News Archives

HPU faculty member loses battle with cancer

Dr. Mark PattonBROWNWOOD – April 7, 2014 – With great sadness, Howard Payne University announces the passing of Dr. Mark Patton, professor of business administration. Dr. Patton succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer on April 6, 2014. He was 59.

Dr. Patton is survived by his wife Dr. Lois Patton, HPU professor of business administration and director of the Master of Business Administration program, and the couple’s sons, Ryan and James, and their families.

“Hearts are very heavy on campus today, and they will be for quite some time,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “Mark was an irreplaceable part of the HPU family, and we mourn with Lois and their children.”

Drs. Mark and Lois Patton joined the HPU faculty in 2009. Dr. Mark Patton taught undergraduate and graduate courses in marketing, entrepreneurship and general business.

Throughout his illness, Dr. Patton continued to pursue his passion of teaching. He missed classes as little as possible, despite the toll cancer and chemotherapy treatments took on his body.

“Dr. Patton was greatly admired by the HPU faculty, staff and students who considered him a friend and mentor,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU provost and chief academic officer. “We take comfort in knowing that he is now restored to health and rejoicing in the Lord’s presence, and we ask for continued prayers for his family and friends.”

A private family funeral will be held in Tennessee. In lieu of cards and flowers, the family has requested that gifts be made to HPU in Dr. Patton’s honor.

Dr Mark Patton and class for web

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Photo cutline: Dr. Mark Patton (front row, third from left) poses for a photo last year with students in his Master of Business Administration class. At the end of the semester, the class honored him with a gift certificate for the Star of Texas Bed & Breakfast.

HPU Model United Nations team wins five awards at Rome conference

HPU Rome Model UN 2014 for webBy Kendyl Moore, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – April 4, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations team traveled to Rome during Spring Break to participate in a conference held March 13-17. HPU students won five delegate awards, more than any other university at the event. With more than 1,500 students in attendance, the Rome conference is one of the largest Model UN conferences in the world.

Model UN is a simulation in which students gather to emulate UN proceedings and topics of discussion. The opening ceremony was held at the actual meeting place of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. HPU students were assigned to represent the Russian Federation throughout the proceedings.

HPU awards included Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo, and Caleb McConnell, a senior from Burleson – Best Delegation in the General Assembly; Kerrie Ford, a senior from Houston – Best Delegate in the Security Council; Cody Perrin, a sophomore from Eastland – Best Delegate in the International Telecommunication Unit; Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo. – Best Delegate in the International Court of Justice; and Erik Swenson, a senior from Carrollton – Champion Debater on the Security Council. All of the HPU delegates received high praise from committee chairs and directors.

“I am extremely proud of the HPU team’s performance at the Rome Model UN Conference,” stated Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. “It was an honor in itself to be invited to participate and to play the role of the Russian Federation. Six of our twelve students received awards, which was the most achieved by any university. I also want to thank the members of the Academy Board of Directors for their generous support which made it possible for us to attend the conference.”

Additional student participants included Camryn D’Rubio, a junior from Wallis; Kendyl Moore, a senior from Farmington, N.M.; Jason Murphy, a junior from Brownwood; Nicole Nehf, a junior from May; Ivy Nichols, a sophomore from Richardson; and Jessica Ramirez, a senior from Bangs.

The students also had a day to explore Rome, visiting sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Catacombs and other locations around the city.

“Traveling to Rome for the HPU Model UN trip was an incredible experience,” said Cara DeLoach. “I was able to meet college students from all across Europe. Representing Russia at the conference enabled my partner and me to adopt a different perspective, especially in light of current events. After attending, I have gained more confidence in being an effective delegate and have personally benefited from the amazing cultural experience we were able to have in Italy.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team won five awards at the recent Rome conference. Pictured at the Roman Pantheon are, from left, Nicole Nehf, Cody Perrin, Camryn D’Rubio, Elizabeth Rogers, Ivy Nichols, Jessica Ramirez, Cara DeLoach, Kerrie Ford, Erik Swenson, Kendyl Moore, Jason Murphy and Caleb McConnell.

HPU student artwork on exhibition through May 2

student art work for webBROWNWOOD – April 1, 2014 – The artwork of several Howard Payne University students is on exhibition in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery of the university’s Doakie Day Art Center through May 2.

The show includes drawings, paintings, photographs, graphic designs and three-dimensional designs created by students in nine different HPU art classes.

According to David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art, the students are guided through individual instruction and spend large amounts of time outside of class working to finalize their pieces.

“For them, this is a labor of love as the creative spirit resides within them,” Harmon said.

Harmon is proud of the work produced by the students.

“It is a testament to the diversity of talent we have in our art department from the hands and minds of the art majors, minors and non-art students here at Howard Payne University,” Harmon said. “It is also a good pat on the back to our art professors who have committed their time and energies in instructing these students.”

Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. For more information about the show, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood.

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Photo cutline: The artwork of several HPU students is on display at the university through April 29. Pictured is a drawing by Asiyel Smith, a sophomore from Fredericksburg.

