Message from the President

Message from the President

The following message from Dr. Cory Hines, HPU President, was sent to HPU faculty, staff and students on July 31, 2020: 


I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying the last few weeks of your summer holiday. I want to begin by saying how much we all miss having our students on campus and I am sure that our students miss being on campus as well. When we left for spring break, I could not have imagined that we would not see our students again for nearly six months.

These past few months have brought about a number of challenges, and I would be remiss if I did not thank our faculty members who were able to so quickly pivot from face-to-face classes to a remote learning format after Spring Break. Additionally, I appreciate our staff members who went above and beyond in serving our students during this last spring and throughout the summer. Seeing the response from our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other supporters as the situation surrounding COVID-19 escalated was just another reminder of why I am so blessed to serve as the President of our beloved HPU.

The purpose of my communication today is to provide an introduction to the document that follows this message. For the last almost five months, the members of HPU’s COVID- 19 Response Team have been diligently working to develop a set of policies, procedures, and guidelines that will allow us to provide the ideal residential student experience, while at the same time prioritizing the health and safety of our HPU Family.

The document that follows is built upon the guidance and expertise of public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department, from information provided by our local healthcare leaders at Brownwood Regional Medical Center, and from the expertise of leaders in the fields of higher education, healthcare, virology, and epidemiology. I would like to publicly thank the HPU COVID-19 Response Team for their efforts to ensure we are well prepared to protect the health and safety of our campus community as we begin the fall 2020 semester.

As you can imagine, the upcoming semester will look more different than ever before, due to the precautions that must be taken to protect against the spread of COVID-19. However, it is very important that we all come together as members of the HPU Family and each do our part by following the policies, procedures, and guidelines laid forth in the pages to follow, so that we might be able to have the best possible semester and avoid the measures that had to be taken during the previous semester.

As I prayed and asked the Lord for wisdom on how best to communicate these plans to the various constituency groups on campus, He kept leading me back to three verses: 1 Corinthians 10:24, Philippians 2:3-4, and Jeremiah 29:7. In 1 Corinthians 10:24, members of the church in Corinth are instructed by the Apostle Paul to, Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” Similarly, in Philippians 2:3-4, Paul calls on the members of the church in Philippi to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves,” and then encourages them to “look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Finally, in Jeremiah 29:7, the prophet Jeremiah speaks to the people of Israel, and tells them, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” I believe that these verses capture the attitude that each of us should have as we adjust to this temporary “new normal” that we are facing today.

In order to have the kind of semester I know that each of us desires to have, we must all do our part by following the policies, procedures, and guidelines included in this document. I know that at times it might be inconvenient, it might be uncomfortable, or it might not be exactly what we would prefer. However, I can think of no better way that we can “seek the good of [our] neighbor,” “count others more significantly than [ourselves],” “look to the interests of others,” and “seek the welfare of the city” than by each of us individually committing to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect our most vulnerable neighbors at HPU and in the greater Brown County community, and ensure that we can all enjoy the best semester possible under the current conditions.

I know that there is a lot of information in this document, but we wanted to be very thorough in communicating our plans for the fall and expectations to our students, employees, off- campus guests, and HPU stakeholders. The overall campus-wide health and safety policies can be found here (pages 18-25), key student information is located here (pages 25-28), important employee information can be found here (pages 28-30), and our campus-wide safety and sanitation measures are located here (pages 30-38). We have also collected important contact information that may be helpful.

I am looking forward to having all of the HPU Family back together on campus in just a couple of weeks, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us during this upcoming semester. Know that I continue to pray for you and your loved ones, and that I thank the Lord often that each of you is a member of the HPU Family.

Dr. Hines

Cory Hines, Ph.D.
Howard Payne University