News Archives

Three join HPU’s Board of Trustees

Ronnie AndrewsBROWNWOOD – February 9, 2016 – Three Texas businessmen have joined Howard Payne University’s Board of Trustees. The newest members include Ronnie Andrews of Houston, Greg Bruner of Stephenville and D. Lance Currie of Dallas.

The Board of Trustees, HPU’s governing body, convenes for regular meetings three times each year. Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, said he appreciates the commitments each member makes when agreeing to serve on the board.

“Trustees commit not only a substantial amount of time for meetings, but many hours of prayer as well,” said Dr. Ellis. “We’re blessed by the men and women who are faithful to God and choose to serve HPU in this way.”

Ronnie Andrews serves as chief operating officer of Texon LP in Houston. After graduating from HPU in 1983 with a
Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and economics, he went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. Andrews is a member of Houston’s First Baptist Church. He and his wife, Teri (Davis) Andrews ’83, have one child, Madison Andrews, and one grandchild, Penelope.

Greg BrunerGreg Bruner is president of Bruner Auto Family, an auto dealership with locations in Brownwood and Stephenville. A 1984 graduate of Baylor University, Bruner is a member of First Baptist Church of Stephenville, where he serves in a variety of capacities. He serves on the boards of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and Stephenville Economic Development. He previously served on the boards of Harris Methodist Erath County, Dodge Advertising Board and the Toyota Dealer Council. Bruner and his wife, Lynda, have one daughter, Courtney Eads (husband Jeremy), and one son, Kyle Bruner. The couple has two grandchildren, Jett and Karis Eads.

D. Lance Currie serves as an attorney with the Dallas law firm Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP. Currie graduated from Baylor University in 2002 and The University of Texas School of Law in 2008. He serves as chair of the Young Professionals of the Dallas Regional Chamber and chair of Texas Baptists Committed. He previously served as a director of the Texas Young Lawyers Association. A member of Wilshire Baptist Church, he and his wife, Rebecca, have two children,
Ashleigh and David.


Top to bottom: Ronnie Andrews, Greg Bruner and D. Lance Currie

Area businessmen fund HPU student research projects

Smithson Parmley and Smith for webBROWNWOOD – February 9, 2016 – Two students in Howard Payne University’s Research Problems in Chemistry course have received donations from area businessmen to aid in the completion of undergraduate research projects. The students, Samuel Parmley, senior from Bastrop, and Sarah Van Remmen, senior from Santo, each received $300 to fund their studies.

Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry, teaches the course. After consulting with HPU’s development office and being encouraged to move forward, he reached out to Zac Allen, owner of Lazy Eight Ranches in Coleman, and Paul Smithson, CEO of Apollo Computers in Early, to gauge the men’s interest in funding the projects. Following proposals by the students at the end of the fall semester, Smithson chose to support Parmley’s project while Allen elected to fund Van Remmen’s project.

The students will spend the remainder of the spring 2016 semester completing their studies and will use the funds to purchase needed materials. Parmley is creating a library of narcotics with an ion trap spectrometer, a system that could potentially aid law enforcement agencies in the future. Van Remmen is studying the active ingredients in sunscreen and the degradation of these ingredients with normal use.

Smith Van Remmen and Allen for webAccording to Dr. Smith, this is the first time he’s aware of outside donors funding research projects for HPU undergraduate students.

“I’m proud of Samuel and Sarah’s achievements and thankful for the support of Mr. Allen and Mr. Smithson,” he said. “I hope that this exercise provides a model for obtaining community sponsorship of student projects in the future.”


Photo cutlines:

Paul Smithson, left, presents a check to Samuel Parmley, center. Pictured at right is Dr. Derek Smith.

Zac Allen, right, presents a check to Sarah Van Remmen, center. Pictured at left is Dr. Derek Smith.

