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HPU honorees to be recognized at 2023 Stinger Spectacular

BROWNWOOD – September 25, 2023 – Howard Payne University will honor nine individuals for achievements and service during the Stinger Spectacular on October 13-14. The weekend’s featured events are Homecoming, Family Weekend and Yellow Jacket Preview.

The honorees for 2023 are Dale Fisher ’61, Distinguished Alumnus; Dr. Micaela (Espiricueta) Camacho ’59, Coming Home Queen; Natalia Lopez ’06, Outstanding Young Graduate; Dr. Robert and Cheryl (Everett) Mangrum ’91, Grand Marshals; Rev. L.J. Jr. ’78 and Lori (Hassel) Clayton ’76, Medal of Service; Rev. Rubén Hernández ’76, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award; and Rev. Doug Holtzclaw ’68, the new Jacket Alums in Ministry (JAM) Faithful Servant Award.

The honorees will be recognized at the Alumni Banquet on Friday, October 13, at 5:30 p.m., in the Beadel Dining Hall of HPU’s Mabee University Center. They will also be included in the Stinger Spectacular Parade on Saturday, October 14, at 10 a.m. and during the halftime show of the football game versus Austin College at Gordon Wood Stadium. The parade will travel through downtown Brownwood on Center Avenue to Fisk Street via E. Depot Street and pass through the HPU campus.

Dale Fisher ’61, Distinguished Alumnus

Dale Fisher ’61 says that, looking back, his time at HPU was of more value than he could have realized. Today, he is thankful for the values he was taught, the guidance and education he was given and the long-lasting friendships he made. He also notes the significant influence of Dr. Don Newbury ’61 and Dr. Richard Jackson ’60 on his life.

Fisher first came to Howard Payne on a basketball scholarship, but later pivoted to playing football. After graduation, he worked in the oil field and married Vicky Grief ’62 in 1975. He later purchased an oilfield construction business, Fisher Lease Service.

He and his wife live in San Angelo where they are members at Glen Meadows Baptist Church. They have five grown children: Gregg Fisher ’88, Jill Fisher Shearer ’87, Glenn Neal, Joy Box and Jodie Coady, as well as 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Dr. Micaela (Espiricueta) Camacho ’59, Coming Home Queen

Dr. Micaela (Espiricueta) Camacho ’59 says that HPU helped her become the person she wanted to be. The support of faculty members encouraged her to believe she could succeed.

Camacho graduated from HPU with a bachelor’s degree in education. During her time as a student, she worked as a secretary for the HPU dean of women, was a member of the Baptist Student Union and was a pianist for HPU’s La Hora Bautista choir. After graduating from Howard Payne, Camacho received her teaching certification from Texas Christian University, a Master of Education and certification in administration from Texas Women’s University, and an honorary Doctor of Humanities from HPU.

Camacho attends Primera Iglesia Bautista in Glen Rose and has participated in Texas Women’s Missionary Union and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation.

Camacho currently resides in Kopperl. She and her late husband, Dr. Rudy ’59, have three sons – Robert, Ron and Rudy – and one granddaughter. The Camachos also established the Deborah Renee Camacho Endowed Scholarship in memory of their daughter.

Natalia Lopez ’06, Outstanding Young Graduate

Natalia Lopez ’06 says that HPU showed her how to lead with a Christian heart. In her work with immigration law, Lopez’s path intersects with individuals in all walks of life. She says HPU helped prepare her spiritually and academically for working with and advocating for others.

At HPU, Lopez majored in political science and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. During her time as a student, Lopez was involved in Chi Alpha Omega, the drill team and Moot Court. Following her time at HPU, Lopez received a Juris Doctorate from Texas Wesleyan School of Law. After law school, she worked at an immigration firm in Fort Worth for five years before opening her own practice in 2014. She has offices in Brownwood and Fort Worth.

Lopez is married to Jose Luis Avina Jr., and they have two children. She enjoys serving on HPU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and contributes to scholarships for students. She also donates Cuddle Cots to hospitals, which gives grieving parents time to be with infants who have passed away.

Dr. Robert Mangrum and Cheryl (Everett) Mangrum ’91, Grand Marshals

Since the fall of 1980, Dr. Robert Mangrum has served at HPU in various positions including chair of the Department of History, Political Science and Geography; the Burress Professor of Genealogy and American History; and director of the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom. Dr. Mangrum is currently the Coley Distinguished Professor of American History and the university historian. In 2015, he published “For Howard Payne My All,” a history of HPU that spans 125 years.

Dr. Mangrum earned his bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Texas. A member of several historical associations, Dr. Mangrum has written numerous papers for a variety of historical publications.

Dr. Mangrum served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1973 and on active reserve until 1998, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Cheryl (Everett) Mangrum ’91 says that God used HPU to bring people into her life who have impacted her spiritually and emotionally, encouraging her in her walk with the Lord. She says her coworkers have been her family for the last 43 years, praying for, supporting and loving her through life’s ups and downs.

