News Archives

HPU hosts Living WELL Aware™ event

Living WELL Aware EventBROWNWOOD – March 10, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently hosted guest speaker Patricia J. Sulak, MD, founder of the Living WELL Aware™ wellness educational program, who led members of the HPU community in a high-energy discussion on holistic wellness.

Dr. Sulak is a researcher, professor, practicing physician, nationally acclaimed speaker and author of “Should I Fire My Doctor? Eleven Essential Elements to Living WELL Aware.” She began her discussion on the HPU campus by leading the audience in a series of light exercises and described her program, which endorses a comprehensive view of health and wellness.

“I’m so happy that Dr. Sulak was able to present her wellness program to the HPU community,” said Amy Kresta, instructor of biology at HPU. “Most people are aware of the benefits of eating well and exercising, but her program was a great opportunity to remind us that there are many other aspects of wellness such as emotional, spiritual, social and even financial wellness. We were very fortunate to have her visit our campus.”

For more information about Dr. Sulak’s program, visit


Cutline: Dr. Patricia J. Sulak, founder of the Living WELL Aware™ wellness educational program, recently led a discussion on the HPU campus. She began her presentation by leading the audience in a series of light exercises.

HPU alumnus named men’s athletic chaplain at Texas Tech University

Corbin YoungBROWNWOOD – March 9, 2017 – Howard Payne University alumnus Corbin Young was recently appointed by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes the new men’s athletic chaplain at Texas Tech University. In this position, Young serves the seven men’s sports teams at Texas Tech by encouraging and equipping the coaches and athletes through Christ.

“I’m excited and humbled beyond words by this opportunity to represent Christ, through the ministry of FCA, at one of the largest state schools in Texas,” Young said. “Serving in this capacity, as a college sports chaplain, has been a ministry dream job for me since I first surrendered to God’s calling on my life at 18 years old.”

Young said college students, particularly male student-athletes, are among the church’s most unreached people groups in the nation.

“Consequently, I see this as one of the most strategic and vital ministry opportunities for advancing the Gospel in our sports-obsessed culture,” he said. “As I seek to earn the trust of these Red Raiders, my role will be all about building relationships and making disciples by encouraging and equipping them in their faith, character and leadership through the loving ministry of presence.”

Young, a former HPU student-athlete, earned his bachelor’s degree in practical theology in 2010 and a master’s degree in theology and ministry in 2014. He was a four-year letterman in football (2006-2009), team captain (2009), American Southwest Conference all-conference slot receiver (2009), three-time academic all-conference selection (2007-2009) and a collegiate national championship qualifier in Olympic weightlifting (2007).

“Corbin was a model student-athlete while he attended HPU,” said Hunter Sims, the university’s athletic director. “We are extremely proud of his service to the Kingdom and to have him as an alumnus.”

Young began working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2010 as the Big Country area representative based in Brownwood. In 2013, he became the founding area director for the organization in Midland where, under his leadership, the FCA staff and ministry rapidly grew around the Permian Basin.

He is a licensed and ordained Baptist minister and has served on staff at churches in Brownwood and Paradise as well as in Saskatchewan, Canada. Most recently, he served as the lead pastor at First Baptist Church of Tarzan, Texas.

Young is married to Kandace (Schuelke) Young, also an HPU graduate and former student-athlete. They have a 4-year-old son, Kensler, and a second child due in August 2017.


Cutline: HPU alumnus Corbin Young was recently named the men’s athletic chaplain at Texas Tech University through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

HPU’s Sport and Wellness Leadership accepting applications for fall 2017

HPU SWELL at FCABROWNWOOD – March 9, 2017 – Howard Payne University is seeking applicants for the second cohort of graduate students in the university’s Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership (SWELL) degree program. The group will begin classes in August, and the first cohort of 18 students will finish degree requirements this spring.

The SWELL program at HPU seeks to prepare future leaders for the $4-trillion sport and wellness industries. The program consists of 10 classes over 20 months, most of which are held on Monday evenings. Courses include instruction in event planning, public relations, legal foundations, leadership and more.

