News Archives

HPU Student Speaker Bureau wins TIFA debate championship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

HPU hosting juried student art exhibition through March 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

HPU faculty and staff raise heart health awareness on campus

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

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

HPU receives Tree Campus USA recognition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HPU athletic training students compete at SWATA workshop

SWATA team 2017 BROWNWOOD – February 27, 2017 – Seven Howard Payne University students majoring in athletic training participated in the ninth annual Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association (SWATA) competency workshop and quiz bowl at the end of January. The event took place on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos.

HPU students who attended the conference were senior Ruth Davis from Cibolo, senior Corey Martinez from Bangs, senior Dezeray Tafte from Eastland, senior Elizabeth Fargo from Saginaw, senior William Rangel-Alfaro from San Antonio, junior Dustin Bachus from Edna and junior Ariana Rehm from Uhland.

This was the first time all HPU athletic training upperclassmen were able to participate in this event. HPU is one of 17 professional athletic training programs in SWATA, which includes graduate and undergraduate programs from Texas and Arkansas. The workshop is designed to increase the students’ professional and clinical skills as well as help them prepare for the certification exam.

The quiz bowl is a competition in the style of a game show made up of teams of three from accredited schools in SWATA. HPU’s team consisted of seniors Davis, Martinez and Tafte. They competed with teams from universities including The University of Texas, Texas State University, Texas A&M University, Hardin-Simmons University, Baylor University, The University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Lutheran University. The winning team from the quiz bowl gets the opportunity to compete in a similar competition at the National Athletic Trainers Association meeting this summer.

“I am really proud of our quiz bowl team,” said Mike Terrill, director of HPU’s Athletic Training Education Program. “They competed very well and represented the quality of education we provide at Howard Payne.”

For more information about the Athletic Training Education Program, contact HPU’s School of Education at 325-649-8203 or visit


Cutline: HPU students competed in the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association quiz bowl. Pictured from left are seniors Corey Martinez, Ruth Davis and Dezeray Tafte.

San Saba’s Leigh Ann Glaze named HPU registrar

Leigh Ann Glaze for webBROWNWOOD – February 27, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently named Leigh Ann Glaze, former public school administrator, as the university’s registrar. Glaze began her new role in January and follows the recently retired Lana Wagner.

Glaze spent 26 years in public education, most recently serving nine years as superintendent at San Saba Independent School District. In addition, she served as assistant superintendent and school counselor in San Saba and taught English at Jim Ned Consolidated Independent School District.

She spoke of her decision to start a new career in higher education so quickly following her retirement from public education.

“I know myself too well,” she said. “I would go stir crazy if I actually retired.”

As HPU registrar, Glaze handles academic records and has varied other responsibilities, many of which overlap with her public school administrator roles. Additionally, she oversees the operations and staff of the Office of the Registrar, including Bobbie Price, certification coordinator and graduation assistant; Martha Fothergill, coordinator of records and reports; and Kelly Franke, coordinator of transfer credits and records.

“These ladies have been great at helping me get settled into the job,” Glaze said. “Everyone at HPU has been so kind and helpful.”

Dr. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer, expressed his delight in Glaze’s appointment.

“We’re blessed to have found someone like Leigh Ann to fill the void after Lana’s retirement,” he said. “Her experience and skill set, complemented by her warmth and friendliness, make her a perfect fit at HPU.”

Glaze and her husband, Scott, have one daughter, Brittany.


Cutline: HPU recently appointed Leigh Ann Glaze as the university’s registrar.

HPU theatre to premier play by alumnus and staff member Matthew Rutkowski

Salted With Fire poster for webBROWNWOOD – February 24, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre will open performances next week of “Salted With Fire,” a play by Matthew Rutkowski, alumnus and admission counselor for HPU’s El Paso Center. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, through Saturday, March 4, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. The HPU Theatre is located at 202 Whaley Street in Brownwood.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and free for all HPU faculty, staff and students with university ID. For tickets or more information, call the university box office at 325-649-8516. Additional performances will be held at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview on Tuesday, March 6, at 8:00 p.m. as part of the Christian University Theatre Festival.

Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, chair of the Department of Theatre and professor of theatre, directs the play and Nicholas Ewen, assistant professor of theatre, is the scenic and lighting designer. Both are excited about bringing the play to life on the HPU stage.

“It is a first-rate drama filled with great humor and genuine human tragedy,” said Dr. Humfeld. “Most importantly, it is a spellbinding exploration of the Christian soul in the light of personal sin, redemption and community interaction and interdependence.”

“Salted With Fire” is inspired by the book of the same name by George MacDonald, associate of authors such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The play poses the question, “Why does God let bad things happen?”

“My hope is the audience leaves with the perspective of a good and loving God who walks with us through the difficult times,” Rutkowski said.

Ewen said the opportunity to present an excellent Christian drama by an HPU alumnus is a unique experience. Rutkowski was a student in Ewen’s 2010 online playwriting course.

“Matt is a very talented playwright and just reading the script touched my heart,” Ewen said. “I told Matt that I thought his play would be perfect for the HPU Theatre, but that it would help if there were a few more roles for our student actors.”

Rutkowski was thrilled with the prospect of expanding the cast and, after a few edits, both Ewen and Dr. Humfeld agreed the play was ready for production at HPU and as the university’s entry in the Christian University Theatre Festival (CUTF).

“Touring this show for CUTF is exactly the kind of work that we have been longing to do,” Ewen said. “This proves that there are great Christian plays out there and that HPU is committed to bringing performances that not only have quality and depth but also are a beautiful reflection of our faith and values.”

