News Archives

HPU’s accelerated Christian studies program provides the opportunity to earn two degrees in five years

Dr. Wheelington grad class 2018BROWNWOOD – May 31, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies offers its majors the opportunity to complete either a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry or a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry one year after completing an undergraduate degree.

Students who have completed 75 hours of classes and have a 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply for entry to the accelerated master’s program. In the accelerated program, students take 12 hours of graduate classes as a part of their undergraduate studies. These hours also count toward a 42-hour graduate degree.

Anna Lauren Jeffers is a graduate student in the program set to graduate in December 2018. She is currently serving at West University Baptist Church in Houston as the KidStuff preschool ministry director. Because of this position, she has been able to see how the program is benefiting her.

“I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to work towards my master’s degree while also being surrounded and supported by professors who cared about me as a student, a person and a minister,” said Jeffers. “I am able to be a better minister because of this investment.”

The accelerated master’s program was begun in 2012 to allow Christian studies majors to efficiently earn a graduate degree. At HPU, there is financial assistance available to graduate students in the School of Christian Studies.

“We offer a church match scholarship for grad students,” said Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of graduate programs in the School of Christian Studies. “If a church gives $100 per hour, HPU will match that.”

He added that there is an additional benefit for students of the accelerated program. Typically, graduate courses in the School of Christian Studies will include students who are currently serving as full-time ministers in churches.

“When you are in this accelerated program, you are in classes with our other grad students, so you begin to build this great network of fellow students,” said Dr. Gramling. “If you can make some lifelong friends in ministry, they will be a wonderful network of encouragement and support to you in the days to come.”

Another important feature is the focus of the Christian studies faculty, staff and students.

“This is the part in the journey where students get to come and be prepared for what it is God is calling them to do,” said Dr. Gramling. “We do not want you to major in Christian studies unless you sense God has put it in your heart to do that. That is a great thing for us though because we get to welcome in men and women who feel called by God to a certain ministry vocation.”

Jeffers noted the ways her classes in the accelerated program have taught her and encouraged growth.

“I learned valuable lessons in the classroom that challenged me to think deeper and grow in knowledge,” she said. “I also learned equally important lessons out of the classroom about serving and loving people by watching the professors at HPU embody their teaching.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Undergraduate students at HPU have the opportunity to take graduate courses through the accelerated Christian studies program.

HPU students complete semester-long criminal justice internships

CRJ internsBROWNWOOD – May 30, 2018 – Ten Howard Payne University students were recently honored for the successful completion of criminal justice internships. The students and their supervising agencies were recognized at the end of the spring 2018 semester at a luncheon held at Section Hand Steakhouse in Brownwood.

Criminal justice majors are required to complete 150 hours of service with an agency or organization which reflects three credit hours toward their degrees. Internships include working with “at risk” students and adults at local, state and federal agencies as well as positions with law firms, law enforcement agencies and many other opportunities that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program, expressed her appreciation to the individuals who mentored the HPU students throughout the length of their internships.

“Their guidance is very beneficial to the interns,” Humeniuk said. “Our students are well poised to enter careers in the field of criminal justice due to their own hard work and the mentorship from their supervisors. The men and women from our supervising agencies go above and beyond to model the true meaning of how to serve and protect. Our criminal justice program and our interns are truly blessed.”

Criminal justice interns for the 2017-2018 academic year included Amber Carroll, junior from Brownwood, intern at Hope Home Ministry; Andria Garza, senior from San Antonio, intern at Steele Law Firm; Matthew Gomez, senior from Brownwood, intern at Comanche County Probation Department; Alsatia Jowers, senior from Brownwood, intern at New Horizons; Keeley McKinney, senior from Poth, intern at the Ron Jackson Unit; Krystal Moreno, senior from Marion, intern at the Brownwood Police Department; Jacob Salazar, senior from Lockhart, intern at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office; Kyle Steele, senior from Brownwood, intern at the Brown County District Attorney’s Office; Michael Thomas, junior from Brownwood, intern at the Texas Department of Public Safety; and Jeremiah Wenzel, senior from Brownwood, intern at Comanche County Probation Department.