HPU’s Gabriella Glenn Guest to perform senior recital

Gabriella GuestBROWNWOOD – February 9, 2016 – Howard Payne University student Gabriella Glenn Guest will present a senior recital on Thursday, February 18, at 7:30 p.m. The recital will be in the university’s Grace Chapel. Guest, a mezzo-soprano, is a music major from Midlothian. She is a student of Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music at HPU.

“Gabi has been an eager and consistent student of voice throughout her years at HPU,” said Dr. Church. “She has a particular interest in modern compositions and her recital reflects that repertoire in fun and interesting ways.”

The recital is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Gabriella Glenn Guest will perform a senior recital February 18 at 7:30 p.m.

HPU honors 264 for academic success during fall 2015 semester

BROWNWOOD – February 4, 2016 – Howard Payne University honored 264 students for academic success during the fall 2015 semester. Students must earn a 4.0 grade point average to be named to the President’s List, a 3.65-3.99 grade point average to be named to the Dean’s List and a 3.5-3.64 grade point average to be named to the Honor Roll.

Receiving honors were:

Brittony Nicole Walker, President’s List

Skyler Savanna Schoolfield, President’s List

Jessica Claire Catlett, President’s List

Alahna Nicole Baze, Dean’s List
Ruby Patricia Johnson, Dean’s List
Micah Allen Lasater, Honor Roll
Natalie Marie Stephens, President’s List

Xavier Juiqueil McFalls, Dean’s List

Shawnece Vandela Wormly, Honor Roll

Kierstyn Lauren Evans, Dean’s List

Apex, N.C.
Kristen Nicole Terway, Honor Roll

Arkadelphia, Ark.
Rachel Leigh White, Dean’s List

Emma Danielle Reed, President’s List
Tayler Brittany Rushing, Honor Roll

Erin Elizabeth Buergner, President’s List
Marissa Cheyenne Godbey, Honor Roll
Riley G. Morrison, Dean’s List
Angelica Carolyn Ramirez, Dean’s List
Rebekah Elizabeth Weaver, President’s List

Alexandra Lemus, Dean’s List

Callie Ann Adams, Dean’s List
Don Leland Greenwood, President’s List
Katherine Elizabeth Hailey, Honor Roll
Charles Anthony Long, Dean’s List
Melissa Dawn Ramirez, Dean’s List
Courtney Caprice Seybert, President’s List

Garrett Grayson Wright, Dean’s List

Bryan Austin Baker, President’s List

Jakob Stefan Morgan, Dean’s List

Blooming Grove
Amy Danielle Baskin, President’s List

Isaac Conrad Sommers, President’s List
Danielle Paige Strickland, Dean’s List

Janis Dianne Groves, President’s List

Micah Brannan Huebner, President’s List

Christy Renee Ash, Dean’s List
Katie Ellen Ash, President’s List
Sharon Michelle Berger, President’s List
Blake Lawton Biessener, President’s List
Christina Calleros, President’s List
James David Crow, President’s List
Caleb Nathan Dillard, President’s List
Lexie Shana Farar, Dean’s List
Christopher Brent Freeland, Dean’s List
Misty Ann Fry, Honor Roll
Cherita Mae George, Dean’s List
Tanya Renee Glasscock, Dean’s List
James Roland Hair, Dean’s List
Brogan Shea Henderson, President’s List
Jose Angel Hernandez, Honor Roll
Molly Jane Hull, President’s List
Jerry Talton Hurt, President’s List
Cynthia Lisett Ibarra, Honor Roll
Hannah Celeste Justice, President’s List
Joel Allen Justice, President’s List
Summer Christine King, Dean’s List
Kindry Cruz Kirbo, Dean’s List
Jensen Lee Limer, Dean’s List
Adam Justin Lloyd, Dean’s List
Kelcie Michelle Lloyd, President’s List
Jennifer Yulissa Martinez, Honor Roll
Bridgette Taylor Mayfield, Dean’s List
Lindsey Rachel McKinney, Dean’s List
Saulo Elias Mendoza, President’s List
Grace Victoria Milcherska, Dean’s List
Bailey Claire Myler, Honor Roll
Seth Robert Owen, Honor Roll
Tanner Cole Pennington, President’s List
Megan Leanne Peterson, President’s List
Zachary Vaughn Peterson, Dean’s List
Sandy Rodriguez, President’s List
Heather Ann Rowlett, Dean’s List
Chelsea Louise Taylor, President’s List

