News Archives

HPU Model United Nations wins Distinguished Delegation award at national conference

By Jimmy Abbatiello, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – December 7, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Model United Nations team recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to represent Spain at the National MUN conference, which involved more than 1,000 participants from universities around the world. The team was presented a Distinguished Delegation award, with its representation of Spain among the top 23 percent of the more than 125 countries represented.

HPU students majoring in political science, history, family studies and communication met with others interested in developing possible solutions to world crises through a detailed recreation of the different bodies of the United Nations. MUN conferences have been established around the world, allowing students to learn how the United Nations functions internally and immerse themselves by becoming representatives of countries with views possibly different than their own. Delegates are expected to research their respective countries’ positions on certain subjects and debate from that perspective during formal and informal sessions. The end results are resolutions outlining how to effectively solve current problems which are submitted, debated and voted upon with the same procedures the actual UN utilizes.

Topics discussed in the various councils included the implication of technology on global security, international counterterrorism measures, empowering youth through sustainable development and promoting nuclear safety and security.

“Model United Nations, as always, opens doors for deeper cross-cultural communication,” said Braxton Clark, senior social science major from Southlake. “Learning the viewpoints of foreign students and working with them toward common goals allows us to grow as academics and become more well-rounded global citizens.”

Due to the timing of the conference, the group visited the Capitol in the midst of the presidential election. Some members even witnessed the president-elect’s motorcade as he left his first audience with Senate leadership. The team also was able to tour the facilities of the United States Department of Agriculture, meet and network with legal and communication staff and learn more about the day-to-day work of the executive branch. The delegates explored the major historical and political sites of Washington, D.C., including the National Mall, Library of Congress, National Archives, Smithsonian Museums and Mt. Vernon.

In addition to Clark, team members included Jimmy Abbatiello, senior from Kerrville; Mike Hord, freshman from Montgomery; Augusta Johnson, junior from Gatesville; Joel Justice, junior from Brownwood; Cody Perrin, senior from Eastland; Emma Reed, sophomore from Arlington; Sydney Spencer, senior from Georgetown; Penny Stehlik, freshman from Round Rock; and Caitlin Wood, senior from Miles.


Cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently received a Distinguished Delegation award at a Washington, D.C., conference. Team members, pictured at the Potomac River making the HPU “sting ’em” gesture, are Cody Perrin, Joel Justice, Mike Hord, Caitlin Wood, Sydney Spencer, Braxton Clark, Penny Stehlik, Jimmy Abbatiello, Emma Reed and Augusta Johnson.

HPU students raise funds for missions through Mustache Wheel of Doom

kelley-mustache-wheel-of-doom-for-webBROWNWOOD – December 7, 2016 – Several Howard Payne University men recently stepped up to the Baptist Student Ministry’s Mustache Wheel of Doom to learn the fate of their facial hair. The popular annual event raised more than $9,000 for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions.

Teams of students, along with their faculty and staff sponsors, grew their beards throughout the month of November while raising money for the organization which sends students from universities across Texas, including HPU, to mission fields around the world.

The two teams that raised the least amount of money spun the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shaved in whichever style the wheel determined. The choices included stripes, half-beards, “No-Tee Goatees” and more.

“Mustache Wheel of Doom is a fun event with a big impact on missions,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. “HPU students serve through Go Now Missions each year so we are excited to help support the organization.”

student-half-beard-for-webCutlines: Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of organizational psychology, reacts after spinning the Mustache Wheel of Doom.

Paden Seidel, freshman from Proctor, shows off his half-beard following the Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser.

HPU El Paso students awarded Nassar scholarship

Nassar and studentsBROWNWOOD – December 7, 2016 – Three students from Howard Payne University’s El Paso Center were recently awarded the Dr. Richard W. Nassar Annual Scholarship. The $500 scholarship is awarded to three deserving students each year.

This year’s recipients were Miguel A. Estrada, sophomore criminal justice major; Fernando L. Fernandez, freshman ministry major; and Veronica Quintero, senior business administration major.

Dr. Nassar, a published author and poet, was born in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1975. He is an active member and ordained deacon of El Paso’s First Baptist Church. Dr. Nassar has focused his ministry on establishing a dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews. In December 2015, HPU granted Dr. Nassar its highest honor, the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.

“Dr. Nassar has done great things for the Kingdom of God in El Paso and around the world,” said Dr. Adrian Gil, director of the El Paso Center and professor of business. “We’re pleased to award the scholarships in his honor.”

To learn more about scholarship opportunities at HPU’s El Paso Center, call 915-533-8500 or e-mail


Cutline: Three HPU El Paso students were recently awarded the Dr. Richard W. Nassar Annual Scholarship. Left to right: Dr. Richard Nassar, Miguel Estrada, Veronica Quintero and Fernando Fernandez.

