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HPU announces Jack White Character Scholarship recipient and establishes related art collection

BROWNWOOD – September 14, 2020 – Howard Payne University recently named Haleigh Clevenger of Brownwood as the recipient of the Jack White Character Scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year. HPU also announced the creation of the Jack White Character Scholarship Permanent Collection with a piece by Sarah “Abi” Brown ’20 to serve as the first entry.

Clevenger is a senior majoring in studio art and English. She is a member of Christian women’s sorority Pi Theta Chi, serves as the historian for national collegiate honors society Gamma Beta Phi, and was the content coordinator for the Jacket Journey 2020 planning committee. She is also involved with HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, is a small group leader in the Coggin Avenue Baptist Church youth group and helps with the church’s MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program. Clevenger is also the first- through fourth-grade art teacher at Cross Classical Academy.

Clevenger expressed her gratitude for the support the scholarship will provide and for being recognized as deserving of the award.

“It is truly an honor to be receiving this scholarship,” she said. “I am so blessed by my professors and by the many ways in which they have poured into me both educationally and spiritually. My heart is filled with joy and deep gratitude for those who have made this scholarship possible. To be chosen for a scholarship that focuses not only on academics but also character is a very humbling experience and I cannot say thank you enough.”

The Jack White Character Scholarship was established in 2018 in memory of Jack White by his wife, Mikki Senkarik, and former Baylor University head football coach Grant Teaff and his wife, Donell. White developed a lasting friendship with Teaff after he requested White create new artwork for the team.

Senkarik commented on Clevenger’s deservedness of the award.

“I am very excited that Haleigh has been awarded the Jack White Character Scholarship,” said Senkarik. “The Teaffs and I established this award to continue Jack’s legacy of generosity. I know Jack would be extremely proud of Haleigh and all she has accomplished. She’s a beautiful example of generosity and serving others with the love of Our Lord.”

The Jack White Character Scholarship Permanent Collection is located in the Doakie Day Art Center. The collection commemorates the impact of the scholarship on art students at HPU and will display work by the recipients of the scholarship. A piece called “Blue Bowl Still Life” by Brown, the first recipient of the scholarship, is the inaugural work in the collection.

“The Jack White Character Scholarship was integral to my success at HPU, not only because it added to my continuing education but because the honor itself was such an encouragement to me,” said Brown. “This scholarship and the collection allow art students to be recognized in their field and for their work to be part of something enduring. Learning that my piece was selected to be the first in the Jack White Character Scholarship Permanent Collection has been a tremendous honor. I know Haleigh and future art students will experience similar affirmation as the collection celebrates the significance of the Arts here at HPU.”

Senkarik first met Brown when the then-student was named the first recipient of the award. Senkarik expressed her excitement for Brown’s work to serve as the first piece in the permanent collection.

“It is also a thrill to begin our Permanent Collection with Abi’s original painting, ‘Blue Bowl Still Life,’” Senkarik said. “I first saw the painting when I met Abi in 2018 and fell in love with it immediately. I’m honored she has selected this piece to be the inaugural entry in the Jack White Character Scholarship Permanent Collection.”

Jack White graduated from HPU in 1955. He went on to become a renowned artist and was awarded the title of State Artist of Texas in 1975. During the course of his life and career, he painted portraits of such notables as Lyndon B. Johnson, Ray Kroc, Julius Irving and Tom Landry.

“It has been exciting to see the Jack White Character Scholarship become established for HPU art students,” said Julie Mize, adjunct faculty member in art. “We have such deserving students and it is great to be able to honor and assist them this way. Abi and Haleigh have both shown artistic drive and ability, and they exemplify what Christian character ought to look like.”

Reflecting on White’s legacy, Senkarik said that both Clevenger and Brown are excellent examples of the characteristics the award was created to honor.

“I’m sure Jack is smiling down from Heaven with joy knowing these two fine young women have been selected for this award,” she said.

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2021 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline #1: Jack White Character Scholarship recipient Haleigh Clevenger is pictured with her painting “Rabboni” and graphite piece “Miscellany.”

Cutline #2: Sarah “Abi” Brown’s “Blue Bowl Still Life” is the first piece in the Jack White Character Scholarship Permanent Collection.