News Archives

HPU’s Resurrection Week to begin April 14

Dave EdwardsBROWNWOOD – April 9, 2014 – Howard Payne University will host Resurrection Week, the university’s annual spring revival, April 14-16. The featured speaker for the week is Dave Edwards of Dave Edwards Ministries in Oklahoma City. Worship will be led by recording artist Jami Smith.

Edwards, who describes himself as an “itinerant postmodern pastor,” has shared his unique brand of ministry with young people for more than a decade. He speaks more than 500 times each year and has authored 14 books. More information can be found at

Smith, one of the premier worship leaders in the country, travels around the world using music as a tool to help believers connect with the Lord. According to her website,, “Salt and Light” from her 2002 release Wash Over Me hovered at the top of the charts, while her 2008 release Faith In You was named one of the top worship albums of 2008 by Christianity Today.

Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the university’s Mims Auditorium. All services are open to the public.

Jami Smith“We are very excited about our upcoming services related to the greatest event in human history, man’s redemption through the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ,” said Corey Ash, chapel coordinator and director of bands. “I know that Dave and Jami will challenge us to be more like the Savior we serve. I’m really looking forward to what God is going to do in our lives on campus, throughout our community and beyond!”


Photo cutline: Dave Edwards and Jami Smith will headline Resurrection Week at Howard Payne University next week.

HPU admission counselor guides Lampasas-area students through the transition to college

Natalie Stary for webBROWNWOOD – April 9, 2014 – Howard Payne University admission counselor Natalie Stary’s goal is to help as many young people as possible take part in the same college experiences she enjoyed as a student. Stary graduated from HPU in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian studies and now works for her alma mater, recruiting students from Lampasas and the surrounding Central Texas areas.

Stary develops close relationships with prospective students and their families and enjoys guiding them through the college selection and transition process.

“It is an honor to be allowed to walk with students through the senior year of high school and into the first year at HPU,” she said. “Because my office is not located on the main campus in Brownwood, I have the opportunity to meet many of my students at places such as coffee shops in their hometowns. I feel that I get to know my students and their families on a personal basis.”

Now in her fourth year as an admission counselor for HPU, Stary is seeing many of the students in her first recruiting class graduating and transitioning to a new stage in life.

“It is so exciting to see how they have made HPU their home and how they are about to venture out into the working world,” she said.

Stary hopes that opportunities such as the university’s Central Texas Scholarship will inspire even more students from Lampasas and the surrounding areas to consider HPU. The scholarship awards $52,000 over four years to eligible applicants from Lampasas County and other counties in the area. Students must have at least a 2.5 grade point average and score 910 or higher on the SAT (critical math and reading combined) or 19 or higher on the ACT to qualify for the scholarship.

“The Central Texas Scholarship was developed as a way for HPU to invest in students who live in counties that are close to the university,” Stary said. “I have seen how this scholarship has enabled students, who previously did not think it was possible, to receive a college education.”

More than anything, Stary said, she wants prospective students to know that HPU is “unlike any other university in the world.”

“The faculty and staff at HPU are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met,” she said. “I am always amazed at how quickly students feel loved and feel like HPU is their home. I think it is because of how HPU’s faculty and staff invest in the lives of students who come here. My time at HPU is something I will treasure the rest of my life, and I am so proud to tell people about my alma mater.”

Stary and the other staff members in HPU’s Office of Admission enjoy the opportunity to speak with students interested in attending HPU. Contact them at (325) 649-8020 or via e-mail at For more information about Howard Payne University, visit


Photo cutline: HPU admission counselor Natalie Stary helps Lampasas area students transition from high school to the university.

HPU faculty member loses battle with cancer

Dr. Mark PattonBROWNWOOD – April 7, 2014 – With great sadness, Howard Payne University announces the passing of Dr. Mark Patton, professor of business administration. Dr. Patton succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer on April 6, 2014. He was 59.

Dr. Patton is survived by his wife Dr. Lois Patton, HPU professor of business administration and director of the Master of Business Administration program, and the couple’s sons, Ryan and James, and their families.

“Hearts are very heavy on campus today, and they will be for quite some time,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “Mark was an irreplaceable part of the HPU family, and we mourn with Lois and their children.”

Drs. Mark and Lois Patton joined the HPU faculty in 2009. Dr. Mark Patton taught undergraduate and graduate courses in marketing, entrepreneurship and general business.

Throughout his illness, Dr. Patton continued to pursue his passion of teaching. He missed classes as little as possible, despite the toll cancer and chemotherapy treatments took on his body.

“Dr. Patton was greatly admired by the HPU faculty, staff and students who considered him a friend and mentor,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU provost and chief academic officer. “We take comfort in knowing that he is now restored to health and rejoicing in the Lord’s presence, and we ask for continued prayers for his family and friends.”

A private family funeral will be held in Tennessee. In lieu of cards and flowers, the family has requested that gifts be made to HPU in Dr. Patton’s honor.

Dr Mark Patton and class for web


Photo cutline: Dr. Mark Patton (front row, third from left) poses for a photo last year with students in his Master of Business Administration class. At the end of the semester, the class honored him with a gift certificate for the Star of Texas Bed & Breakfast.