She received her bachelor’s degree in general studies from HPU. She has worked at HPU in various roles since 1981, including recording clerk, admissions officer, coordinator of admissions and director of admissions. She is currently the associate director of admissions. Among other recognitions, she has received the Outstanding Staff Member Award and the HPU Excellence in Service Award.

The Mangrums live in Early, where he is currently serving in his 10th term as mayor and is a member of the Brown County Historical Commission. They are active at Early First Baptist Church, where she participates in the church choir. She also enjoys playing the piano, guitar and drums, working in the yard and walking. He is a member of the National Model Railroad Association and a Master Model Railroader, a designation awarded only to members who complete seven achievement program certificates.

Rev. L.J. Clayton Jr. ’78 and Lori (Hassel) Clayton ’76, Medal of Service

Rev. L.J. Clayton Jr. ’78 says that HPU taught him to be thankful for his family in Christ.

Clayton received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from HPU. While at HPU, he played on the football team, which earned Lone Star All-Conference honors. He was also named All-American Wide-Receiver.

In 1974, Clayton left HPU to play in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1975, he went to play in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts, before returning to HPU and graduating in 1978. He later earned his master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and a Bible certification from South Texas School of Christian Studies. He spent over 30 years working in education, teaching P.E. and English. Since 2010, Clayton has served as pastor at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Cuero.

Clayton is a member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and the African American Alumni Chapter of the HPU Alumni Association. He is also involved with the Ministers United for Ministerial Development.

Lori (Hassel) Clayton ’76 says that her time at HPU was a time of spiritual growth and personal development. God used faculty members at HPU to help mold her into the teacher he desired her to be. She adds that one of the greatest joys she experienced at HPU was meeting and marrying her husband, L.J. ’78.

She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in physical education. As a student, she played in intramurals and served as the intramural director. She was a member of the volleyball team, Service Club and Jackets for Jesus.

Following her time at HPU, she received her master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University and a Bible certification from South Texas School of Christian Studies. She worked as an educator for 37 years before retiring in 2014. She also served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves from 1986-1990 and was a Medal of Achievement recipient. She has served as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and is involved in the African American Alumni Chapter of the HPU Alumni Association. In addition to her involvement in various ministerial associations, she serves as a Sunday school teacher and pianist at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Cuero.

The Claytons live in San Antonio and have four grown children: Trenell, Greg, Ashley Carol and LJ III. They also have nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She also has two sisters who are fellow HPU alumni: Cheri Hassel ’81 and Terisa Hassel ’75.

Rev. Rubén Hernández ’76, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award

Rev. Rubén Hernández ’76 says that HPU provided him with numerous opportunities to live out his evangelistic calling both on and off campus. He has used what he learned at HPU across the world during his 56 years in ministry.

Hernández received his bachelor’s degree in religious education from HPU. As a student, he was a part of the President’s Advisory Council, La Hora Bautista and the HPU Revival Team. Hernández later received his master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Hernández’s ministry began at the age of 15. He was licensed to preach at 18 and ordained at 23. In the time since, Hernández has served in numerous churches in Texas and preached at revivals both around the U.S. and abroad. He has preached and sung on radio and television programs in several different countries. He is currently the president of Rudy Hernández Evangelism International in Dallas.

Hernández currently resides in Richardson. He and his late wife, Aurora (Guarnero) Hernández, have two grown sons who attended HPU – Robert and Abraham – as well as five grandchildren.

Rev. Doug Holtzclaw ’68, JAM Faithful Servant Award

Rev. Doug Holtzclaw ’68 says that HPU helped him understand some of the more practical aspects of ministry and pastoral care. These lessons were foundational in preparing him for seminary and pastoral ministry.

Holtzclaw graduated from HPU with his bachelor’s degree in history and religious education. He was a member of the football and track teams and Jackets for Jesus and was also a student pastor. Holtzclaw earned his master’s degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary. He served as pastor at Goldthwaite Baptist Church from 1978 until he retired in 2013, after a total of 43 years in ministry.

He has served on the governing boards of several organizations’ including the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and was a member and president of HPU’s Board of Trustees.

Holtzclaw lives in Goldthwaite with his wife, Juel Ann (Bradford) ’67. They have three grown children who each attended HPU – Douglas Alan, Jr. ’93, Brian Locke and Laurie Sanderson ’98 – as well as 12 grandchildren.

To register to attend Stinger Spectacular events on the HPU campus, visit or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 325-649-8007.


Cutline 1: Dale Fisher ’61, Distinguished Alumnus
Cutline 2: Dr. Micaela (Espiricueta) Camacho ’59, Coming Home Queen
Cutline 3: Natalia Lopez ’06, Outstanding Young Graduate
Cutline 4: Dr. Robert and Cheryl (Everett) Mangrum ’91, Grand Marshals
Cutline 5: Rev. LJ Jr. ’78 and Lori (Hassel) Clayton ’76, Medal of Service
Cutline 6: Rev. Ruben Hernández ’76, Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award
Cutline 7: Rev. Doug Holtzclaw ’68, Jacket Alumni in Ministry (JAM) Faithful Servant Award