News Archives

HPU New Braunfels Center to host apologetics workshop

Apologetics WorkshopBROWNWOOD – September 8, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center and Abba’s House Bible Training Center of New Braunfels are joining together to host a one-day apologetics workshop titled “Reasons: Defending Your Faith in a Hostile World.” The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 16, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at HPU’s New Braunfels Center, 4102 Loop 337, Suite 100, in New Braunfels. The cost is $15 per person and a light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

The event is created around 1 Peter 3:15, which states “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; only do it with gentleness and respect.” Discussions will be led by Tyler Ferguson, director of adult education and operations at Freedom Fellowship Church in New Braunfels.

The workshop is designed to give evidence that the God of the Bible is the one, true God. Based loosely on the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Dr. Frank Turek, this class will look at the topic of Christian apologetics in a new light.

“Christians must understand that not only is God real and the story that the Bible tells is true, but there is evidence to prove it,” said Ferguson. “At the end of this class you will be more confident in your faith, being able to defend the truth to those who don’t believe and walk with fellow believers struggling with doubt.”

All Christians will benefit from the material, especially church leaders, high school students and parents, and those with unbelieving relatives or friends.

To purchase tickets or to view the schedule of events, visit


Cutline: HPU’s New Braunfels Center will host a one-day apologetics workshop titled “Reasons: Defending Your Faith in a Hostile World” on Saturday, September 16.

HPU BSM leaders encourage student involvement

Haylee Maddox for webBROWNWOOD – September 7, 2017 – Keith Platte, director of Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry, and several BSM student leaders spoke during the university’s Chapel program Wednesday morning. The leaders described to students the various ways in which they can become involved with BSM ministries.

Platte introduced the student leaders, saying that serving through the BSM is one way in which they live out the BSM’s motto of “Love. Serve. Share.”

“Our student leaders have a passion for their peers to know Christ, they have a passion for our community to know Christ and they have a passion to serve other people,” he said.

Students were encouraged to become involved with one of the BSM ministries including tutoring young students at a local apartment complex, mentoring youth at Brownwood’s Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility, fellowshipping with residents at local nursing facilities and partnering with churches across the state to provide youth activities including Disciple Now Weekend and 5th Quarter. Additional ministries are geared specifically toward mentoring and fellowship with other HPU students. These include Community Groups, Pray & Do, Student-Athlete Ministry, Campus Outreach, Student-Led Worship, Freshmen Council and weekly free lunches provided by area churches.

Sophomore Haylee Maddox of Bellville, leader of one of the BSM Community Groups, reminded students they will get back what they invest during their four years at HPU.

“If you go to social events and start being nice to people and introducing yourself, you’ll start to build relationships,” she said. “Jesus truly changes people and that’s exactly what the BSM is all about.”


Cutline: HPU sophomore Haylee Maddox, a member of the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team, encouraged her peers to get involved on campus through the BSM. She was one of several BSM leaders to speak during HPU’s Chapel service on Wednesday.

HPU graduate spends summer working with refugees through Go Now Missions

Shaefer Church 2017BROWNWOOD – September 7, 2017 – Shaefer Church, a 2016 Howard Payne University graduate, spent the summer in Greece volunteering with refugees who have fled the Middle East and northern Africa. He was one of three students from HPU and hundreds from the state of Texas serving around the globe this summer through Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions.

Church served alongside seven other Americans at a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos. They provided the individuals with food, clothing, stability and safety, an opportunity, he said, that strengthened his own walk with Christ.

“As Christians, we are called to serve others and, when we do this, we draw closer to Jesus,” he said. “I really got to see God’s love for the oppressed and how He is at work with refugees. I was blessed in that I got to meet some great human beings within the camp.”

As a student at HPU, Church was involved on campus, particularly with the Baptist Student Ministry.

“I helped out with a few BSM ministries over the years, but the two in which I invested the most time were Student Led Worship and Campus Outreach,” Church said. “Being a part of the BSM was very formational for me, and it really helped shape how I view missions, community and serving others.”