HPU student named national debate champion

ssb riverside for webBROWNWOOD – March 25, 2014 – Jaclyn Bonner, a Howard Payne University freshman and student debater from Lytle, was named a national champion during the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament held at California Baptist University in Riverside. HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau, a speech and debate team, competed in the tournament over Spring Break. Bonner was awarded 1st place and a national champion title in Novice Informative Speaking.

Additionally, Andres Zambrano, a sophomore from Brownwood, was the first student to advance to a finals round in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate. He competed in the bronze round.

“This was our first tournament to compete in IPDA debate, one of the fastest-growing styles of debate in the U.S.,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the communication department and Student Speaker Bureau coach. “To have two first-year competitors receive awards is outstanding.”

Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro, was named a Recognized Debater in IPDA debate, while Adam Jones, a sophomore from Irving, received 3rd place in Novice Impromptu Speaking and was named 9th Top Novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) speaker. Meg Eakin, a freshman from Plano, was also in the top 20 novice NPDA speakers.

Other competitors included Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi; Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.; Ben Palmer, a senior from Brownwood; and Adrianna Perez, a junior from Rowlett. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also helps coach the team.

Almost 30 institutions affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities – and more than 300 competitors – were represented at the tournament.

“We had an outstanding year for HPU speech and debate,” Dr. Welker said. “The results at this national tournament just confirm what a great team we have. I’m so proud of each of our competitors.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently traveled to the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament at California Baptist University in Riverside. From left are: Kim Bryant, Andres Zambrano, Jared Russell, Katie Mullaney, Adrianna Perez, Jaclyn Bonner, Meg Eakin, Ben Palmer, Adam Jones, Marcos Corley and Dr. Julie Welker.

Stephen Sullivan named director of alumni relations at HPU

Stephen Sullivan for webBROWNWOOD – March 7, 2014 – Stephen Sullivan, a 2011 Howard Payne University graduate, has been named director of alumni relations at HPU. Sullivan previously served the university as admission counselor and Mobile Go Center coordinator.

As director of alumni relations, Sullivan will work closely with HPU’s close-knit alumni base and strive to grow the university’s Alumni Association, a network through which former students stay connected to faculty, staff and current students. The Alumni Association provides several scholarships to HPU students each year.

“I want to increase the number of scholarships offered so that more students may have the opportunity to succeed here,” Sullivan said.

The director of alumni relations also plans and executes events for alumni, most notably Homecoming. Most of all, Sullivan says he is excited to cultivate and maintain ongoing relationships with alumni and friends of the university.

Sullivan graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in May 2011 and served as director of marketing and technology at San Saba’s First Baptist Church before being hired in September 2012 by the Office of Admission at HPU. He will graduate with a Master of Business Administration degree from HPU in December.

“We are very pleased that Stephen has joined our team at HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement,” said Randy Yeakley, vice president for development. “As a young alumnus, we believe he will help grow a network of former students and alumni from many different generations.”

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Photo cutline: Stephen Sullivan has been named director of alumni relations at Howard Payne University.

HPU honors San Antonio’s Kevin Dinnin with Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award

kevin-dinnin-presentation-for-webBROWNWOOD – March 6, 2014 – Howard Payne University recently honored Kevin Dinnin, president and CEO of the San Antonio-based Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), with the Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award. Cowden, a 1984 HPU alumnus, was a victim of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting in July 2012.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and members of the Cowden family were courtside at the San Antonio Spurs game on March 2 when they presented Dinnin with the award, a replica of a statue on HPU’s campus titled “Do As I Have Done.”

“Gordon was a personal friend of mine for more than 20 years, so it has special meaning to me that I was selected to be a recipient of an award that honors his life,” said Dinnin in an interview with Abilene’s KTXS TV station following the presentation.

BCFS is a global health and human services organization with locations and services in the United States and around the world. Under Dinnin’s leadership, BCFS has grown into a multimillion-dollar organization with five subsidiary corporations serving those affected by crisis and disaster around the world with an array of mental health, medical and human service programs.

“Mr. Dinnin has made a tremendous impact in the lives of a countless number of children and families around the world who are suffering severe hardships,” said Dr. Ellis. “He is most deserving of this award which celebrates those who, like Gordon Cowden, display courage in times of adversity.”

Following the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, Dinnin was appointed by Secretary Tommy Thompson to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national summit, “When Terror Strikes.” There he served on the Secretary’s Task Force for Promoting Healing and Restoring Hope for America’s Children and Families and subsequently was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Terrorism. Additionally, Dinnin has served as chairman of numerous non-profit boards in Texas including the Texas Lions Camp for Children with Disabilities, the Texas State Youth and Government Board and The University of Texas Health Science Center Advisory Council for the School of Nursing.

