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HPU honors four students in Christian ethics and theology

Currie-Strickland Honorees 2016BROWNWOOD – February 29, 2016 – Four Howard Payne University students were honored as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology at the university’s ninth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics event earlier this month. Those honored include Shaefer Church, senior Bible major from Farmington, New Mexico; Cheney Cover, junior cross-cultural studies major from Troup; J.T. Hurt, a 2015 HPU alumnus and current graduate student from Brownwood; and Tom Kyle, junior cross-cultural studies major from Salado. Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies, presented the awards.

“At these lectures, we honor these good students,” said Dr. Auvenshine. “But, the reality is that they honor the Lord and us every day as they faithfully serve and study with us.”

Each year, the honorees are selected based on an evaluation of achievement in their classes and on the ways that they have excelled in their thinking in the fields of Christian ethics and theology. This year, each student received a certificate and three books: “Do Justice, Love Mercy” by Phil Strickland; “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?” by Brian McLaren; and “A New Religious America” by Diana Eck.

“Our faculty are privileged to teach many fine students at HPU, but these four have excelled above and beyond what is required,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies. “We are all very proud of them and happy to honor them.”

The four students plan to pursue ministry-related goals after graduation. Church hopes to go to seminary and then overseas to be a missionary. Cover wants to minister to refugees in an urban environment. Hurt is currently a student in the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry program at HPU and plans to pursue youth ministry. Kyle plans to attend the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas to study translation and linguistics. He also wants to work overseas with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at (325) 649-8403 or visit

Photo cutline: Dr. Donnie Auvenshine (left), professor and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies, is pictured with Currie-Strickland Scholars Shaefer Church, Tom Kyle, Cheney Cover and J.T. Hurt.