Keith Platte serves as HPU’s BSM director.

“Shaefer served as our BSM student worker for two years,” said Platte. “During that time, I had the joy of seeing God grow a wonderful servant and leader. There’s no doubt that Shaefer was gifted by God with the gift of leadership and that shows in everything he does. People naturally want to join along in what Shaefer is doing, and Shaefer keeps following after the heart of God, so he keeps bringing people closer to God. That’s what discipleship is about. Shaefer gets that.”

In addition to Greece, Church served at other times with Go Now Missions in the Philippines and in Oregon.

“All of these experiences impacted me in ways that I can’t even fathom,” he said. “I am who I am today because of what I saw God do while I was on those trips.”

Church said his long-term ministry goal is to serve Christ and help others overseas. He currently serves as youth director at First United Methodist Church in Brownwood.

“I get to work with some truly amazing youth and serve the Lord right here in my own community,” he said. “I love working with the students, and the fact that I get to be their youth leader is an amazing blessing.”

Church graduated Magna Cum Laude from HPU in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible.

“In every way that I can imagine, HPU prepared me for what I’m doing now,” he said. “The Christian studies department was a great place for me to learn more about God’s Word, the Church and how to do ministry. I really loved my time at HPU.”


Cutline: Shaefer Church, a 2016 HPU graduate, spent his summer working with refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos. He is pictured on the HPU campus.

HPU’s Department of Music to present concert to benefit hurricane relief and recovery

BROWNWOOD – September 6, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Music will present a hurricane-related benefit concert on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. Admission will be by donation and all money raised will go to Texas Baptist Men for hurricane relief and recovery.

“We all recognize that the recovery following Hurricane Harvey will take time and there are many in our community who desire to find a way to help,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts. “As those living in southeast Texas move toward restoration following the devastation left in Harvey’s wake, the students and faculty of HPU’s Department of Music feel compelled to use the gifts that God has given them to provide a conduit for our community to help.”

The concert, titled “The Sounds of Restoration,” will feature many of the university’s ensembles. Selections include “Jesus Shall Reign,” arranged by Steve Dunn and performed by Winds of Triumph; “Jesus Loves Me” and “America, the Beautiful,” performed by the HPU Wind Ensemble; “Mourning Into Dancing,” performed by the Heritage Singers with Winds of Triumph; and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” and “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” performed by the HPU Concert Choir. A collaboration of “Give Me Jesus” will be performed by Stephen Goacher, professor of music; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and tenured professor of music; and Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. The audience will have the opportunity to participate by singing “God of Our Fathers.”

Donations benefitting Texas Baptist Men – Disaster Relief taken at the door will not be tax deductible. However, if you would like to make a donation that is tax deductible, visit where you can donate online and find instructions to give by check, phone or text. Texas Baptist Men is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that operates in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist General Convention of Texas and associations, Southern Baptists of Texas and associations as well as other Great Commission Christians.

For more information about the concert, please contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500 or

Community supports hurricane victims through HPU donation drive

HPU donation drive 1 for webBROWNWOOD – September 5, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Yellow Jacket baseball team hosted a donation drive for hurricane victims on Saturday, collecting approximately 1,000 cases of water and hundreds of other items including money, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, tools and pet food to deliver to the Gulf Coast and southeast Texas.

“We’re thankful to the many individuals and businesses in Brown County who have supported HPU’s efforts in providing relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey,” said Stephen Lynn, head baseball coach. “Several groups brought trucks and trailers full of supplies to donate. It was great to see the community turn out to support those in need.”

HPU donation drive 2 for webThe team will partner with others on campus to deliver the items to the Gulf Coast this weekend. There, the group’s efforts will be facilitated by Joseph Jones, HPU alumnus and pastor of First Baptist Church of Port Lavaca.

Through Friday, September 8, Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware is discounting by 25 percent purchases listed as hurricane relief items. Once purchased, the items may be left at the store and HPU’s baseball team will collect them for distribution.