HPU Commencement scheduled for Saturday

BROWNWOOD – December 6, 2016 – Howard Payne University will confer 100 degrees during its December Commencement ceremony this Saturday, December 10, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, and other university representatives will confer the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Dr. Terry Carter, 1974 HPU graduate and professor of Christian history and ministry at Ouachita Baptist University, will deliver the charge to the graduates.

Additional Commencement program participants include Corey Ash ’92, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Donnie Auvenshine ’75, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies; Shaefer McIntyre Church, graduating senior; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, faculty president and associate professor of physical science; Jane Collette ’81, president of HPU’s Alumni Association; Dr. Gary Gramling ’81, director of HPU’s graduate program in youth ministry and professor of Christian studies; Dr. Millard J. Kimery, dean of the School of Humanities and professor of English; Dr. Nancy Kucinski, dean of graduate studies and professor of management at Hardin-Simmons University; Dr. Brad Lemler, dean of the School of Business and professor of accounting; Dr. Matthew McNiece ’03, director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and associate professor of history; John Nickols, assistant professor of history and government; Dr. Debra Powell, associate professor of business administration; Carter Sharpe, chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Lana Wagner ’97, registrar; and the HPU Instrumental Ensemble.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, December 9, by Chime Out, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, symbolizing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to those students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. Chime Out begins at 6 p.m. at the university’s Mims Auditorium.

HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art program to host “Christmas at Heartland Mall”

BROWNWOOD – December 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art program will host its 22nd annual “Christmas at Heartland Mall” celebration on Sunday, December 4, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Heartland Mall in Early.

“Students in the program will present some wonderful vocal and instrumental Christmas selections to family and friends,” said Diane Owens, director of the program and adjunct instructor in the School of Music and Fine Arts. “Please plan to join us for a musical Sunday afternoon at Heartland Mall.”

Additionally, the pre-college art students will have some of their recent work on exhibit for mall shoppers and other guests to see.

The event will be located at the main mall entrance near Sears.

The Pre-College Music and Art program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. For more information, contact Owens at (325) 649-8501 or

HPU debaters score several awards at championship tournament

SSB Team PhotoBROWNWOOD – December 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University debaters Christopher Freeland and Tyler Olin were semifinalists in parliamentary debate at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Fall Championship tournament held recently in Tyler. HPU competed against 23 universities.

The team of Freeland, sophomore biochemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Bangs, and Olin, sophomore social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, boosted the team’s overall rankings, allowing HPU to win second place in debate sweepstakes and fifth place in overall sweepstakes. Olin was also named top novice speaker in parliamentary debate.

Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake, was awarded third place overall debate speaker, and Isaac Sommers, senior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major, was named ninth place top debate speaker.

“Our team did exceptionally well,” said Dr. Julie Welker, Student Speaker Bureau team coach, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication Studies. “I’m proud of the way our team performed, and we are continuing to prepare for upcoming tournaments.”

Gabi McWhirter, senior theatre major from Brownwood, won fourth place in novice dramatic interpretation, and freshman Madi Neal, social science jurisprudence major from Chandler, won third place in novice impromptu speaking.

“Gabi and Madi are both new to our team and I’m thrilled at their excellent performances,” said Dr. Welker. “Breaking into novice finals at the fall championship tournament is always difficult, and these two competitors did a fantastic job at competition.”

HPU students also competed in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate format. Clark, Olin and Sommers all advanced to competition out-rounds. Clark won second place, Olin won third place and Sommers won fourth place in IPDA debate. HPU had three of the top four final places at the meet.

Students on the team also competed in individual events, including extemporaneous speaking (current events), impromptu speaking, prose, poetry, informative speaking, dramatic interpretation, duo interpretation and persuasive speaking.

Also competing were team members Morgan Ashmore, senior communication major from Weatherford; Andrea Balderas, junior biology major from Lytle; Erin Haley, freshman communication major from Mason; Mike Hord, freshman political science and social science jurisprudence major from Montgomery; Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington; Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd; Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth; and Haylee Williams, freshman communication major from Bellville.

The HPU team will next travel to Texas A&M University in February.


Cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau brought home several awards from a recent championship tournament. Pictured from left are: Dr. Julie Welker, Morgan Ashmore, Braxton Clark, Aimee Orozco, Isabella Stahrfisher, Madison Neal, Christopher Freeland, Gabi McWhirter, Erin Haley, Brooklyn Britton, Isaac Sommers, Andrea Balderas, Haylee Williams, Reagan Grisham, Tyler Olin and Ms. Sidni Kirby.

HPU’s Abbatiello and Cooper to present piano duet recital

BROWNWOOD – November 22, 2016 – Howard Payne University students James Abbatiello and Abraham Cooper will present a piano duet recital on Tuesday, November 29, at 7:00 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The recital is free of charge and open to the public.

