Pre-College Music and Art Program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. Enrollment for the fall semester will begin soon. Classes begin in September and continue through mid-December.

For more information, contact Diane Owens at 325-649-8501 or, or contact Jill Holamon at 325-649-8500 or


HPU personnel complete doctoral degrees

Dr. Jodi GoodeBROWNWOOD – August 15, 2018 – Two members of Howard Payne University’s staff and faculty earned doctor of philosophy degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Dr. Jodi Goode, assistant vice president for informational technology services and chief information officer, completed her degree in information systems – security from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also holds a Master of Science degree in information systems from Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

“Dr. Goode’s research into cybersecurity has directly enhanced HPU’s operation, and her resulting expertise and winsome spirit have made her an internationally sought-after conference leader on the subject,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “She accomplished her doctoral research while successfully leading the university’s software conversion and also serving in a faculty role.”

Dr. Jennifer McNieceDr. Jennifer McNiece, assistant professor of government, director of international studies and academic travel, and acting Brand Chair, completed her degree in business administration from Northcentral University in San Diego, California. She also holds the Master of Arts degree in economics and the Master of Public Administration degree, both from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She is a graduate of HPU through the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy program.

“Dr. McNiece has provided exceptional leadership to the university and completed her doctoral work, all while advancing the university’s international studies program,” said Dr. Tew. “We’re thankful for the work she does with students in and out of the classroom and for her commitment to professional and personal development.”

Dr. Tew stated he was proud not only of the academic accomplishments of Dr. Goode and Dr. McNiece, but also of their outstanding service to the university on a daily basis.

“The earning of these degrees represents the culmination of years of hard work,” he said.


Cutlines: HPU personnel Dr. Jodi Goode (left) and Dr. Jennifer McNiece (right) completed their doctoral degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

HPU’s campus undergoes summer improvements and maintenance

HPU groundsBROWNWOOD – August 14, 2018 – The upkeep of Howard Payne University’s campus is a year-round job. The university’s grounds and facilities personnel take pride in keeping the campus looking beautiful and operating efficiently. However, the summer months provide opportunities for larger projects to be completed so the campus will be ready for the fall semester.

This summer’s projects include the remodel of Room 123 in the Winebrenner Hall of Science, installation of new air conditioning and heating equipment in the Jennings Hall men’s residence facility, removal of flooring and installation of new carpet in the Veda Hodge Hall women’s residence facility and work on the Central Plant chiller.

“The Office of University Facilities and Planning spends a vast portion of the summer repairing student housing in preparation for the fall semester,” said Terry Pritchett, assistant vice president for facilities and planning. “All these improvements will aid in either the living or teaching of students by providing basic necessities such as air conditioning, improved teaching space and improved living spaces.”

Beyond the appearance of campus, care for the environment on campus is very important to the university personnel. Michael Rodgers, chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, said that the campus grounds are a vital feature of the university.

“When parents or new students walk on our campus, we want them to understand that we care about our campus and how it looks,” he said. “As a Christian, I feel very strongly that we need to take care of what God has entrusted to us for His glory and honor. That was part of the mandate in the Garden of Eden, to take care of God’s creation the best way that we can.”

In an effort to fulfill this mandate, HPU uses organic products on the campus grounds. Pritchett and Bret Martin, grounds supervisor, said that the use of organic products had been a goal of theirs for the university because of the many benefits.

“The positives of going organic are that the soil gets much healthier and beneficial microbes increase quite a bit,” said Pritchett. “Our team applies fertilizer only in amounts needed by the soil, which allows us to save time and money. In addition, proper application rates prevent the fertilizer from being washed into the streams during heavy rain events.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Howard Payne University’s facilities and grounds are undergoing improvements in preparation for the fall semester.