More recently, Dinnin has served as the commander of Health and Medical Branch of Texas Task Force Ike, led an incident management team response to Haiti, developed the Texas Medical Sheltering Task Force for the State of Texas and served as consult to the Federal Emergency Management Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

He is a nationally known subject-matter expert in caring for persons with medical and functional needs during disasters and has been credited with developing the most comprehensive training manual for sheltering persons with medical needs known to be in existence. He is also responsible for establishing and maintaining the largest medical shelter capacity of any state in the U.S.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Bill Ellis (third from right), HPU president, and members of the Cowden family presented Kevin Dinnin of San Antonio (fourth from left) with the Gordon Ware Cowden Courage in Christianity Award at the start of the San Antonio Spurs basketball game on March 2.

HPU to close for Spring Break

BROWNWOOD – March 5, 2014 – Howard Payne University will be closed for Spring Break next week, March 10-14. No classes will be held and administrative offices will be closed. The university will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 17.

HPU faculty member publishes Christian baseball novel

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – March 4, 2014 – Just in time for spring training, a Howard Payne University faculty member has published “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. The author is John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU.

Nickols serves as special assistant to the athletic director at HPU and spent many years as a high school and college basketball coach. His sports background and former career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation heavily influenced his writing.

“The Last Three Outs” tells the story of Danny Hill, a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the book loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The best part about writing a book, according to Nickols, is the use of imagination.

“It is fun to create something where there was nothing before,” he said.

The book, the entirety of which was handwritten by Nickols on a legal pad before being transcribed to the computer, also features a mafia story and a love connection. The author stated, however, that it was written to be encouraging.

“The book is intentionally Christian,” he said. “There is no profanity. It is a clean and moral story.”

“The Last Three Outs” (Tate Publishing) is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. There will be a book signing at Hastings in Brownwood on Saturday, April 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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Photo cutline: John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, recently published a Christian baseball novel, “The Last Three Outs.”

HPU’s Currie-Strickland lectures address work and rest in the Christian lifestyle

Dr. Beth Newman lecture for webBROWNWOOD – March 3, 2014 – Large groups of Howard Payne University students, personnel and area residents attended the university’s seventh annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics recently, as Dr. Beth Newman of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond addressed the issue of “Work and Rest: Vice, Virtues and Christian Practices.”

“Dr. Newman’s lectures were insightful and thought-provoking,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies. “Some of us are still talking and thinking about significant issues of resting in God’s gift of rest. As Dr. Newman says, ‘God’s gift of true rest heals our restless (slothful) selves.’ In addition to bringing significant content, Dr. Newman connected with her audience very well. As a result, these lectures were a great experience for us here at HPU.”

Dr. Newman is the Eula Mae and John Baugh Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Duke University.

Dr. Newman joined the faculty of BTSR in 2002 after serving on the faculty at Saint Mary’s College, in Notre Dame, Ind., for 12 years. She is the author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers (Brazos Press, 2007) and Attending the Wounds on Christ’s Body: Teresa’s Scriptural Vision (Cascade Books, 2012). She currently serves on the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity and has participated in Baptist World Alliance Conversations with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. She is on the editorial board of Studies in Baptist History and Thought and has helped plan and lead the Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy. She was named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 2009. Her husband, Jon Baker, is a United Methodist pastor and they have a daughter, Jessica (16), and a son, Jacob (13).

Currie-Strickland group photo for webDuring the event, four students were honored by HPU faculty as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology. Recognized for their achievements were Lillie Davis, senior cross-cultural studies major from Lampasas; Rick Henderson, senior Christian education major from Plainview; Jared Huntley, senior Bible major from Brownwood; and Zach Tharp, senior youth ministry major from Brownwood.

“These outstanding students have excelled in the areas of Christian ethics and theology,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies. “We are immensely proud of all of their hard work here at Howard Payne, and we look forward to the great things they will accomplish in the future.”

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

students recognized during currie-strickland for web

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Currie-Strickland group photo: The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. Gary and Mrs. Molli Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Mr. Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. From left: Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Dr. Clark Elliston, son of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston; Mrs. Molli Elliston; Dr. Beth Newman, guest speaker; Mrs. Carolyn Strickland, wife of the late Mr. Phil Strickland; Mrs. Loretta Currie, wife of Dr. David Currie; and Dr. David Currie.

Dr. Beth Newman: Dr. Beth Newman of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond addressed the issue of “Work and Rest: Vice, Virtues and Christian Practices.”

Students recognized during Currie-Strickland: Four students were named Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology during the event. From left: Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies; Zach Tharp, senior youth ministry major from Brownwood; Jared Huntley, senior Bible major from Brownwood; Rick Henderson, senior Christian education major from Plainview; Lillie Davis, senior cross-cultural studies major from Lampasas; and Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies.

HPU’s Symphonic Band to present spring concert

BROWNWOOD – February 28, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Symphonic Band will present its first concert of the spring semester on Thursday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. There is no admission charge for the concert, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The band will perform a varied and exciting program, including the Sinfonians, a symphonic concert march; October by Eric Whitacre; Abram’s Pursuit by David Holsinger; Pastime by Jack Stamp; Second Suite in F by Gustav Holst; and much more.

“There is sure to be something to delight the musical tastes of everyone in attendance,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. “Come enjoy an evening of exciting music, compliments of Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts and the HPU Symphonic Band.”