News Archives

HPU Yellow Rose Award presented to Brownwood’s Ann Jones

Ann Jones with rosesBROWNWOOD – April 20, 2017 – The Howard Payne University Woman’s Club presented alumna Ann Jones of Brownwood with the prestigious Yellow Rose Award during the club’s annual Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon held recently on campus.

Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady and Woman’s Club president, surprised Jones with a commemorative plaque and bouquet of yellow roses. The award is given annually to a woman who has exhibited exemplary leadership within her sphere of influence, who has exhibited fiscal, emotional or physical support to the ongoing of the university and who represents Christian values and beliefs foundational to HPU.

Jones and her husband co-owned a manufacturing company in Dallas and later, after selling the family business, moved back to Brownwood. In 2011, she opened her own business, Ann Jones Real Estate.

Jones’ list of civic involvement and volunteer efforts is extensive. It includes affiliations such as Brownwood Community Concert Association Board, Brownwood Preservation Partnership, Arts Council of Brownwood, Keep Brownwood Beautiful, The Woman’s Club of Brownwood, Brownwood Garden Culture Club, Downtown Brownwood Association, Brownwood Coalition, Brown County Republican Women, Brownwood Bulletin Newspaper Advisory Board, Girl Scouts Heart of Texas Council, Board of Trustees for First United Methodist Church of Brownwood, Texas Christian Women’s Job Corps, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross Board of Directors, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Board of Directors and many more.

She impacts the lives of current HPU students through gifts to the Annual Fund, the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Fund and the A Call to Send Campaign.

“Ann is a blessing to everyone who knows her,” said Dr. Diana Ellis. “I personally know she is truly an inspiration. The way she lives her life – faithfully serving and doing what needs to be done – is a gift she freely shares with others.”

Diana Ellis with Shirley Barret for webThe guest speaker for this year’s luncheon was Dr. Shirley Cothran Barret, former Miss America and noted speaker and author.

For more information about the HPU Woman’s Club, visit, e-mail or call 325-649-8305.


Cutline: The Howard Payne University Woman’s Club recently presented Ann Jones of Brownwood with the prestigious Yellow Rose Award.

Dr. Shirley Cothan Barret, right, former Miss America and noted speaker and author, was the guest speaker at this year’s Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon at HPU. She is pictured with Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady and Woman’s Club president.

HPU to host last Yellow Jacket Monday preview event of the semester

YJM Logo 2015BROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host its last Yellow Jacket Monday of the spring 2017 semester next Monday, April 24, from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Yellow Jacket Monday is a preview day for prospective students and their parents. The event is free, and registration is available at

Yellow Jacket Mondays are designed for high school juniors and seniors and allow prospective students to experience life at HPU. Attendees will meet faculty and staff, tour the campus and residence halls, dine in HPU’s Beadel Dining Hall, meet with admission counselors, learn about financial aid and more.

“If you’ve ever thought about visiting HPU, this is the time to do it,” said Lacy Culpepper, assistant director of admission. “Yellow Jacket Monday is a fast-paced event and a great way for prospective students and their families to learn about our academics, campus life, scholarship opportunities and more.”

HPU offers a wide range of financial aid opportunities including the Heart of Texas Scholarship which awards $60,000 over four years to eligible students from Brown and surrounding counties.

For more information and to register, visit Those unable to attend are invited to schedule individual campus visits by completing the form at or by calling 325-649-8020.

Five join HPU’s Board of Trustees

L.J. Clayton for web Daniel Deviney for web Marc Dingler for web
David Lowrie for web Robert Morrison for web

BROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Board of Trustees met recently with five new members joining the university’s governing body. The new trustees are Rev. L.J. Clayton of San Antonio, Daniel Deviney of Bulverde, Marc Dingler of Midland, Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr. of Decatur and Robert Morrison of Abilene. Each began a three-year term on January 1.

“HPU is blessed to have men and women of God serving as trustees,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, university president. “As trustees, their first priority is honoring God and their second priority is HPU’s continuing success. We’re grateful for their service.”