HPU Model United Nations team wins five awards at Rome conference

HPU Rome Model UN 2014 for webBy Kendyl Moore, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – April 4, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations team traveled to Rome during Spring Break to participate in a conference held March 13-17. HPU students won five delegate awards, more than any other university at the event. With more than 1,500 students in attendance, the Rome conference is one of the largest Model UN conferences in the world.

Model UN is a simulation in which students gather to emulate UN proceedings and topics of discussion. The opening ceremony was held at the actual meeting place of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. HPU students were assigned to represent the Russian Federation throughout the proceedings.

HPU awards included Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo, and Caleb McConnell, a senior from Burleson – Best Delegation in the General Assembly; Kerrie Ford, a senior from Houston – Best Delegate in the Security Council; Cody Perrin, a sophomore from Eastland – Best Delegate in the International Telecommunication Unit; Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo. – Best Delegate in the International Court of Justice; and Erik Swenson, a senior from Carrollton – Champion Debater on the Security Council. All of the HPU delegates received high praise from committee chairs and directors.

“I am extremely proud of the HPU team’s performance at the Rome Model UN Conference,” stated Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. “It was an honor in itself to be invited to participate and to play the role of the Russian Federation. Six of our twelve students received awards, which was the most achieved by any university. I also want to thank the members of the Academy Board of Directors for their generous support which made it possible for us to attend the conference.”

Additional student participants included Camryn D’Rubio, a junior from Wallis; Kendyl Moore, a senior from Farmington, N.M.; Jason Murphy, a junior from Brownwood; Nicole Nehf, a junior from May; Ivy Nichols, a sophomore from Richardson; and Jessica Ramirez, a senior from Bangs.

The students also had a day to explore Rome, visiting sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Catacombs and other locations around the city.

“Traveling to Rome for the HPU Model UN trip was an incredible experience,” said Cara DeLoach. “I was able to meet college students from all across Europe. Representing Russia at the conference enabled my partner and me to adopt a different perspective, especially in light of current events. After attending, I have gained more confidence in being an effective delegate and have personally benefited from the amazing cultural experience we were able to have in Italy.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team won five awards at the recent Rome conference. Pictured at the Roman Pantheon are, from left, Nicole Nehf, Cody Perrin, Camryn D’Rubio, Elizabeth Rogers, Ivy Nichols, Jessica Ramirez, Cara DeLoach, Kerrie Ford, Erik Swenson, Kendyl Moore, Jason Murphy and Caleb McConnell.

HPU student artwork on exhibition through May 2

student art work for webBROWNWOOD – April 1, 2014 – The artwork of several Howard Payne University students is on exhibition in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery of the university’s Doakie Day Art Center through May 2.

The show includes drawings, paintings, photographs, graphic designs and three-dimensional designs created by students in nine different HPU art classes.

According to David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art, the students are guided through individual instruction and spend large amounts of time outside of class working to finalize their pieces.

“For them, this is a labor of love as the creative spirit resides within them,” Harmon said.

Harmon is proud of the work produced by the students.

“It is a testament to the diversity of talent we have in our art department from the hands and minds of the art majors, minors and non-art students here at Howard Payne University,” Harmon said. “It is also a good pat on the back to our art professors who have committed their time and energies in instructing these students.”

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


Photo cutline: The artwork of several HPU students is on display at the university through April 29. Pictured is a drawing by Asiyel Smith, a sophomore from Fredericksburg.

HPU student named national debate champion

ssb riverside for webBROWNWOOD – March 25, 2014 – Jaclyn Bonner, a Howard Payne University freshman and student debater from Lytle, was named a national champion during the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament held at California Baptist University in Riverside. HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau, a speech and debate team, competed in the tournament over Spring Break. Bonner was awarded 1st place and a national champion title in Novice Informative Speaking.

Additionally, Andres Zambrano, a sophomore from Brownwood, was the first student to advance to a finals round in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate. He competed in the bronze round.

“This was our first tournament to compete in IPDA debate, one of the fastest-growing styles of debate in the U.S.,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the communication department and Student Speaker Bureau coach. “To have two first-year competitors receive awards is outstanding.”

Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro, was named a Recognized Debater in IPDA debate, while Adam Jones, a sophomore from Irving, received 3rd place in Novice Impromptu Speaking and was named 9th Top Novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) speaker. Meg Eakin, a freshman from Plano, was also in the top 20 novice NPDA speakers.

Other competitors included Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi; Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.; Ben Palmer, a senior from Brownwood; and Adrianna Perez, a junior from Rowlett. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also helps coach the team.

Almost 30 institutions affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities – and more than 300 competitors – were represented at the tournament.

“We had an outstanding year for HPU speech and debate,” Dr. Welker said. “The results at this national tournament just confirm what a great team we have. I’m so proud of each of our competitors.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently traveled to the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament at California Baptist University in Riverside. From left are: Kim Bryant, Andres Zambrano, Jared Russell, Katie Mullaney, Adrianna Perez, Jaclyn Bonner, Meg Eakin, Ben Palmer, Adam Jones, Marcos Corley and Dr. Julie Welker.