“We are seeking another fine group of future leaders who are committed to enhancing the quality of life for those impacted by the sport and wellness industries,” said Dr. Graham Hatcher, SWELL program director. “Several of our program participants are in new careers that have become available by participation in this program.”

A distinctive feature of the program is the two-week travel course in June 2018, which will enable students to engage sport and wellness industry leaders throughout the United States.

“Last summer, we visited more than 20 venues including the National Collegiate Athletic Association offices in Indianapolis, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Support Center in Kansas City, the Center for Disease Control offices in Colorado Springs and the National Wellness Institute’s annual meeting in Minneapolis,” said Dr. Hatcher.

The coursework, travel and HPU’s Christ-centered academic community make the affordable SWELL program a unique offering among master’s programs in the United States.

For more information about the program, e-mail or call 325-649-8966. Applications for admissions and consideration for graduate assistantships in intramurals, outdoor recreation and department administration/instruction are available online at


Cutline: Students in HPU’s Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership degree program are pictured at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Support Center in Kansas City.

HPU librarian Alexia Riggs named to prestigious TALL Texans Leadership Institute

Riggs and Library Staff for web updatedBROWNWOOD – March 9, 2017 – Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries and associate professor of library science at Howard Payne University, was recently selected for the highly competitive Texas Accelerated Library Leaders Institute. More popularly known as the TALL Texans Leadership Institute, the program has recognized the best of the rising Texas library leaders for more than 20 years.

The program takes place at the Montserrat Retreat Center in Lake Dallas and includes instruction by Jack Siggins, recently retired library director at George Washington University, and Harvard University’s Maureen Sullivan, past president of the American Library Association. Additional veteran leaders from Texas libraries serve as mentors.

Ted Wanner, continuing education specialist for the Texas Library Association, wrote to Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU provost and chief academic officer, to inform him of Riggs’ achievement.

“Librarians return to their institutions with deeper understanding of management, communication, and strategic planning,” Wanner wrote. “Graduates of the program have become directors of major library systems, administrators within school districts and universities, Executive Board members for the Texas Library Association, and leaders in critical initiatives within their own communities.”

Dr. Tew and other HPU administrators notified Riggs of her accomplishment Thursday morning at HPU’s Walker Memorial Library.

“I was honored to recommend Dean Riggs for this prestigious position,” said Dr. Tew. “In the recommendation, I was able to share several of the initiatives she has already accomplished at HPU’s library.”

Since joining HPU’s faculty in 2014, Riggs has bolstered the library’s efforts in supporting the teaching and learning goals of HPU’s faculty and students.

Riggs received a Bachelor of Science degree from HPU in 2002, a Master of Divinity degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 2007 and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas in 2009. She has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in Commerce. Her past experience includes serving as reference librarian at Del Mar College, 2012-2014; technical services librarian at Paris Junior College, 2009-2012; government document librarian intern at Texas Christian University, 2009; and as a music library assistant at Hardin-Simmons University, 2004-2005.


Cutline: Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries and associate professor of library science at HPU, was recently selected for the highly competitive Texas Accelerated Library Leaders Institute. She is pictured with members of the library staff. Left to right: Sarah Griffin, Amy Ripple, Juanita Sypert, Alexia Riggs, Doris Goacher, Mary Dunham, Wade Kinnin and Mary Griffin.

HPU Alumni Association’s El Paso Chapter announces officers, holds inaugural meeting

HPU EP Alumni AssociationBROWNWOOD – March 8, 2017 – The El Paso Chapter of the Howard Payne University Alumni Association held its inaugural chapter meeting recently with four alumni from the center serving as officers.

The chapter’s president is Blanca Gamez, who earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree in business management in 2009 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 2016. Additional officers include Iban Torres, vice president, who earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree in business administration and Christian studies in 2012; Priscilla Macias, secretary, who earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree in criminal justice in 2006; and Roxanne Jurado, treasurer, who earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree in business management in 2009. Torres, Macias and Jurado are each slated to receive a Master of Business Administration degree from the university in 2017.

