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Dr. Robert Bicknell retires from HPU, named first Provost Emeritus

Tew, Bicknell and Ellis at Commencement for webBROWNWOOD – December 15, 2017 – Dr. Robert Bicknell, who has served at Howard Payne University for almost 30 years, retired from his role as accreditation liaison at the close of the fall 2017 semester after stepping down from his concurrent role as dean of extended education in May. In appreciation of Dr. Bicknell’s faithful service to the university, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, named Dr. Bicknell HPU’s first Provost Emeritus.

Dr. Bicknell began his career at HPU in 1989 as vice president of academic affairs before being named provost. He has since served the university in a variety of administrative and academic roles. Prior to coming to HPU, Dr. Bicknell served at Enterprise State Junior College, Wayland Baptist University and Southwest Baptist University.

As accreditation liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Dr. Bicknell has successfully shepherded HPU through three decennial reaffirmations, numerous substantive change proposals and countless period reports and has served on 24 SACSCOC visiting and off-site committees, many of these as committee chair. He is a sought-after speaker regarding the subject of regional, peer-reviewed accreditation and is frequently enlisted as consultant to institutions beginning the reaffirmation process.

Dr. Bicknell also led the university in the innovation of distance learning, including the development of curriculum and the initiation of HPU’s extension centers in El Paso and New Braunfels.

He is active in the community and has served as an officer of the Brownwood Rotary Club, the Brownwood Economic Development Corporation, the Brownwood Regional Medical Center Institutional Review Board, the Brownwood Technology Board and the West Texas Telecommunications Consortium.

Dr. Ellis informed Dr. Bicknell of his Provost Emeritus designation in a recent letter thanking the retiree for his many years of dedicated leadership.

“Your service to Howard Payne and your commitment to the cause of Christian higher education deserve nothing less,” Dr. Ellis wrote.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, commended Dr. Bicknell on his leadership and said his presence at HPU will be missed.

“Dr. Bicknell approached his time at HPU not only as his career but as his calling,” Dr. Tew said. “We’re appreciative of his dedication to the university and wish him all the best in the years to come.”


Cutline: A Resolution of Appreciation honoring Dr. Robert Bicknell was read during HPU’s fall 2017 Commencement ceremony. Left to right: Dr. W. Mark Tew, Dr. Bicknell and Dr. Bill Ellis.