Caleb Michael McConnell, Honor Roll
Paighton Leanne McNeely, Dean’s List

Kristian Jalyn Simpson, Honor Roll

Caddo Mills
Savannah Jade Moore, Honor Roll

Canyon Lake
Jennifer Katelyn Cardenas, President’s List

Brooke Lyndsey Goad, Dean’s List

Kristin Anne Cunningham, Dean’s List
TaShana Rae Hooker, Dean’s List

Cedar Park
Emily Janice Peisker, President’s List

Geoffrey Vaughn Rolando, Dean’s List

Robert Devin Caraway, President’s List
Jaime Elizabeth Dodson, Dean’s List
Shawna Sha’Nae Rains, Dean’s List

Matthew David Daniel, Dean’s List

Clifton, Colo.
Caleb Josiah Kostreva, President’s List

Neal Edward Kucinski, Honor Roll

Taylor Cathlynn Armstrong, President’s List
Allison Kate Straach, Dean’s List

Nathan Wayne Byrd, President’s List
Lisa Michelle Moreno, Dean’s List
Angela Rose Parker, President’s List
Jaze Mance Randolph, Honor Roll

Christian Armond Hosley, Dean’s List

Copperas Cove
Nathan Michael Brockett, Honor Roll
Caprica Danyelle Brooks, Honor Roll
Robert Vincent Martinez, Dean’s List

Corpus Christi
Samuel Lang Hoffman, Dean’s List

Crystal City
Michael Roy Garza, Dean’s List

Richard Treviso, Dean’s List

De Leon
Kelci Ann Feist, Honor Roll

Bridgette Lee Cummings, Dean’s List

Bettina Ayna Ballet, Honor Roll
Kelsan Marie Wolverton, Dean’s List
Sharon Allen Wolverton, President’s List
Spencer Kelly Wolverton, Honor Roll

Dripping Springs
Elliott Nicole Gray, Honor Roll

Brittany Elaine Benson, Honor Roll
Melanie Elaine Clark, Dean’s List
Colby Scott Compton, Honor Roll
Abraham Fausto-Jorna Cooper, President’s List
Thomas Harrison Givan, Dean’s List
Morgan Tyler Lacy, President’s List
Crystal Desire’ Ochoa, Dean’s List
Meagan Elizabeth Sessler, Honor Roll
Preston Erika Smith, President’s List
Austin Caleb Throckmorton, President’s List

Sloan Elisabeth Ahrlett, Dean’s List
Tiffani Rose Peeples, President’s List
Hailey Alexandra Perrin, Dean’s List
Dezeray Dawn Tafte, Dean’s List

El Paso
Christina Noriz, Honor Roll
Brian Alan Seguin, Honor Roll
Marina Ariana Sheets-Ochoa, Honor Roll

Karla Grace Zachary, President’s List

Ashley Briann Chapman, Dean’s List
Jason Ryan Washburn, Dean’s List

Kwame Sekou Harris, Dean’s List

Farmington, N.M.
Shaefer McIntyre Church, Dean’s List

Olivia Ann Belsher, President’s List

Abraham Esteban Centeno, Honor Roll

Luis Anthony Robles, Dean’s List

Brittany Nicole Cortez, Dean’s List

Fort Worth
Andrew Christopher Errico, Honor Roll
Kevin Ray Leis, Honor Roll
Clifford Lawson Lunceford, Honor Roll
Vivian Thi Nguyen, President’s List
Hannah Elise Williamson, Honor Roll