Stephen Sullivan named director of alumni relations at HPU

Stephen Sullivan for webBROWNWOOD – March 7, 2014 – Stephen Sullivan, a 2011 Howard Payne University graduate, has been named director of alumni relations at HPU. Sullivan previously served the university as admission counselor and Mobile Go Center coordinator.

As director of alumni relations, Sullivan will work closely with HPU’s close-knit alumni base and strive to grow the university’s Alumni Association, a network through which former students stay connected to faculty, staff and current students. The Alumni Association provides several scholarships to HPU students each year.

“I want to increase the number of scholarships offered so that more students may have the opportunity to succeed here,” Sullivan said.

The director of alumni relations also plans and executes events for alumni, most notably Homecoming. Most of all, Sullivan says he is excited to cultivate and maintain ongoing relationships with alumni and friends of the university.

Sullivan graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in May 2011 and served as director of marketing and technology at San Saba’s First Baptist Church before being hired in September 2012 by the Office of Admission at HPU. He will graduate with a Master of Business Administration degree from HPU in December.

“We are very pleased that Stephen has joined our team at HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement,” said Randy Yeakley, vice president for development. “As a young alumnus, we believe he will help grow a network of former students and alumni from many different generations.”


Photo cutline: Stephen Sullivan has been named director of alumni relations at Howard Payne University.

HPU honors San Antonio’s Kevin Dinnin with Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award

kevin-dinnin-presentation-for-webBROWNWOOD – March 6, 2014 – Howard Payne University recently honored Kevin Dinnin, president and CEO of the San Antonio-based Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), with the Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award. Cowden, a 1984 HPU alumnus, was a victim of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting in July 2012.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and members of the Cowden family were courtside at the San Antonio Spurs game on March 2 when they presented Dinnin with the award, a replica of a statue on HPU’s campus titled “Do As I Have Done.”

“Gordon was a personal friend of mine for more than 20 years, so it has special meaning to me that I was selected to be a recipient of an award that honors his life,” said Dinnin in an interview with Abilene’s KTXS TV station following the presentation.

BCFS is a global health and human services organization with locations and services in the United States and around the world. Under Dinnin’s leadership, BCFS has grown into a multimillion-dollar organization with five subsidiary corporations serving those affected by crisis and disaster around the world with an array of mental health, medical and human service programs.

“Mr. Dinnin has made a tremendous impact in the lives of a countless number of children and families around the world who are suffering severe hardships,” said Dr. Ellis. “He is most deserving of this award which celebrates those who, like Gordon Cowden, display courage in times of adversity.”

Following the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, Dinnin was appointed by Secretary Tommy Thompson to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national summit, “When Terror Strikes.” There he served on the Secretary’s Task Force for Promoting Healing and Restoring Hope for America’s Children and Families and subsequently was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Terrorism. Additionally, Dinnin has served as chairman of numerous non-profit boards in Texas including the Texas Lions Camp for Children with Disabilities, the Texas State Youth and Government Board and The University of Texas Health Science Center Advisory Council for the School of Nursing.

More recently, Dinnin has served as the commander of Health and Medical Branch of Texas Task Force Ike, led an incident management team response to Haiti, developed the Texas Medical Sheltering Task Force for the State of Texas and served as consult to the Federal Emergency Management Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

He is a nationally known subject-matter expert in caring for persons with medical and functional needs during disasters and has been credited with developing the most comprehensive training manual for sheltering persons with medical needs known to be in existence. He is also responsible for establishing and maintaining the largest medical shelter capacity of any state in the U.S.


Photo cutline: Dr. Bill Ellis (third from right), HPU president, and members of the Cowden family presented Kevin Dinnin of San Antonio (fourth from left) with the Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award at the start of the San Antonio Spurs basketball game on March 2.

HPU to close for Spring Break

BROWNWOOD – March 5, 2014 – Howard Payne University will be closed for Spring Break next week, March 10-14. No classes will be held and administrative offices will be closed. The university will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 17.

HPU faculty member publishes Christian baseball novel

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – March 4, 2014 – Just in time for spring training, a Howard Payne University faculty member has published “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. The author is John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU.

Nickols serves as special assistant to the athletic director at HPU and spent many years as a high school and college basketball coach. His sports background and former career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation heavily influenced his writing.

“The Last Three Outs” tells the story of Danny Hill, a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the book loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The best part about writing a book, according to Nickols, is the use of imagination.

“It is fun to create something where there was nothing before,” he said.

The book, the entirety of which was handwritten by Nickols on a legal pad before being transcribed to the computer, also features a mafia story and a love connection. The author stated, however, that it was written to be encouraging.

“The book is intentionally Christian,” he said. “There is no profanity. It is a clean and moral story.”

“The Last Three Outs” (Tate Publishing) is available at and Barnes & Noble. There will be a book signing at Hastings in Brownwood on Saturday, April 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Photo cutline: John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, recently published a Christian baseball novel, “The Last Three Outs.”