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Cutline: HPU’s criminal justice interns are pictured with their supervisors and HPU faculty and staff. From left to right are Gina Gibbs, instructor of criminal justice; Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program; Rebecca Cadena, supervisor at Ron Jackson Unit; Keeley McKinney, intern; Kyle Steele, intern; Alsatia Jowers, intern; Matthew Gomez, intern; Amber Carroll, intern; Jeremiah Wenzel, intern; Krystal Moreno, intern; Michael Thomas, intern; Cynthia Givan, departmental administrative assistant; and Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry.

Not pictured are interns Andria Garza and Jacob Salazar and supervisors Chassidy Carroll (Hope Home Ministry), Sgt. Scott Fraiser (Texas Department of Public Safety), Assistant Chief James Fuller (Brownwood Police Department), Regina Johnson (Comanche County Adult Probation), Chief Mike Lummus (Travis County District Attorney’s Office), Michael Murray (Brown County District Attorney’s Office), Todd Steele (Steele Law Firm) and Niki Terway (New Horizons).

Kaitlyn Bush pursues ministry and music at HPU

Kaitlyn BushBROWNWOOD – May 30, 2018 – Kaitlyn Bush has long had a connection to Howard Payne University. The HPU senior, majoring in practical theology and minoring in music, said living just a few miles outside of Brownwood meant the university was a familiar feature throughout her early years.

She says her youth pastors, HPU alumni Dustin Wright ’12 and Seth Pitman ’11, MATM ’15, brought their students to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’s discipleship camp Super Summer at HPU. These trips were some of her early experiences at the university.

“While at Super Summer, I got to meet members of the Christian studies department who were helping,” she said. “It seemed like a really encouraging atmosphere.”

This encouraging atmosphere and the closeness of the HPU community, found in the relationships of faculty, staff and students, is a key part of what makes the university special in Bush’s eyes.

“I feel like everyone cares about everyone,” she said. “Where else are you going to see that?”

She has found the School of Christian Studies to be full of great people with meaningful experiences. The faculty’s familiarity with a variety of ministries imparts a unique value to the education that they offer their students.

“What our Christian studies faculty are teaching us is important on its own, but also a lot of it comes from their personal experiences,” she said. “What they have experienced is not going to be very different from what we are going through or will go through as ministers, so their knowledge is very helpful.”

When she first came to HPU, Bush knew God was leading her to pursue a life serving in music ministry.

“I came to HPU to become equipped for music ministry and decided I wanted to focus on the ministry aspect of this and study toward a major in the Christian Studies department,” she said. “However, because music is a part of my calling and also a passion of mine, I chose to minor in music.”

Bush is active in the HPU music department in addition to pursuing a life of ministry. In the fall, she plays the mellophone and marching horn while also serving as a drum major. During the spring concert season, she plays in HPU’s Symphonic Band.

Music has played a significant role in her life. While in high school, Bush said she benefited from her participation in her high school’s band. In addition to spurring personal growth, music brings her enjoyment even when practicing.

“In music, there are compositions from great composers who express feeling through music,” said Bush. “Knowing this and getting to play that expression is meaningful, especially when the expression aligns with your life and experience.”

Thanks to the faculty of HPU’s music department, she has been able to follow God’s leading in an atmosphere conducive to learning about a subject she loves.

“The professors in the music department are so talented and knowledgeable,” said Bush. “They care about our lives, not just about what we are playing, but what is going on in our personal lives.”

As she nears the final year of her time at HPU, Bush reflected on what the university has meant to her life.

“Hopefully when you leave these walls you are a reflection of what you are learning and a reflection of the God you serve,” she said. “The person I was when first arriving on campus two years ago is different than the person I am now. I am definitely shaping and forming as a person and it’s because of the people pouring into my life.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Kaitlyn Bush has chosen to follow the passions God has given her, pursuing a life in music ministry.

National band sorority and fraternity hold district convention at Howard Payne University

TBS & KKY ConventionBROWNWOOD – May 29, 2018 – The Southwest District Convention of national band sorority Tau Beta Sigma and fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi was recently held at Howard Payne University.