Chandler Jacob Condra, President’s List

Garden Ridge
Camila Michelle Cotter, Dean’s List

Rachel M. Ellington, Dean’s List

Murry Roy Clingerman, President’s List
Augusta Marie Johnson, Dean’s List

Rachel Ann Mahagan, President’s List
Aaron William Walling, President’s List
Zachary Charles White, Dean’s List
Cameron Andrew Wong, President’s List

Priscilla Deann Gilbert, Honor Roll
Julie Marie Hart, President’s List
Jody Michael Loudamy, President’s List

Hanna Danielle Henson, President’s List

Seth James Rainey, Dean’s List

Michelle Elaine Teague, Dean’s List

David Dean Groves, Dean’s List

Tyler Kirk Jones, President’s List
Katelyn Leigh O’Conner, Dean’s List

Trishawn Jeremiah Townes, Honor Roll

Richard Austin Young, President’s List

Kade Louis Kahanek, President’s List
Dillon Keith McCord, Honor Roll

Haltom City
Dayane Gutierrez, Dean’s List

Trey Joe Carpenter, Honor Roll

Cody Harrison Hughes, President’s List

Jacob Russell Vincent, Honor Roll

Lydia Mae Heinrichs, Dean’s List

Hannah Marie Strebeck, President’s List
Jonathan Bennett Strebeck, Honor Roll

Jessi Nicole Jordan, President’s List

Steven Ray Palousek, Dean’s List

Jerry Bonilla, Dean’s List

Tyler Adam Olin, President’s List

William Noah Payne, Dean’s List

Carrie Deann Leach, President’s List

Analisa Marie Anzaldua, Honor Roll

Vanessa Renae Albert, Honor Roll
Adam McCoy Jones, President’s List
Abner Abdia Reyes, Dean’s List

Kindell Amon Hill, President’s List

Julia Lynne James, Dean’s List

Hannah Joan Ball, Dean’s List

Maggie Ariette Van Nes, Dean’s List

Hailey Ann Green, Honor Roll

David Tyrone Dingle, Dean’s List

James Vincent Abbatiello, President’s List

Jada Evans, Dean’s List

Brett Ollen Quackenbush, Honor Roll

Liberty Hill
Mason Marie Samsel, President’s List

Leonard Paul Baker, Dean’s List
Peyton Nicole Cooley, Honor Roll

Rachel Elizabeth Hughes, Dean’s List

Timothy Layne Counce, Dean’s List

Jaclyn Rose Bonner, President’s List
Rebekah Joyce Lytle, Dean’s List

Rebecca Danielle McFarland, President’s List
Vanessa Monique Pate, President’s List
Amber Rose Shipman, Dean’s List
Heather Renae Starnes, Dean’s List

Nicholas Matthew Keathley, President’s List

Fred Zavala, Honor Roll

Callie Anne Molloy, Dean’s List

Nancy Chiamaka Okafor, Honor Roll

Britt Thomas Boler, Honor Roll
MaryClaire Swallow, Honor Roll

Emily Nicole Ball, Dean’s List
Rebecca May Blohm, Dean’s List
Tyler Christopher Colburn, Dean’s List
Gabriella Glenn Guest, President’s List

Caitlin Courtney Wood, President’s List

Mineral Wells
Rachel Ann Merritt, President’s List

Candace Leeann Montgomery, Honor Roll

Zoe Sunshine Emley, President’s List

New Braunfels
Adam Richard Lalanne, President’s List
Samuel Douglas Soape, Honor Roll

Carissa Caley Cromer, Dean’s List

Rebecca Nicole Hamilton, President’s List

North Richland Hills
Lacey Mikelle Eagan, President’s List

Gabrielle Trysten Roque, President’s List

Keaton James Fletcher, President’s List

De’andre Rashuad Walker, Honor Roll

Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Jack Henry Judd, Dean’s List