HPU donation drive 3 for webThose who were unable to attend the drive may coordinate with the baseball team to have donation items collected. For more information, contact Robert Anders, assistant baseball coach, at 972-322-4116 or



1. Members of HPU’s Yellow Jacket baseball team stack items at the team’s recent donation drive to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

2. HPU baseball players unload cleaning supplies donated by a community member.

3. HPU’s baseball team collected approximately 1,000 cases of water during its recent donation drive.

HPU’s educator preparation program hosts back-to-school social for future teachers

educator prep photo 1BROWNWOOD – September 4, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s educator preparation program began the fall 2017 semester by hosting its first “Snack & Chat” social. Sponsored by HPU’s School of Education, all students seeking teaching certification were invited to this time of networking and fellowship.

“The students had an opportunity to get to know one another and HPU’s education faculty while enjoying free snacks,” said Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, dean of the School of Education. “We’re looking forward to an exciting year of equipping HPU students to become the educators of tomorrow.”

HPU is now enrolling for the spring 2018 semester. For more information, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at

educator prep photo 2


Cutlines: 1. Students in HPU’s educator preparation program started the fall semester with a time of fellowship and networking. Among those attending are, from left to right, Breanna Hunt, Cassandra Mendez and Grant Saltar.

2. Amy Briley, administrative assistant for HPU’s School of Education, and student Kimberlyn Ho pause for a photo during the recent “Snack & Chat” social on campus.

HPU moves to dissolve arrangement with Ranger College regarding nurse education

BROWNWOOD – September 1, 2017 – Howard Payne University has announced its plans to dissolve a collaborative arrangement between HPU and Ranger College on nurse education. On Friday, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, informed the Ranger College president, Dr. Bill Campion, of the university’s intent to end the arrangement. HPU has two primary reasons for this action: lack of student interest and confusion regarding HPU’s stance on Ranger College’s efforts to make Brown County a taxing district.

The agreement originated in August 2016 and was designed to allow students admitted to Ranger College’s pre-licensure Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program to live on the HPU campus, participate in the university’s student life activities and, on completion of the ADN program, apply for admission to HPU’s post-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

Despite publicity about the agreement between the two institutions and some initial interest expressed by students, no students took advantage of the arrangement.

“As part of our university’s culture of assessment, we regularly evaluate the way we deliver course offerings and other programs,” said Dr. Ellis. “After being in place for a full year without any students, it is obvious to us that this collaborative arrangement is not of interest to students.”

Additionally, HPU has not taken a public stance on the matter regarding the proposed taxing district, preferring to leave the decision entirely in the hands of the citizens of Brown County. However, Dr. Ellis expressed concern that the agreement has been misconstrued as an endorsement by HPU of Ranger College’s tax referendum, which is not the case.

“Based on these issues, HPU has decided the best course of action is to dissolve the formal arrangement,” Dr. Ellis said.

The procedure for terminating the agreement by either party is included in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the presidents of the two institutions.

Graduates from Ranger College or elsewhere who are registered nurses (RN) with unencumbered licenses to practice in Texas may continue their education at HPU through the post-licensure RN-to-BSN degree program, and HPU will admit each of those students on a case-by-case basis.

HPU’s post-licensure RN-to-BSN program is directed by Dr. Nina Ouimette, new dean of the university’s School of Nursing. Her career includes 17 years with Abilene’s Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, most recently as dean and professor of nursing with tenure, and previous service at hospitals and health care systems in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, D.C.

As a nursing school administrator, Dr. Ouimette is experienced in matters of program and curriculum development, student and faculty recruitment, nursing regulation and accreditation. In addition to overseeing HPU’s post-licensure RN-to-BSN program, she is directing HPU’s efforts to pursue a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“I have known Dr. Ouimette personally and professionally for more than 15 years,” Dr. Ellis said. “I am absolutely confident Brown County will be very pleased with the high quality of nurse education we are working diligently to bring to our area.”