Delta Upsilon and Zeta Beta, HPU’s branches of Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi, served as the hosts of the weekend’s events. More than 700 fraternity and sorority members, representing institutions from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, met at the HPU campus to take part in various events and traditions.

“Howard Payne was represented well through the efforts of these dedicated students,” said Alexia Riggs, Tau Beta Sigma sponsor and HPU dean of libraries. “The national officers noted not only the great facilities but the servant’s heart these two chapters have as they made the weekend a great experience for those in attendance.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: National band sorority and fraternity Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi recently held the Southwest District Convention at Howard Payne University.

HPU freshman receives Sheriffs’ Association of Texas scholarship

Ratliff and HillBROWNWOOD – May 25, 2018 – William Ratliff, Howard Payne University freshman from Kyle, has been awarded a scholarship by the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas. Sheriff Vance Hill of Brown County presented the award to Ratliff during a luncheon held at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Ratliff is a criminal justice major and a member of the HPU Yellow Jacket football team.

“I would like to thank the Sheriffs’ Association for granting me this scholarship and Sheriff Hill for presenting it to me,” said Ratliff.

The Sheriffs’ Association of Texas offers scholarships to eligible students pursuing an academic degree at a college or university. In addition to the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas scholarships, several others are made available through the generosity of individuals or organizations. These funds are managed by the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas to award to qualified students. The scholarships are awarded once in the spring semester and once in the fall semester of each year.

Each applicant must have a parent in law enforcement in Texas; must be a high school graduate and have completed at least one semester of college; must be enrolled in a college or university, in an academic course of study, as a full-time student during the semester the application is submitted; must be younger than 25 years of age at time of application; must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5; and must not have been convicted of a crime which would make an individual ineligible for employment in his/her field of study.

For the spring 2018 semester, the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas awarded 16 scholarships to students throughout the state.

“Will Ratliff is an outstanding young man who is a blessing to have in the classroom,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program. “I am grateful to Sheriff Hill for all his support with the criminal justice program at HPU and for representing the Sheriffs’ Association that is so generous with its funds.”

For more information about the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, visit www.sheriffstx.org.

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Cutline: Sheriff Vance Hill of Brown County (right) recently presented the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas scholarship to HPU freshman William Ratliff.

HPU criminal justice student assesses mock crime scene

Mock Crime Scene 2018 2BROWNWOOD – May 24, 2018 – Howard Payne University sophomore Cody Ewing, criminal justice major from Valley Mills, gathers evidence at a mock crime scene where an alleged assault took place in the office of Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the Criminal Justice Program. The mock crime scene project is part of HPU’s Criminal Investigation course that helps students become familiar with procedures on gathering evidence that can be defended in a court of law. Bob Pacatte, director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety and chief of police, was instrumental in setting up the mock crime scene for the students.

Cutline: HPU criminal justice student assesses mock crime scene

HPU’s Dr. Derek Smith leads forensic science workshop for local elementary students

Dr. Derek Smith Forensic Science WorkshopBROWNWOOD – May 23, 2018 – During the spring 2018 semester, Howard Payne University’s Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry, conducted a forensic science workshop for 35 local elementary students at the Texas 4-H Conference Center at Lake Brownwood.

The workshop was sponsored by the Andy Roddick Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide educational enrichment for low-income students.

The young investigators undertook blood droplet height-angle analysis as well as fingerprint collection and development with enhancement powders.

Dr. Smith praised the purpose of the Andy Roddick Foundation.

“These workshops provide an excellent opportunity for children of any social status –
disadvantaged or not – to explore current fields of study and form a familiarity that can lead to future exploration and professional opportunities,” he said.

In past years, Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, has presented workshops on astronomy and star viewing to similar groups with equal success.

“These opportunities are important for the participants and our faculty alike, as well as the larger community,” Dr. Bryant commented. “We are honored that education- and enrichment-based groups would invite us to participate.”