Keeley Jo McKinney, Honor Roll

Red Oak
Tiffany Michelle Bullock, Honor Roll
Brittany Taylor Davis, Dean’s List

Ivyanne Alyssa Nichols, Honor Roll

Richland Hills
Luke G. Jester, Honor Roll

Ally Presley McKethan, Honor Roll

Round Rock
Shawn Michel-Alexa Brody, President’s List
Joseph Thomas Flanigan, Honor Roll

Elizabeth Anne Fargo, Dean’s List

Thomas Parker Kyle, President’s List
Ruben Daniel Lemus, Honor Roll
Michael Joe Sellers, President’s List

San Angelo
Kyndal Nicole Broome, President’s List

San Antonio
Angelica Maria Gray, President’s List
Arthur Joseph Hettler, Dean’s List
William Rangel-Alfaro, Honor Roll
Jacqueline Marie Vega, Honor Roll

San Juan
Lorien Elisse Rubio, Honor Roll

Sarah Jane Van Remmen, Honor Roll

Vanessa Mae Marquez, President’s List

Katelyn Nicole Zimmer, President’s List

Michael Ray Moore, Dean’s List

William Cody Cain, Honor Roll
Courtney Jean Tatum, President’s List

Michael Ryan Hazard, Dean’s List

Zachary Paul Eller, Dean’s List
Maranda Alexandria Marlin, Dean’s List

Tennessee Colony
Colten James Hearrell, Honor Roll

Trophy Club
Thomas Arthur Llewellyn, Dean’s List
Adam C. Snyder, President’s List

Taryn Cheney Cover, President’s List
Ethan Chase Molnari, Dean’s List

Kayla Denae Chadwick, President’s List

Universal City
Joshua Brian Varnes, Dean’s List

Diana Rebeca Puente Chavar, President’s List

Kaitlyn Paige Harrison, President’s List

Michael Nathan Snow, President’s List

Morgan Paige Ashmore, President’s List

Jessye Elizabeth Trefny, Dean’s List

Andrew Kirk Stevenson, Honor Roll

Wolfe City
Brandon Levi Fisk, Honor Roll

Courtney Renee Ake, Honor Roll
Jordan Lisa Pitman, President’s List

HPU celebrates Black History Month with special Chapel service

Black History Chapel 2016 for webBROWNWOOD – February 4, 2016 – Howard Payne University celebrated Black History Month during a Chapel service held Wednesday morning.

Participants comprised of members of HPU’s African-American Alumni Association and current HPU students, read stories and shared facts about black historical figures. Additionally, the participants performed several songs and led the audience in singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Negro National Anthem.

The program is written and directed each year by Wilbert Rogers ’75. Gladys Murray ’79 serves as the assistant coordinator and technical specialist.

“Mr. Rogers and Mrs. Murray put a tremendous amount of effort into the program each year, and we greatly appreciate their leadership,” said Dr. Magen Bunyard, vice president for student life and dean of students. “We’re honored to come together as a university to celebrate Black History Month.”


Photo cutline: Chapel participants, led by HPU senior Victoria Malone at the podium, perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem.

HPU senior takes advantage of university-provided opportunities

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – February 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University offers many opportunities for study programs, internships and on-campus activities to supplement students’ education with hands-on experiences. Senior Dani Coquat has used her time at HPU to prepare for her future by taking advantage of such opportunities.

Coquat, a political science major with a pre-law emphasis, plans to use her major for criminal defense, global law or a hybrid of the two. As an HPU student, she has met with a current foreign relations professional, attended a law forum in Houston and traveled around the state for Moot Court competitions. One of her most memorable experiences at HPU was pursuing an internship in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2015.

In June and July, Coquat interned for the Department of Commerce’s Initiative Business USA in D.C. She took an economics course through George Mason University and lived on the George Washington University campus. Coquat was also present for Supreme Court rulings and met with a few Congressmen and lobbyists. She took the opportunity to explore the area and visit potential law schools to see where she might practice after graduation.