“The El Paso Chapter of the HPU Alumni Association promises to be a very active and proud chapter of HPU alumni, family and friends,” said Dr. Adrian Gil, director of the El Paso Center and associate professor of business. “The chapter members shared with me that they are happy to serve God and honor their peers using the principles of servant leadership representative of Howard Payne University. They look forward to working with fellow HPU alumni and friends to build upon the godly foundation instilled in them.”

To learn more about HPU’s El Paso Center or to get involved with the El Paso Chapter of HPU’s Alumni Association, call 915-533-8500 or e-mail


Cutline: Members of the HPU Alumni Association’s newly created El Paso Chapter are (back row) Blanca Gamez and Priscilla Macias and (front row) Roxanne Jurado and Iban Torres.

HPU Jazz Ensemble to present spring concert this Thursday

jazz ensemble for webBROWNWOOD – March 7, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Jazz Ensemble will present its spring concert Thursday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. The concert is open to the public and free of charge.

A featured selection will be Artie Shaw’s arrangement of “Indian Love Song” with sophomore Katelyn Zimmer and senior Alex Atkinson. Zimmer, on clarinet, is a music education major from Shepherd, and Atkinson, vocalist, is a music education major from Haslet. Other selections include “Jitterbug Waltz” by Fats Waller, “Ah-That’s Freedom” by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band, “J&B” by Oliver Nelson and “Tickletoe” by Lester Young.

The HPU Jazz Ensemble has illustrious accomplishments including Outstanding Collegiate Band awards for seven years at the Temple Jazz Festival and performances at the North Texas Jazz Festival.

“We are pleased to present our students to the community in a celebration of the great American music, jazz,” said Stephen Goacher, professor of music and director of the ensemble.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.


Cutline: HPU’s Jazz Ensemble will present a spring concert on Thursday, March 9. Pictured are two of the concert’s soloists, junior Alex Atkinson (left) and sophomore Katelyn Zimmer (center), and the ensemble’s director, Stephen Goacher, professor of music (far right).

HPU Student Speaker Bureau wins TIFA debate championship

SSB TIFA Spring 2017BROWNWOOD – March 3, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently won the debate championship at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association spring championship tournament, held at Blinn College in Bryan. Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake, and Isaac Sommers, senior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Boerne, were the top parliamentary debate team at the tournament.

The HPU SSB team won second place overall in debate sweepstakes and second place overall sweepstakes, competing against 24 schools from Texas and Louisiana.

Clark was also named third place top speaker; Christopher Freeland, sophomore biochemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Bangs, was fourth place top speaker; and Sommers was seventh place top speaker.

The debate team of Freeland and Tyler Olin, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, were also quarterfinalists in parliamentary debate.

“These debaters have been working extremely hard in preparation for this tournament,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of HPU’s Department of Communication and SSB coach. “TIFA is especially difficult, as we are the only private university competing in debate against much larger state schools. I’m always impressed with our outstanding students when they win so many awards against some of the best teams in the state.”

HPU beat teams from the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas State University and others to clench the championship.

The team also began competing in International Public Debate Association style debate last year. IPDA is a one-on-one debate style that provides an opportunity for individuals to develop advocacy skills in a forum that promotes appropriate and effective communication.

Both Clark and Sommers advance to IPDA quarterfinals, and Clark was named sixth place IPDA speaker.

Also competing at the tournament in debate were Morgan Ashmore, senior communication major from Weatherford; Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington; Gabrielle McWhirter, senior theatre major from Crosbyton; Madison Neal, freshman communication major from Chandler; Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth; and Haylee Williams, sophomore communication major from Bellville. Competing in individual speaking events were Grisham, McWhirter and Neal, as well as Brooklyn Britton, freshman theatre major from Brownwood; Erin Haley, sophomore communication major from Mason; and Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd.

Sidni Kirby, instructor of communication, is the assistant coach of the team.


Cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently won the debate championship at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association spring championship tournament. Left to right: Sidni Kirby, Braxton Clark, Reagan Grisham, Isabelle Stahrfisher, Gabrielle McWhirter, Morgan Ashmore, Isaac Sommers, Madison Neal, Christopher Freeland, Haylee Williams, Tyler Olin, Brooklyn Britton, Erin Haley, Aimee Orozco and Dr. Julie Welker.