Rev. Clayton graduated from HPU in 1977 and went on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. He additionally earned a Bible certification from South Texas School of Christian Studies. He serves as pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Cuero. Clayton and his wife, Lori Hassel Clayton, a 1975 HPU graduate, have four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Deviney is a 1992 HPU graduate and earned a master’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 1994. He serves as financial advisor at Deviney Financial Services, LLC, in Bulverde. Deviney and his wife, Audra Caldwell Deviney, a 1992 HPU graduate, have two children.

Dingler graduated from HPU in 1984 and from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1989. He serves as a business executive at Diamondback Energy in Midland. He is married to Kari Donaldson Dingler ’84 and the couple has three children.

Dr. Lowrie, who previously served as president of HPU’s Board of Trustees and rotated off the board in 2015, graduated from Baylor University in 1982. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1987 and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Bethel Seminary in 2005. He serves as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Decatur. Dr. Lowrie and his wife, Robyn Kay Lowrie, have four children and two grandchildren.

Morrison graduated from HPU in 1982 and went on to earn a Master of Education degree from Tarleton State University in 1987 and principal certification and Master of Education degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University in 1998. He is an administrator in the Abilene Independent School District.

Howard Payne University’s Board of Trustees meets each year in March, July and October.


Top Row: Rev. L.J. Clayton, Daniel Deviney and Marc Dingler

Bottom Row: Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr. and Robert Morrison

HPU criminal justice students to take part in mock crime scene

BROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s criminal justice program will conduct exercises as part of its Criminal Justice Investigations class on Monday, April 24, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. During this time, there will be crime scene tape, emergency vehicles and other normal police operations one would expect to see at a major crime scene. The event will be held at HPU’s campus location at the corner of Austin and Coggin Avenues in Brownwood.

Dr. Paul Lilly, chief of HPU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and assistant professor of criminal justice, said the community should not be alarmed at the proceedings.

“This is a staged event to help the students learn the many processes involved with investigating a crime scene,” he said.

The HPU DPS will again join the criminal justice program and its students in helping make the crime scene as realistic as possible. In addition to hands-on experience for the students, the DPS uses this scenario exercise each year to aid in providing the DPS officers with regular ongoing in-service training to help them remain current with modern technologies and procedures.

For more information, contact HPU’s Department of Public Safety at 325-649-8609.

Works of HPU art faculty exhibited at United States Air Force Academy

Harmon exhibit photoBROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – The recent paintings of Howard Payne University art faculty David and Susan Harmon are on exhibition at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, through April 26. Titled “Painterly Expressions of an Artistic Couple,” the exhibition is located in the Permanent Professors Art Gallery on the third floor of the Academy’s Fairchild Hall.

Though the painters have entirely different approaches to their art, the exhibition displays unity and a holistic environment in a single venue.

Two large canvases by Susan Harmon, HPU adjunct art faculty member, cover more than 17 feet on each side of the gallery walls and zig-zag high and low because the canvas pieces were sewn together in irregular sections. Just the shapes themselves are interesting, but with color the walls pop and attract passersby into the gallery to see more.

Once inside, viewers experience smaller works created by David Harmon, professor of art and chair of HPU’s Department of Art. Eighteen square panels spiral and rotate with abstract thick slashes of blue tones. The pieces hang in a variety of heights to exaggerate the overall effect.

David Harmon earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Pennsylvania State University. Susan Harmon earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Georgia Southern University. Both have participated in long lists of juried, invitational and solo exhibits, including many international venues. Each has a solid reputation based on many excellent conference presentations as well as notable residencies, special events and publications.

“The exhibit not only highlights painterly expressions of an artistic couple, but emphasizes two professional career paths woven together to facilitate a strong collaborative project,” said Pam Aloisa, professor of art and gallery director at the United States Air Force Academy.

For more information, contact Aloisa at 719-322-8244 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Paintings by HPU art faculty David and Susan Harmon are on exhibition at the United States Air Force Academy through April 26.