Drs. Smith and Bryant agree that the School of Science and Mathematics looks forward to leading another science-based, hands-on workshop next year and express thanks to the funding organizations and facilitators for their sponsorship.

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Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Derek Smith conducts a forensic science workshop for 35 local elementary students.

HPU Sumners Scholars attend public policy lecture by Alan M. Dershowitz

BROWNWOOD – May 23, 2018 – Four students from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently attended a public policy lecture through the Institute for Policy Innovation. Alan M. Dershowitz, acclaimed civil liberties attorney, spoke on the topic “The Constitution: Rights and Wrongs” as part of the IPI’s Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series.

Students attending the lecture were Rachel Hughes, senior from Llano; Tyler Olin, junior from Howe; Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne; and Rachel White, senior from Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

HPU Sumners Scholars are selected for the competitive four-semester program after an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation. The foundation provides a $7,500-per-semester stipend for its participating students to be used for tuition, fees, books or room and board. Additionally, the students are invited to attend annual leadership and policy analysis conferences, such as this one, to supplement their learning.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.

“The Sumners Foundation is committed to promoting programs that increase understanding of civic responsibility and personal potential which is of great interest and importance to faculty and students in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of the Honors Academy and chair and professor of history and government. “We’re very thankful that our students have opportunities such as these through the Sumners Foundation.”

More information about the Academy and the Sumners program may be found at www.hputx.edu/academy and www.hputx.edu/sumners, respectively.

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HPU honors six students for servant leadership

Nat Tracy Servant Leader awards 2018, Josh Dykes, Jordan PitmanBROWNWOOD – May 22, 2018 – Six Howard Payne University students were recently honored for acts of servant leadership on campus and in the community. The awards were presented during HPU’s annual Servant Leadership Program.

The Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was presented to spring 2018 graduates Josh Dykes and Jordan Pitman. Dykes, a native of Mount Pleasant, majored in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and youth ministry with a minor in Spanish. Pitman, a native of Bangs, majored in cross-cultural studies with a minor in psychology.

HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to juniors Jessica Catlett, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social work major from Alleyton; Sarah Fernandez, education major from Goliad; Caleb Kostreva, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social science major from Clifton, Colorado; and Emma Reed, Guy D. Newman Honors academy major and family studies major from Arlington.

“Formally recognizing servant leadership is an indication that it is an attribute highly valued by the university,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “As a Christian university, we cherish the type of servant leadership demonstrated most clearly by Jesus Christ.”

The Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was established in 1998 to honor the life of the late Dr. Nat Tracy, a member of HPU’s Bible faculty from 1950 to 1975.

Dykes is the son of Chris and Martha Dykes of Mount Pleasant. He was involved in the Ministerial Alliance, Student Government Association, Student Appeals Committee, Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), BSM state lead team, Mock Trial and Model United Nations and Delta Epsilon Omega Christian-service fraternity. He also served as a resident assistant in one of the men’s residence halls. Dykes received the Servant Leadership Award in 2017, made honorable mention as Model United Nations delegate in 2017, received the Model United Nations Distinguished Delegation Award in the fall of 2017 and was the outstanding youth ministry student in 2017. He serves in youth ministry at Southside Baptist Church in Brownwood and plans to spend the next year doing mission work in Gracias, Honduras, with 61 Isaiah Ministries.

Pitman is the daughter of Seth and Amy Pitman of Bangs. She was involved in the Ministerial Alliance in which she served as vice president and president, Pi Theta Chi Christian-service sorority, BSM, BSM state lead team, Jacket Ambassadors, Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Society and Gamma Beta Phi honor society. She also served as a student worker for HPU’s University Services office running A/V for campus events. Pitman has served as a Mission Friends leader to children at Zephyr Baptist Church in Zephyr, a youth worker at First Baptist Church in Bangs and part of HPU’s summer staff working with and serving the needs of the university’s summer camps. She was honored as a Currie-Strickland Scholar in Christian Ethics and Theology in 2017 and a Young Maston Scholar in 2018. Pitman plans to finish her Master of Arts degree in theology and ministry at HPU in spring 2019. After completing her education, she plans to work in immediate-disaster-response ministry by running an organization that can monitor weather patterns and deploy relief and aid teams soon after disasters occur.