HPU’s Dr. Gary Gramling speaks at Wednesday morning Chapel service

Gary Gramling ChapelBROWNWOOD – August 31, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Dr. Gary Gramling, 1981 HPU graduate, professor of Christian studies and director of the graduate programs in Christian studies, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.

“I can tell you that once you’ve had a personal encounter with Jesus, you’ll never be the same,” Dr. Gramling told audiences. “The Father wants nothing more than for every one of us, the people He made, to have a relationship with Him.”

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Dr. Gary Gramling speaks at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.

HPU baseball partners with Weakley-Watson for hurricane relief

BROWNWOOD – August 30, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s baseball team is partnering with Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware of Brownwood to provide relief amidst the ongoing devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey along Texas’ Gulf Coast. The team’s efforts are bolstered by a variety of other campus groups and individuals.

HPU will host a donation drive this Saturday, September 2, from 9 a.m. to noon at the former Hastings’ parking lot, 600 N. Center Ave. in Brownwood. The following weekend, the baseball team and other campus volunteers will travel to southeast Texas to distribute items and money collected to those in need. There, the group’s efforts will be facilitated by Joseph Jones, HPU alumnus and pastor of First Baptist Church of Port Lavaca.

Donations most needed include personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, and new and used tools including crowbars, rakes, saws, shovels and other tools that can assist in cleanup efforts.

In addition to the donation drive at the former Hastings’ parking lot, Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware, 1414 Austin Ave. in Brownwood, will discount by 25 percent purchases listed as hurricane relief items. Once purchased, the items may be left at the store and HPU’s baseball team will collect them for distribution. Weakley-Watson will also serve as a donation drop-off location.

“HPU is blessed to be in Brown County, a place where businesses and individuals step up to help those in need,” said Stephen Lynn, head baseball coach. “We look forward to seeing the turnout at Saturday’s donation drive and we thank you in advance for your contributions.”

Those who prefer to offer financial support may mail a check, designated “Hurricane Relief,” to HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, TX 76804 by Tuesday, September 5. As financial donations will go directly to those in need, they will not be considered tax-deductible gifts to the university and receipts will not be mailed.

Anyone unable to attend the drive may coordinate with the baseball team to have donation items collected. For more information, or to schedule a collection time, contact Robert Anders, assistant baseball coach, at 972-322-4116 or

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, said the university is deeply saddened by the devastation along the Gulf Coast and in the other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We’re thankful that, through the leadership efforts of our baseball team and with support from other campus groups and the community, we can share resources with those in need,” he said. “Most of all, we pray for God’s comfort and protection over our friends, loved ones and all others impacted by this tragedy.”

HPU has created a Facebook group to host requests for hurricane relief assistance and offers for donations and volunteer hours. To join the group visit


Candis Hicks of San Angelo among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

Candis HicksBROWNWOOD – August 29, 2017 – Candis (Rodgers) Hicks of San Angelo has been named a Distinguished Alumna of Howard Payne University. She is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Hicks and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at

Hicks completed a Bachelor of Music Education degree from HPU in 1978. While at the university, she was involved with Baptist Student Union and A Cappella Choir. She was also a class officer her junior and senior years. Upon graduating from HPU, she earned a Master of Music Education degree and administrative certification from Angelo State University.

She has completed 31 years in public education, including time spent as a choral music teacher, principal and private studio voice and piano teacher. She has also served as a wedding coordinator and as a consultant for the San Angelo Symphony. Her civic involvement includes serving with Young Life San Angelo, a children’s ministry, as well as teaching Sunday School and being active in Bible study through her church. She has one son, Hunter Rodgers Hicks.

Hicks said attending and graduating from HPU was one of the greatest blessings in her life.

“Howard Payne brought forth a missions heart in me that had been building since childhood,” she said. “The spiritual emphasis and spirit of the campus gave me a foundation for both good and bad times that lay ahead. The education classes were specific in what teaching would entail and the camaraderie with other music majors, as well as the choral experiences, gave me a great starting point, support system and network.”

For more information about HPU Homecoming 2017, visit


Cutline: Candis (Rodgers) Hicks ’78 is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.