Dr. Adrial Gil, director of HPU’s El Paso Center and associate professor of business, said the faculty, staff and students of the El Paso Center are extremely proud of Rutkowski.

“He is a creative and passionate young man that is sharing his God-given talents with others,” Dr. Gil said. “We are grateful he is a part of our team!”

Matt Rutkowski for webRutkowski, who is involved in theatre in El Paso, shared insight into his experiences in writing “Salted With Fire.”

“Prayer has always been at the heart of every play I’ve written,” he said. “‘Salted With Fire’ began late one night as I asked the Lord if He wanted our El Paso theatre troupe to continue. We had just finished one production as I stumbled upon the works of George MacDonald. I instantly connected with his stories of faithfulness through the storms of life.”

Rutkowski began drafting the material for the play and praying for the Lord’s direction when he felt God leading him in framing the play differently than the book.

“Thus, the final script became less ‘based on’ and more ‘inspired by’ the original source,” he said.

Rutkowski additionally found guidance from his mentors at HPU.

“Professor Ewen and Dr. Humfeld have been such amazing people to work with and I so appreciate their vision,” he said. “They have directions I never would have considered. They see the staging in such a neat way. This is why I love theatre. It is alive and moving and constantly changing with the interpretation of others.”

Above all, Rutkowski said, he feels humbled to know there are people investing their hearts and valuable time in the production.

“The directors are devising the best means of transferring the words to the stage,” he said. “The crew is working out how to technically support the story. The actors are finding personal meaning and voice in the words.”

Dr. Humfeld said the play has sparked positive discussions in class and in rehearsal.

“Our students are really internalizing the play and analyzing in depth the meaning of every scene,” she said. “It is gratifying to see that level of interest and commitment to the production. They are doing an excellent job and I am so proud of them. I truly believe the audience members will be entertained and inspired by this production.”


Cutline: HPU’s Department of Theatre will open performances next week of “Salted With Fire,” a play by Matthew Rutkowski, alumnus and admission counselor for HPU’s El Paso Center.

HPU’s Symphonic Band to present spring concert

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Symphonic Band will present its first concert of the spring semester on Tuesday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

“The band will present an exciting program titled ‘Around the World in 60 Minutes,’” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. “This concert will celebrate worldwide musical styles, and the band will exhibit different cultural flavors and experiences from western European countries, the Americas and beyond.”

Selections include “Four Scottish Dances” by Malcolm Arnold, “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Grainger, “Wedding Dance” by Jacques Press, “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” by Richard Wagner, “La Fiesta Mexicana” by H. Owen Reed and many more.

There is no admission charge for this concert and the public is encouraged to attend.

“Bring a friend and come enjoy an evening of exciting music compliments of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts and the Symphonic Band,” said Ash. “You won’t want to miss it.”

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

HPU extends call for entries for “I-10 Two” contemporary juried-art exhibition

I-10 Two logoBROWNWOOD – February 22, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Art has extended a call for entries for its upcoming juried-art exhibition, “I-10 Two: A National Exhibition of Contemporary Two-Dimensional Art.” Artists may enter up to three pieces of art and entries will be accepted through March 20.

This exhibition is open to all living U.S. contemporary artists residing above and below Interstate 10, the southernmost transcontinental highway ranging from San Diego, California, through several states including Texas and onward to the east in Jacksonville, Florida. Submissions of all 2-d art forms in abstract, non-representational/non-objective and realist imagery will be considered.

The exhibition’s organizer, David Harmon, chair and professor of art, shared his thoughts on the event.

“HPU’s Department of Art is excited to provide this exhibition for a second time – this time in the spring semester,” Harmon said. “We hope to have a large variety of contemporary 2-d artwork entries from all over the area and around the country. This is a great opportunity for the university, those entering artwork and patrons who will visit the exhibit. Art is a wonderful thing.”

The exhibition will be held March 29 through May 5 at the Doakie Day Art Center, located on the HPU campus on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood. The gallery is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please visit for further information including entry guidelines. Direct all inquiries to David Harmon at 325-649-8088 or


HPU launches Biomedical Science Program for students pursuing human-health careers

Hannah Justice at microscopeBROWNWOOD – February 20, 2017 – Howard Payne University announces the launch of a four-year Biomedical Science Program for students pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, biomedical engineering, biomedical research and other human-health fields.

The rigorous program, set within HPU’s distinctive Christian liberal arts framework, exceeds requirements for most health professions programs. In addition to completing a robust slate of academic coursework, scholars in the program will experience medical internships, skills clinics, mock interviews, mentorship with local health professionals and program visits to various professional schools in Texas.

“Many professional schools encourage applicants to take additional undergraduate coursework beyond the required basics to better prepare them for the medical field,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, program director and associate professor of biology. “HPU’s Biomedical Science Program provides the experiences and coursework that help develop strong candidates for admission to these schools. We’re excited to connect this program with health professionals in our community and create opportunities for our students to learn as much as possible about their future careers.”

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and interview with an admissions committee for consideration into the program. Hannah Justice, junior from Brownwood, was the first student admitted into the program.

“I am excited to be a part of this program since it will take a specific focus on students who are preparing to go into the health field,” she said. “I will get to learn key concepts and skill sets that most students wouldn’t get to see until in a graduate program. One of the most important benefits to me is the mentorship that comes from the faculty. They have invested so much time in pushing me to achieve excellence in my studies and outside of the classroom as well.”

To view degree requirements and suggested four-year courses sequences, visit For more information, contact Dr. Hutchins at 325-649-8158 or


Cutline: Hannah Justice of Brownwood is the first student admitted into HPU’s new Biomedical Science Program.