HPU Servant Leadership Awards 2018Established in 2007 by the Moore Foundation and Barney II Foundation, the HPU Servant Leadership Award recognizes student excellence in the areas of service and leadership. A $1,000 scholarship is provided to each recipient of the award, and each student designates $250 of the scholarship award to be given to his or her chosen charity.

Catlett is the daughter of Bart and Amy Catlett of Alleyton. A Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, she is also involved in the Social Work Club, BSM leadership team, Gamma Beta Phi honor society and Spring Sing committee for 2017. Catlett has also served as a resident assistant in the women’s residence hall on campus. She volunteers in the children’s AWANA program at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood and at Good Samaritan Ministries in Brownwood. She has been an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars since 2013. After she graduates, Catlett wants to become a licensed social worker.

Fernandez is the daughter of Lee and Nycki Fernandez of Goliad. She is involved in the BSM and Pi Theta Chi Christian-service sorority, in which she is the organization’s vice president for philanthropy and missions. Fernandez interns at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood and has participated many times in the “Love Brownwood” ministry that her church hosts as well as other mission- and child-related ministries. After she graduates, she plans to be a teacher and also hopes to work with victims of human-trafficking in whatever way God leads, whether by volunteering or being part of an organization that spreads awareness.

Kostreva is the son of Kyle and Michelle Kostreva of Clifton, Colorado. He is involved in the BSM through its drama ministry, community groups, student-led worship and leadership team. He is also involved in the Alpha Psi Omega theatre organization, HPU theatre, Mock Trial team and the Model United Nations team. Kostreva is a resident assistant at one of the men’s residence halls on campus and is part of the Student Government Association as well as the Christian Association of Student Leaders 2019 conference planning committee. He also studied abroad in China during 2016 and had the opportunity to volunteer at the Shanghai Healing Home, an orphanage for disabled and special-needs children. When he graduates, Kostreva plans to engage in humanitarian aid and policy development for underserved and oppressed populations throughout the world.

Reed is the daughter of Philip and Regina Reed of Arlington. A Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, she is also involved in the Model United Nations team, Gamma Beta Phi honor society and Pi Theta Chi Christian-service sorority in which she serves as meeting facilitator. Reed was also the Christian Association of Student Leaders executive committee president. After she graduates, Reed plans to become a Child Life specialist working in children’s hospitals with kids and their families. She will pursue a graduate degree and certification from the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Nominations for both the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award and the HPU Servant Leadership Award are solicited each spring from HPU employees and students.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutlines:

  1. Nat Tracy Servant Leader Awards were presented to HPU seniors Josh Dykes and Jordan Pitman.

2.  HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to HPU juniors, from left, Jessica Catlett, Sarah Fernandez, Caleb Kostreva and Emma Reed.

Three HPU seniors honored at annual Sumners Scholars Banquet

Sumners Scholars graduates 2018BROWNWOOD – May 21, 2018 – Three graduating seniors from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were honored during the recent Sumners Scholars Banquet. The students, who were selected during their junior year as Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholars, were each awarded a plaque and a copy of the book “The Wisdom of Hatton W. Sumners and The Sumners Foundation Scholarships.”

Honored for completing four semesters as Sumners Scholars were Rachel Hughes of Llano, Isaac Sommers of Boerne and Rachel White of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The students also took the opportunity to express gratitude for the opportunities provided to them by the foundation.

The highly competitive and prestigious Sumners Scholar program offers students the opportunity to attend special lectures, seminars and conferences featuring world-renowned leaders from both public and private sectors. It also provides a generous scholarship of $7,500 per semester for two years. Students from the Honors Academy are selected following an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.

“We’re very thankful for the Sumners Foundation and its continued support of HPU and its students,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy.

For more information about the Sumners Scholars program at HPU, visit www.hputx.edu/sumners.

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Cutline: Three HPU students were honored during the university’s annual Sumners Scholars Banquet. Left to right: Rachel White, Rachel Hughes and Isaac Sommers.