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Finding community at HPU: Haylee Maddox uses her time to challenge herself and form relationships

By Seth Rainey, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – April 27, 2018 – As she searched for colleges to continue her academic career, sophomore Haylee Maddox of Bellville sought out a place where she would be challenged to grow spiritually and academically.

“College is this beautiful time to be challenged in every way because you’re not going to get this time back,” Maddox said.

Haylee Maddox for webIn her college search, she found Howard Payne University to be an institution that would fulfill her academic and spiritual goals, while also giving her the possibility of playing softball at the collegiate level. However, due to injuries in her later years of high school, she was unable to pursue college athletics. Additionally, Maddox chose to participate in a year-long Christian Leadership program known as “Link Year,” paving a nontraditional path for the future HPU student.

She did not visit the campus until Day 1, an HPU-hosted event at which incoming students come to campus in the spring and early summer to register for their first classes at HPU. Upon arriving, she immediately recognized a sense of intentional interconnectedness between fellow students and determined to find her place within this community.

“Right off the bat, I found a solid friend group and got plugged in with the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM),” said Maddox.

These first experiences in university life, what she dubbed the “real world” away from family and familiar surroundings, gave her hope of finding belonging at college.

Maddox is challenging herself academically as a double major in practical theology and communication. She is also very involved in extracurricular activities, participating in numerous student organizations.

She recently became the president of HPU’s Christian women’s sorority Pi Theta Chi. Additionally, she is on the BSM’s leadership committee and serves as a sophomore senator in the Student Government Association. She also writes for “The Yellow Jacket” student newspaper and serves as the treasurer for Appointed, an organization for women going into ministry.

Maddox believes that student involvement in campus life enhances the university experience. She is active in a variety of capacities to help others benefit from personal participation.

“I truly want HPU to be for everyone else what it is for me,” said Maddox.

She appreciates the chances HPU has offered her to get to know a diverse group of people. The university’s size and structure allow students to serve in multiple ways. She said this accessibility to involvement is part of what makes HPU unique.

“There are so many influential people here, but they aren’t concentrated in one area,” said Maddox. “I really like the involvement that everyone has here on campus.”

Looking back, Maddox recalled that she thought she knew what to expect from college when she was in high school. However, the differences between her expectations and reality have been enriching to her.

“HPU has been exactly what I needed from my college experience,” she said, “and what I continue to need.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options for students. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU student Haylee Maddox speaks during the weekly university chapel service.