Dr. Guy D. Newman
1955 - 1973
Serving until 1972, Dr. Guy D. Newman became president of HPC in the spring of 1955. He was born December 9, 1906 in Dorchester, Texas, 12 miles south of Sherman. One of ten children, his father was the village grocer and post master. Moving to Sherman, he dropped out of school at the age of 16 in the 8th grade. Newman and an army deserter friend hopped a freight train and headed west, or so they thought, heading east instead. When he got off the train, his new friend was no where to be found but he and another new acquaintance decided to catch a freight back to San Antonio. Arriving in Luling they found a job washing dishes at a café. Realizing he wanted to go home he returned to Sherman. Upon his return he worked as a soda jerk.
Next he had to decide whether to go to Greenville and try to attend Burleson College or go west to Vernon and work in the oil fields. He went west. Settling in Vernon and working at a drug store, Newman left Vernon in 1926. For the next few years he lived in Amarillo. During this time he married his first wife, Julia Herbst. Sometime later he was approached to teach Sunday School and later began to preach. In 1936, his wife died leaving Newman to raise three children.
He left Amarillo for Waco in view of a call as associate pastor of the Seventh and James Baptist Church. Newman, at the age of 30, also enrolled as a freshman in Baylor University that fall of 1936. Newman married Estelle McKneely in 1938 and graduated in 1940 with a bachelor of science degree. He would serve in various pastorates including Groom, Denison, and Temple until his return to Baylor in 1949 as assistant to the president. He left Waco in 1951 for the First Baptist Church of Brownwood serving through 1952 when he returned to Baylor as Vice President in charge of Development and Fund Raising.
In 1955 the Board of Trustees of HPC elected Newman president of the college to succeed Dr. Thomas Taylor. Leaving Baylor was very difficult for him, as he related in his autobiography, One Guy's Dream. Meeting with the trustees, he "asked them many questions concerning the financial condition of the college, the number of students, and the purpose the board had in mind."
Newman arrived in Brownwood to find a student body that numbered 650-700 that spring of 1955. West Texas was in the eighth year of the seven year drought and the college had no substantial income. As a result, HPC had neglected some of its bills and accounts payable. Faculty salaries were very low. 'It was a tribute to Dr. Taylor that he was able to hold the college together." Newman observed, in his memoirs, that the adjustment from financially well off Baylor to HPC was "somewhat disenchanting but also very challenging."
Although there were crises during the early years, Newman noted "For me it was a time of great transition from a large university to a small college, but I was attracted to the mind and soul of the college. From the outset it was my purpose to give the Baptist General Convention of Texas an institution, small in number but great in spirit, that would be a blessing and a benediction to the whole world and a vindication of the purpose stated in its charter to train young men and women in the ideals and values of Christian education."
Newman was charged by the board of trustees with obtaining funds to pay the faculty, improve the college physical plant while recruiting new faculty to strengthen the academic life of the college.
Serving as president for 18 years, Newman was named chancellor of the university upon his retirement as president. Newman held the master of theology and doctor of historical theology degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and an honorary doctor of divinity from HPU.
During his stint as president of HPU he constructed six new buildings, improved faculty salaries and established the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom honors program. After One Guy's Dream was published in 1985, his health began to falter. One week before his death, he had surgery in San Angelo where he was living at the Baptist Memorial Center. He died July 4, 1988 at the age of 82. The Homecoming theme that fall was a memorial to Dr. Guy D. Newman.
Page Updated 24 January 2005
© Dr. Robert G. Mangrum, HPU University Historian