HPU hosting juried student art exhibition through March 20

student juried art exhibitionBROWNWOOD – March 3, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Art is hosting “Best of 2016-2017: A Juried Student Exhibition” through March 20 in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center. The exhibition features more than 50 works of art by 18 students.

Curating the exhibition were HPU art faculty members Julie Mize, adjunct instructor of photography; Susan Harmon, adjunct instructor of art; and David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art. Featured artworks include mixed media, felt weavings, collages, ink on paper, screen prints, charcoals, ceramics and more.

Students who won awards for their art are Travis Adams, junior from Brownwood; Christy Ash, senior from Brownwood; Colby Compton, senior from Early; Lydia Conrad, junior from Brownwood; Kaeli Goodgion, junior from Comanche; Ally Henry, freshman from Canyon Lake; Cecily McIlwain, sophomore from Dayton; Drew McNeill, senior from Brownwood; and Corey Ross, freshman from Navasota.

Additional student artists featured in the show are Ryan Adams, junior from Brownwood; Keith Baker, freshman from Houston; Joy Hall, freshman from Fort Stockton; Caelob Hardman, sophomore from San Saba; Sheena Nalley, freshman from Rochelle; Amy Pitman, communications assistant/web editor and student from Zephyr; Tiffani San Miguel, senior from Burleson; Doris Walton, senior from Weesatche; and Trey Weidner, freshman from Cedar Park.

David Hill, assistant professor of art at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, served as juror for the exhibition. He called jurying an art exhibition a rewarding yet challenging task.

“How does one select any individual artwork over another, especially given the often subjective qualities and intensely personal act of making art?” he asked. “It can take courage for an artist to submit work to be judged in a competition, so I want to acknowledge that fact and congratulate all the students who have work included in the exhibit.”

In examining each artwork, Hill looked for evidence of technical skill and craftsmanship with the chosen media as well as an understanding of composition and the formal elements and principles of making art.

“Having narrowed down my selection, I then looked for artwork that resonated with me, whether it be with content, creativity or an exceptional use of materials,” he said. “I want to congratulate all the winners and encourage all of the students to continue to pursue their art.”

The gallery is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be closed for the university’s Spring Break, March 13-17. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood. All inquiries may be directed to Harmon at 325-649-8088 or


Cutline: HPU’s Department of Art is hosting “Best of 2016-2017: A Juried Student Exhibition” through March 20.

HPU faculty and staff raise heart health awareness on campus

Go Red for Women 2017BROWNWOOD – March 2, 2017 – Several Howard Payne University faculty and staff members wore special t-shirts each Friday in February in support of the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign for heart health awareness.

Pictured left to right are Gretchen Campbell, executive assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students; Diane Hackney, custodial supervisor; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology; Kyra Owen, administrative assistant for business and human resources; Tammy Dake, custodian; Jarvis Green, graphic designer/web editor; Dora Hernandez, facilities department coordinator; Brenda Zaccardo, custodian; Tammy Lowrey, executive assistant to the president; and Amy Pitman, communications assistant/web editor.

HPU receives Tree Campus USA recognition

hpu trees and bannerBROWNWOOD – March 1, 2017 – Howard Payne University was recently honored with 2016 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation. Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for their commitment to campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

There are approximately 300 Tree Campus USA campuses across the United States. HPU is one of two universities in this region of Texas to hold this designation.

HPU achieved recognition by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, creating a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program, hosting an Arbor Day observance and facilitating a student service-learning project.

“Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.

PrintHPU celebrated Texas Arbor Day in November 2016 with a tree-planting ceremony and educational program on planting and pruning trees. Terry Pritchett, HPU’s assistant vice president for facilities and planning, serves as chair of the university’s Campus Tree Advisory Committee.

“HPU is noted for its tree-lined campus,” he said. “We’re proud to be honored with Tree Campus USA recognition and thankful for the beautiful campus God has given us to manage.”

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at