“The friends and memories that I made while there will last a lifetime,” she said. “The experiences I had helped me to grow and realize that I can actually survive on my own. Living in the heart of the nation’s capital, I was able to see the lifestyle and learn how to balance having a social life and work, all while still furthering my education.”

Coquat has had many memorable experiences at home on HPU’s campus as well. She minors in theatre and works in HPU theatre productions with her fellow Alpha Psi Omega members.

“I pledged Alpha Psi Omega, which is the national theatre fraternity, this last spring,” she said. “Through Alpha Psi, I have helped with events such as a dunking booth to raise awareness of and money for leukemia and 24-hour theatre. I have been a part of a number of productions here at Howard Payne, including a children’s show this past fall, and will participate in the Christian University Theatre Festival this spring.”

Coquat made the decision to attend HPU after visiting the campus during band camp her junior year of high school. Along with her membership in Alpha Psi Omega, she has been part of the HPU Yellow Jacket Band during her first two years at HPU and the archery club during her freshman year.

“My time at HPU has helped to me to further my desire to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “With a career in criminal defense or global law, I will be in a position where I can help those who are most in need of it, those who don’t have voices of their own. I have made lasting friendships at HPU and I have been able to grow and change during my time here. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”


Photo cutline: Dani Coquat, a Howard Payne University senior, is pictured on the HPU campus.

HPU graduates 84 at Commencement in December

BROWNWOOD – February 1, 2016 – Howard Payne University graduated 84 students during its Commencement ceremony held at the close of the fall 2015 semester.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and other university representatives conferred the degrees.

Students must have a 3.55-3.69 grade-point average to graduate Cum Laude; a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude; and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduates included:

Rebekah Elizabeth Weaver – Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Summa Cum Laude

Bradley Scott Wilson – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (coaching)

Janis Dianne Groves – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication), Summa Cum Laude

Kellie Lynn Warner – Bachelor of Science in chemistry

Michael Christian Ballejo – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (Christian education concentration)
Christina Calleros – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice
Presley Neshaydith Davila – Bachelor of Arts in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Magna Cum Laude
Jesus Antonio Esparza – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Chelsea Nicole Garcia – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Victor V. Gonzales – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (coaching)
John Gray Gramling – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice, Cum Laude
Brogan Shea Henderson – Bachelor of Science in psychology (counseling/clinical), Summa Cum Laude
Jonathan Rick Henderson – Master of Arts in Youth Ministry
Juan Gregorio Hernandez – Bachelor of Music in music-instrumental (all-level certification)
Jerry Talton Hurt – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry, Summa Cum Laude
Paula Michelle Johnson – Bachelor of Science in social work
Summer Christine King – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude
Kelcie Michelle Lloyd – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Summa Cum Laude
Saulo Elias Mendoza – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Summa Cum Laude
Sierra Montana Westerman – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Laura Caroll Whiteley – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Cristalyn Hope Fitzgerald – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies and political science (general)
Hector John Rodriguez – Master of Business Administration

Marcus David Muldrow – Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Brooke Lyndsey Goad – Bachelor of Arts in family studies, Cum Laude

Courtney Alyse Officer – Bachelor of Arts in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Cathryn Michaela Rasbury – Bachelor of Music in music-instrumental (all-level certification)

College Station
Troy Edmund Cuff – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice

Nathan Wayne Byrd – Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Summa Cum Laude

Stephanie Michelle Jackson – Bachelor of Arts in English

Bridgette Lee Cummings – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (family psychology)

Christopher Michael Burnett – Bachelor of Music in music-instrumental (all-level certification)
Marcie Lynn Drew – Master of Business Administration

Corey Wynn Howie – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry
Tiffani Rose Peeples – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication), Magna Cum Laude