Social work trip prepares HPU students to be voices for the unheard

CLC Advocacy DayBROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – A recent trip to the Texas State Capitol provided several Howard Payne University social work and family studies majors with ongoing training in their quests to become advocates for society’s marginalized populations. The students took part in the CLC Advocacy Day hosted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

The Christian Life Commission presented several sessions during the conference, addressing topics such as the financial exploitation of the poor, immigration, education and the foster care system.

Those who attended the conference are students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Programs, Policies and Issues course. The class researched predatory lending practices prior to the trip and prepared talking points for conversations with lawmakers. While at the Capitol, each student went to the office of his or her hometown representative and spoke with whomever was available.

“The purpose of such trips is for students to become familiar with advocacy and the legislative process,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology. “I think most people do not realize how responsive our state representatives are to people from their districts.”

Abbey Beardsley, a junior from Fort Worth, was surprised that her representative’s chief of staff was eager to speak with her.

“He was kind, well-spoken and very attentive to what we had to say,” she said. “He answered our questions and wrote down notes to share with the representative when he was back in the office. It surprised me that he then asked us about our opinions on different issues and really cared about what we had to say.”

Beardsley said she learned how simple it is to advocate for her beliefs.

“It is intimidating to go and speak your mind to people in power, but they genuinely want to hear the thoughts of the people,” she said. “I learned that I can share my faith and Christ’s love, even in the political arena.”
Additional HPU students on the trip included Becca Blohm, senior from Midlothian; Jacob Escobar, junior from Brownwood; Elijah Garces, junior from Floresville; Karina Garcia, senior from Brownwood; Shelby Harrison, junior from Abilene; Stephanie Kerby, senior from May; Jacey Martinez, junior from San Saba; Morgan Lacy, junior from Early; Katelyn O’Conner, junior from Granbury; Sierra Spruill, junior from Ranger; Sydney Spencer, senior from Georgetown; Anna Vallejo, junior from Brownwood; and Jacqueline Vega, senior from San Antonio.


Cutline: Several HPU students recently participated in in the CLC Advocacy Day hosted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. Present in the photo are HPU faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as BGCT staff.

HPU’s Atkinson to present senior recital Thursday

Alex AtkinsonBROWNWOOD – April 18, 2017 – Howard Payne University senior George Alexander Atkinson of Haslet will present a senior recital on Thursday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The program is free of charge and the public is encouraged to attend.

Atkinson is a music education major from the studio of Stephen Goacher, professor of music.

“We are happy to present Alex Atkinson to our audience in a program of musical variety and unique possibilities in sound,” said Goacher.

Atkinson’s recital program will consist of two compositions for the saxophone composed 200 years apart. The first is a sonata composed near 1730 by George Frederick Handel. Atkinson will perform the sonata on the rarely heard baritone saxophone. In the 1850s, the French composer and theorist Hector Berlioz wrote that the baritone saxophone is the most noble of all instruments, perched on the edge of silence. Atkinson will give his audience the rare opportunity to hear the baritone saxophone demonstrated in the manner Berlioz was speaking. The recital will also include a 20th century sonata for the alto saxophone by the American composer Lawson Lunde.

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


Cutline: HPU senior Alex Atkinson will present a recital on Thursday, April 20.

HPU honors John Nickols with Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal

Nickols familyBROWNWOOD – April 18, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy awarded John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science and special assistant to the athletic director, the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal at a recent luncheon held on campus. Nickols, who has served at HPU for 22 years, will retire in May.

The MacArthur Freedom Medal honors individuals who share Dr. Guy D. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, Western civilization, free enterprise and civic engagement. HPU’s Honors Academy, formerly the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Newman, who served as president of the university from 1955 to 1973.

In addition to teaching and coaching basketball at HPU, Nickols’ storied career includes time spent as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and 25 years as a high school teacher and coach. He has additionally served as a Sunday School teacher and as a board member for the Brownwood Independent School District.

Nickols received the medal from Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy. Also present were Nickols’ wife, Barbara, and son Eric, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy.

