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HPU enjoys lively Stinger Spectacular weekend

BROWNWOOD – November 2, 2022 – The Howard Payne University campus was bustling recently for Stinger Spectacular, held October 14-15. Comprised of Homecoming, Family Weekend and Yellow Jacket Preview, the slate of events welcomed alumni, prospective students, families and other friends of the university, as well as participating personnel and current students.

Approximately 800 attendees enjoyed the HPU Family Picnic, which featured music by Stephen Cox ’10, Stacy Nash and Cody Hutcheson. More than 200 individuals joined together for class reunions, and more than 200 students and family members gathered for the Student and Family Dinner. The Homecoming musical “The Sound of Music” hosted great crowds, selling out on Saturday evening and welcoming a packed house for the weekend’s two additional performances. Other events, such as the Golden Graduate Luncheon, which celebrated the class of 1972, also served as occasions for fun and fellowship.

The HPU Alumni Association sponsored prize money for the parade float winners. Kaye Cummings ’74, president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, presented checks to Delta Epsilon Omega (First Place), Chi Alpha Omega (Second Place) and Baptist Student Ministry (Third Place).

The weekend also featured a pair of sports victories – the Yellow Jacket football team’s 48-17 win over Southwestern University and the Yellow Jacket men’s soccer team’s 1-0 defeat of McMurry University.

The 2022 Homecoming Court was announced during the football game. Named Homecoming King and Queen were Jessie Paris, a history major and education minor from Splendora, and Zoe Sprayberry, a math education and Christian education major from Bonham. Homecoming Prince and Princess honors went to Cyah Daniel, a political/global studies and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Doha, Qatar, and Megan Froese, a middle school education major from Rising Star.

Also honored at halftime were HPU’s 2022 alumni honorees: Mede Nix ’80, Distinguished Alumna; Elizabeth (Santos) Garcia ’72, Coming Home Queen; Stephen Cox ’10, Outstanding Young Graduate; Bobbie Price, Grand Marshal; Pat Hardy ’70, Medal of Service; Bertha (Rey) Valle ’09 (posthumous), Medal of Service; and Rev. Roland Johnson, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award.

HPU expresses gratitude to the sponsoring businesses and organizations for their support of Stinger Spectacular. Gold sponsors were Bruner Auto Family, Chick-fil-A Brownwood, City of Brownwood, Early Texas Visitors and Events Center, HPU Alumni Association and Wendlee Broadcasting. Navy sponsors were Dr Pepper Bottling Company, TexasBank, Underwood’s Bar-B-Q, United Supermarket and Willie’s T’s. White sponsors were Citizens National Bank, Common Grounds Coffeehouse, Double H, MC Bank, Painter & Johnson Financial, Robnett Integra Insurance and Smith & Sharpe.

Dr. Kalie Lowrie ’06, assistant vice president for alumni relations, said the weekend was a special experience for the university family.

“Stinger Spectacular was truly a wonderful weekend on our campus again this year,” said Dr. Lowrie. “We were so excited to have so many alumni and friends back on campus to participate in more than 30 events. We enjoyed beautiful weather, great reunions and events, and a big win for the Yellow Jackets! We want to express special appreciation to our sponsors, who added so much value to the weekend.”

Family Weekend allowed family members of current HPU students to experience a weekend at HPU. Dr. Nathan Penland, vice president for student experience, expressed his enthusiasm for the wide range of opportunities for engagement.

“Stinger Spectacular was a fantastic time for students, alumni and families to connect with each other and Howard Payne,” Dr. Penland said. “The family picnic on Friday night and the parade on Saturday were great events and several of our athletic teams were able to showcase their talent and hard work with their families here for the weekend. I am thankful for a beautiful weekend to celebrate HPU!”

Visiting students at Yellow Jacket Preview were invited to numerous campus events throughout the weekend. Dr. Ben Martin ’04, associate vice president for enrollment management, said the weekend served as a great way to introduce prospective students to the HPU experience.

“Stinger Spectacular is an amazing event that allows prospective students to see the benefits of attending Howard Payne University,” he said. “They can see how Howard Payne University will walk beside them during pivotal years of their college life, and then able to see the value of being an alum of Howard Payne University. Students really enjoyed the opportunity to see all that Howard Payne University can offer.”

HPU will host the next Stinger Spectacular on October 13-14, 2023.


Cutline #1: Members of HPU’s 2022 Homecoming Court are (from left) Homecoming Princess Megan Froese, Homecoming Prince Cyah Daniel, Homecoming Queen Zoe Sprayberry and Homecoming King Jessie Paris.

Cutline #2: The Homecoming Parade is a colorful highlight of the festive weekend.

Cutline #3: Pictured with Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president (far left), are honorees Rev. Roland Johnson, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award; Pat Hardy ’70, Medal of Service; Elizabeth (Santos) Garcia ’72, Coming Home Queen; Ana (Valle) Dowling ’00, representing her late mother, Bertha (Rey) Valle ’09, Medal of Service; Mede Nix ’80, Distinguished Alumna; Stephen Cox ’10, Outstanding Young Graduate; and Bobbie Price, Grand Marshal.

Cutline #4: Cobbler on the Campus, featuring cobbler from Underwood’s Bar-B-Q, is a popular event at HPU’s Stinger Spectacular.