El Paso
Raquel Cowans – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration
Matthew Stephen Gray – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)
Reggie Ortiz – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration), Summa Cum Laude

Fort Worth
Edith Angelica Rodriguez – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general psychology)

Dillan Elaine Hanks – Bachelor of Science in athletic training

Gage Logan Smith – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice, Cum Laude

Rachel M. Ellington – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (general psychology), Magna Cum Laude
Christina Ruthann Roush – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

Tolli Bre Wylie – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Summa Cum Laude

Margarita Melissa Solis – Bachelor of Arts in history

Richard Austin Young – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude

Jessi Nicole Jordan – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and biblical languages, Summa Cum Laude

Honolulu, Hawaii
Camryn Leigh Lopez – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Cum Laude

Dustin Vincent DeJohn – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Richard Charles Porche – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication)

Derrian Arnell Thompson – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)

Liberty Hill
Jacob Ryan Sadler – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Brandon Reno Pace – Bachelor of Arts in Christian education

Marble Falls
Patricia Ann Burleson – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Adrian Renee Sandoval – Bachelor of Science in biology

Patrick Kyle Dillard – Bachelor of Science in social studies composite (grade 8-12)

New Braunfels
Matthew Ryan Aguirre – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
John Marshall Hill – Master of Business Administration
Matthew Wayne Lotz – Master of Business Administration
Randall Scott Murphy – Master of Business Administration
Kevin Douglas Wartsbaugh – Master of Business Administration
Patrick Thomas Youngblood – Master of Business Administration
Rose Marie Zamora – Master of Business Administration

Kelsie Lyn Piland – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (general psychology)

Halye Payge Gilbert – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Colton Jess McCabe – Bachelor of Science in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and political science/pre-law, Cum Laude

Red Oak
Brittany Taylor Davis – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general psychology)

Nathanael Adams – Bachelor of Arts in English

Mikayla Nicole Warren – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

San Antonio
Angelica Maria Gray – Bachelor of Arts in social work, Summa Cum Laude
Zacchaeus Miguel Steidel-Santiago – Bachelor of Arts in communication (organizational and leadership communication)

Santa Anna
Loren Rae Pritchard – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (all-level: early childhood-grade 12)

John Wade Tomlinson – Master of Business Administration

Benjamin Reese Moore – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry

Joel Torres Muzquiz – Master of Business Administration

Dakota Lee Gibson – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting (finance emphasis)
Tyler Garrett Goodwin – Bachelor of Science in athletic training and exercise and sport science (all-level certification)
Courtney Jean Tatum – Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Summa Cum Laude

Trophy Club
Thomas Arthur Llewellyn – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)

Christy Benae Hazelwood – Bachelor of Music in music-choral (all-level certification), Cum Laude

Ashley Marie Moon – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication)

Wichita Falls
Eduardo Nunez – Bachelor of Arts in Spanish

Katrina Nicole Mann – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Seth Ian Pitman – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry

HPU to host speaker Dr. Robert Sellers for ninth annual Currie-Strickland lectures

Sellers Formal Press Shot for webBROWNWOOD – January 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University will host its ninth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics next month with guest speaker Dr. Robert P. Sellers, professor of theology and Connally Chair of Missions at Logsdon Seminary in Abilene. The lectures are Thursday and Friday, February 11 and 12, in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. The lectures are free to the public and the community is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Thursday’s lecture, which begins at 7:00 p.m., is titled “Love your [Non-Christian] Neighbor as Yourself: Religious Pluralism and the Second Great Commandment.” The second lecture, to be held Friday morning at 10:00 a.m., is titled “Do Not Oppress the Foreigner or the Poor: Religious Pluralism and the Care for the Alien and Stranger.”

Dr. Sellers received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and psychology from Mississippi College as well as a Master of Divinity degree in New Testament and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in theological ethics from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has done postgraduate work at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and at Andover-Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts.

