News Archives

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.”

Juan Hernandez of Brownwood to present senior recital at HPU

angel and juan hernandez for webBROWNWOOD – February 28, 2014 – Juan Hernandez, a Howard Payne University music education major and saxophonist from Brownwood, will present his senior recital on Tuesday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The recital is titled “Latin American Music for the Classical Saxophone.”

“Music is the universal language and the language that goes beyond words,” said Stephen Goacher, professor of music and director of the jazz orchestra. “I am pleased that Juan has chosen a recital program highlighting his interest in cultural diversity through the arts. The artistic thoughts of the Latin American music will have universal appeal.”

Assisting Juan will be his brother Angel Hernandez, a freshman music education major, on marimba. Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of piano at HPU, will also accompany Juan.

The public is welcome to attend the recital and there is no charge for admission. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

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Photo cutline: Juan Hernandez, right, will present his senior recital at Howard Payne University on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. He will be accompanied by his brother, Angel Hernandez, left.

HPU faculty and staff promote heart health awareness

Heart Health Month 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – February 28, 2014 – In honor of American Heart Month in February, several Howard Payne University faculty and staff members wore special t-shirts for a day as part of the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign for heart health awareness.

Pictured (back row, left to right) are Ferrisa Childs, assistant director of student aid; Kim Rosato, instructor of exercise and sport science; Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication; Tammy Dake, custodian; Diane Hackney, facilities department coordinator; Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication; and Martha Fothergill, coordinator of records and reports. In the front row (left to right) are Susan Sharp, administrative assistant for the School of Education and certification officer; Gretchen Campbell, executive administrative assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, associate professor of education; Ann Johnson, custodial services supervisor; and Cheryl Mangrum, associate director of admission.

HPU art professor to be featured in national exhibition

David Harmon HPU for webBROWNWOOD – February 26, 2014 – The artwork of David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art at Howard Payne University, was selected for inclusion in a national exhibition. Two of Harmon’s pastel pieces will be featured in The Pastel National 2014 Exhibition at the Wichita Center for the Arts in Wichita, Kan.

The exhibit will be showcased at the Wichita Center March 28 through May 11, with an opening reception to be held on Friday, March 28, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Professor Harmon is very talented, both as an artist and as a teacher,” said Lawson Hager, interim dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “We’re very pleased that his work is being recognized at the national level.”

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Photo cutline: Artwork by David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the art department at HPU, will be showcased in a national exhibition.

HPU to present Spring Sing 2014

spring sing for webBROWNWOOD – February 21, 2014 – Howard Payne University students will perform in the annual Spring Sing event on Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, at 7:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, in Mims Auditorium.

This year’s theme is “Remember When” and each participating group will perform a 12-minute original musical/theatrical sketch that will be filled with action, hilarity and inspiration. Student organizations participating in this year’s event include the Archery Club, Chi Alpha Omega, Delta Chi Rho, Iota Chi Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, Sigma Theta Phi and Tau Beta Sigma.

Spring Sing is a popular event on the HPU campus, drawing audiences of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community. General admission tickets are $5 for all audiences and are available for purchase beginning Monday, February 24. Tickets may be purchased at the Cashier’s Office (room 203 of HPU’s Packer Administration Building) or during lunch in the Mabee University Center. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door on the evenings of the event. Reserved seating tickets are available for $10 at the HPU Cashier’s Office but must be purchased by Thursday, February 27.

A Spring Sing student committee, co-chaired by Kaitlin Vernon, a junior from Bangs, and Brandon Yost, a senior from Fresno, Calif., is coordinating this year’s production. Staff advisers include Francie Harvey, director of student activities; Nancy Pryor, resident director; Jake Sneath, resident director; and Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students.

“As a treasured tradition on campus, Spring Sing is the perfect opportunity for alumni and community members to visit campus,” Harvey explains. “We have more groups than ever, and audiences are going to experience each organization’s qualities and humor.”

Photo cutline: HPU will present its annual Spring Sing event February 28 and March 1 at the university’s Mims Auditorium.