Abbatiello is a senior communication major from Kerrville. Cooper is a senior biochemistry major and music performance piano major from Brownwood. Both Abbatiello and Cooper are students from the studio of Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and tenured professor of music at HPU.

Selections that will be performed are “Sonata for Piano Four Hands in D major, Op. 6” by Ludwig Van Beethoven, “Waltzes, Op. 39” by Johannes Brahms, “Microjazz Piano Duets” by Christopher Norton, “Sonata for Piano Four Hands” by Francis Poulenc and “C.S. Theme and Variations, Op. 6” by Randall Compton.

“Mr. Abbatiello and Mr. Cooper are fine young musicians and have gladly shared their music for special events here at HPU and in the community,” said Dr. Wallace. “This is their last semester as a piano team since Mr. Abbatiello will be graduating and the recital celebrates great music and a great partnership.”

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


Cutline: HPU’s Abraham Cooper, left, and James Abbatiello will present a piano duet recital November 29 in the university’s Grace Chapel.

HPU students tour important historical, cultural sites in San Antonio

BROWNWOOD – November 22, 2016 – Students from Howard Payne University’s Department of Modern Languages recently traveled to San Antonio to experience the Hispanic culture in the city and learn more about the history of Texas.

The students were accompanied by Dr. Danny Brunette-López, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, and Rafael Franco-Cuevas, instructor of Spanish.

“We visited several historical sites including the Mission San José, a beautiful mission established by the Spaniards in the eighteenth century,” said Dr. Brunette-López. “The students were able to visit the church there and learn the history of how the Spaniards and the indigenous people worked together to maintain this mission.”

The group then participated in a guided tour of Casa Navarro, the former home of José Antonio Navarro. Navarro was one of only three native-born Texans to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence.

“We were able to view his home and learn more about this man who was a very important figure in the battle for Texas’ independence and helped draft the Constitution of the Republic of Texas,” said Dr. Brunette-López.

The students and faculty concluded their trip by visiting the Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk.

Students on the trip included Vanessa Albert, sophomore from Irving; Balentín Carranco, senior from Georgetown; Lydia Conrad, sophomore from Brownwood; Sebastian Contreras, senior from Brownwood; Catrina Hooten, junior from Kerrville; Jason Washburn, junior from Brownwood; Kylee Wright, junior from Anson; and Katelyn Zimmer, junior from Shepherd.


Cutline: Students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Modern Languages recently toured several historical and cultural sites in San Antonio. They are pictured at the entrance of the Mission San José. Left to right: Kylee Wright, Catrina Hooten, Jason Washburn, Katelyn Zimmer, Rafael Franco-Cuevas, Lydia Conrad, Vanessa Albert, Sebastian Contreras, Dr. Danny Brunette-López and Balentín Carranco.

HPU pianist performs at Brownwood’s Oak Ridge Manor

BROWNWOOD – November 22, 2016 – Howard Payne University senior Abraham Cooper recently performed on piano for residents at Brownwood’s Oak Ridge Manor. Cooper is double-majoring in biochemistry and music performance piano.

“HPU students are blessed to engage with Oak Ridge Manor residents and others in the community through the arts,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “The community consistently is very supportive of our student performers and we are thankful for such opportunities to connect with others through beauty and creativity.”

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


Cutline: HPU senior Abraham Cooper recently performed on piano for residents at Brownwood’s Oak Ridge Manor.

HPU to participate in #GivingTuesday online giving event

givingtuesday-logoBROWNWOOD – November 22, 2016 – Next Tuesday, November 29, Howard Payne University will take part in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide. The event is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose of #GivingTuesday is to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

HPU’s goal for the 24-hour giving period is to receive financial donations from 127 individuals.

“We chose 127 because HPU has provided a Christ-centered higher education to students for 127 years since its establishment in 1889,” said Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations. “We hope you will be willing to participate and help us reach and exceed our goal of 127 gifts.”

Those interested in supporting HPU’s ongoing endeavor of delivering Christ-centered higher education may give online at

For more information, contact HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006.

About #GivingTuesday
92Y − a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around its core values of community service and giving back − conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2015, the fourth year of the movement, #GivingTuesday brought together more than 45,000 partners in 71 countries and helped raise nearly $117 million online in the US alone.

“We have been incredibly inspired by the generosity in time, efforts and ideas that have brought our concept for a worldwide movement into reality,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and executive director of 92Y. “As we embark on our fifth year of #GivingTuesday, we are encouraged by the early response from partners eager to continue making an impact in this global conversation.”

For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (, Facebook page ( or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on
social media.


Cutline: HPU will participate in #GivingTuesday, a 24-hour online giving event, next Tuesday, November 29.