For almost 25 years, Dr. Sellers and his wife, Janie, served as missionary student workers and theological educators in Java, Indonesia. Before returning to the United States, he taught ethics at the Indonesia Baptist Theological Seminary and the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary. From 1996 to 1998, he was visiting professor at Truett Seminary and in Baylor University’s religion department before beginning his tenure at Logsdon.

Dr. Sellers is a member of the Board of Trustees and the chair for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. He serves on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the Baptist World Alliance and is a Baptist member of a joint Baptist-Muslim Task Force that has coordinated two National Baptist-Muslim Dialogues. He is currently serving his second five-year term representing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on the Interfaith Relations and Collaboration Table of the National Council of Churches. Locally, he is the Protestant representative on the board of the Abilene Interfaith Council.

Janie Sellers serves as an officer on the Board of Trustees for the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio as well as on the Board of Consultants for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. The Sellers’ children, Tyler and Marnie, were both born in Indonesia and both currently work for Texas Baptist universities.

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Admission is free but reservations are requested. For reservations or more information, please contact Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies by e-mail at or by phone at (325) 649-8403.


Photo cutline: HPU will host speaker Dr. Robert Sellers during its ninth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics.

HPU student TJ Counce wins accolades at Baylor Mock Trial Tournament

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – January 20, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Mock Trial team participated in the Green and Gold Invitational Mock Trial Tournament at Baylor University, with TJ Counce, senior from Lockhart, receiving the award for second-best overall witness.

Mock Trial is a simulation of lower-court trials in the United States judicial system. The American Mock Trial Association acts as the governing body for intercollegiate Mock Trial competition and hosts tournaments at universities across the nation to provide opportunities for college students to gain experience for future law careers. Through the trial simulations, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

Other HPU participants were J Bailey, junior from Gunter; Joshua Dykes, junior from Mount Pleasant; Zachary Eller, senior from Temple; Katherine Hailey, junior from Waxahachie; Lainee Hasty, freshman from Runaway Bay; Rachel Hughes, sophomore from Llano; Caleb Kostreva, freshman from Clifton, Colorado; Daniel Lacy, sophomore from Kerrville; Sierra Mendez, sophomore from Brownwood; Jakob Morgan, sophomore from Blanket; Danya Rios, junior from Brownwood; Skyler Schoolfield, sophomore from Aledo; and Andres Zambrano, junior from Brownwood. The team is led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

The students played the roles of attorneys and witnesses during the conference. Team members who served as attorneys for the defense and prosecution prepared opening statements, closing arguments, and direct- and cross-examination for the witnesses. Counce served as a witness while playing several expert roles and won accolades from all the judges.

The three-day contest, which is sanctioned by the AMTA, attracted 30 teams of undergraduate students from across Texas. Local attorneys and law students served as judges for the tournament.


Photo cutline: HPU senior TJ Counce was named second-best overall witness at the Green and Gold Invitational Mock Trial Tournament at Baylor University.

HPU names Michael Rodgers CFO, vice president

Mike Rodgers for webBROWNWOOD – January 19, 2016 – Howard Payne University recently named Michael Rodgers, Certified Public Accountant, as chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration.

Since 2009, Rodgers has served as vice president of business and chief financial officer at Criswell College in Dallas. He has held several administrative roles at First Baptist Academy in Dallas and All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler and was an adjunct faculty member at Dallas Baptist University and Criswell College. He has additional experience working with the Dallas Seminary Foundation and with private accounting firms and has maintained his CPA license since 1979.

Rodgers received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Master of Arts in Christian Education degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Master of Humanities degree from the University of Dallas.

At HPU, Rodgers will oversee business operations including finance, human resources and facilities and planning.

“Mr. Rodgers has a proven track record of excellence and commitment to Christian education,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, university president. “We’re delighted to welcome him as we start the spring 2016 semester at HPU.”


Photo cutline: Michael Rodgers was recently named chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration at Howard Payne University.