“John Nickols is most deserving of this recognition,” said Dr. Ellis. “It’s been an honor to serve alongside him at HPU and to witness the tremendous impact he’s had on the lives of his students and everyone with whom he’s come in contact.”


Cutline: John Nickols, center, was recently awarded HPU’s Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal. He is pictured with his son Eric and wife, Barbara.

HPU junior Hannah Justice accepted into medical school prep program

Hannah Justice 2017Howard Payne University junior Hannah Justice of Brownwood has been accepted into the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP). She is the first HPU student to be accepted into this prestigious medical school prep program.

“I am so excited about this opportunity,” said Justice. “Throughout this journey, God has shown me how faithful He is to provide for my needs by opening doors that I didn’t know existed and by aligning my passions with His will.”

According to the JAMP website, the program was created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified students pursuing medical education. It provides students with educational and clinical learning opportunities to better equip them as they pursue careers in medicine.

Justice heard about JAMP from one of her professors, Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology and JAMP faculty director at HPU.

“I am thrilled that Hannah, who also was recently accepted to HPU’s new Biomedical Science Program, will begin as a JAMP student in the program’s 2017 cohort,” said Dr. Hutchins. “Hannah has actively sought out exposure to the field through medical internships in our community, excelled in her courses and has been involved in campus student organizations all while continuing to walk with the Lord. I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments.”

The JAMP application process is identical to a traditional medical school application that is completed the third or fourth year of college. For JAMP, applicants apply between their first and second years of college. Then, applicants who meet the initial qualifications are invited for an interview. After the interview, prospective JAMP students are notified as to whether they have been chosen to be in the program.

“Most pre-med students do not go through an application process like this until later in their time at college, so it was a little nerve-racking at times to go through it as an underclassman,” said Justice. “I wanted my application to be the best it could be. I am thankful that I have such wonderful professors who have mentored me and helped me prepare.”

Justice will participate in an internship this summer at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. She will have the opportunity to participate in clinical and clerkship settings, take medical school classes in basic sciences and prepare to take the MCAT. She will also participate in an internship the following summer. During her next year at HPU, she will apply to all 10 of the medical schools in Texas, a JAMP requirement; take the MCAT; and then interview with each medical school in Texas. Pending her MCAT score, she will be matched to one of the medical schools. Once she graduates from HPU, she will attend medical school for four years and then participate in a residency program for three to five years to become board certified in a specialty of her choosing.

“It’s hard to decide which specialty to go into until you experience clinical observations of each,” said Justice. “I am considering hematology/oncology or infectious disease, and want to serve in the medical mission field.”

Dr. Hutchins shared her final thoughts about Justice and the JAMP program.

“We’re excited to see Hannah progress through JAMP as she prepares at HPU for medical school,” said Dr. Hutchins. “It is an excellent opportunity that we are happy to be part of here at HPU.”

For more information about JAMP, contact Dr. Kristen Hutchins in HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics at 325-649-8158 or


Cutline: HPU junior Hannah Justice has been accepted into the prestigious Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP).

HPU’s Horton to present senior recital Thursday

Josiah Horton 2016Howard Payne University senior Josiah Horton of Lockhart will present a vocal recital on Thursday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The recital is free and is open to the public.

Horton is a church music-vocal major and English minor. He is from the studio of Dr. Greg Church, professor of music.

“This program has been one of my favorites to build with a student,” said Dr. Church. “The music comes from several different musical periods and is quite challenging. It requires great musicality and sensitivity by both the singer and the pianist to be performed well.”

Recital selections include pieces from George Frederick Handel, Hugo Wolf, Erik Satie and Kurt Weill. Horton will also perform “Four Burns Songs” by Benjamin Brittain and “O wie ängstlich” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Accompanying Horton on the piano is Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and tenured professor of music.

“Mr. Horton and Dr. Wallace have put a significant amount of work into this recital,” said Dr. Church. “This will be a wonderful evening of music performed by two highly talented musicians.”

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


Cutline: HPU senior Josiah Horton will present a vocal recital on Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel.