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HPU hosts another fun-filled Stinger Spectacular weekend

BROWNWOOD – October 23, 2023 – Howard Payne University welcomed large crowds of alumni and other guests to campus recently for Stinger Spectacular. The annual event, comprised of Homecoming, Yellow Jacket Preview and Family Weekend, hosted former students, prospective students, families of current students, members of the community and more for an enjoyable weekend of reunions, campus tours and other festivities.

“Stinger Spectacular has become a wonderful tradition on our campus,” said Dr. Kalie Lowrie ’06, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “We were happy to greet so many alumni and friends and enjoy beautiful weather, fun events and a weekend full of celebrating all the qualities that make our university so special. We express special appreciation to our sponsors and our volunteers for helping to make Stinger Spectacular a success.”

More than 400 individuals were served during Friday night’s Cobbler on the Campus, featuring a performance by HPU students Payton Chumbley, Madi Boggs and Zane Smith. The Alumni Banquet, at which Homecoming honorees were recognized, was sold out and more than 250 individuals were served at the Student and Family Dinner.

A crowd of more than 1,000 was on campus for additional weekend events including the parade, the solar eclipse and the HPU Family Picnic. A standing-room only audience enjoyed the Alumni Choir Concert, featuring a performance by a Heritage Singer Reunion choir and a special dedication was held for the new H Pond, located by the Newbury Family Welcome Center.

Also, a special skydiving demonstration by Skydive Skylark, out of Killeen, wowed fans at Gordon Wood Stadium prior to the Homecoming football game. One of the divers delivered the game ball to Rev. L.J. Clayton ’78, Medal of Service recipient and member of the Sports Hall of Fame. Also, Distinguished Alumnus Dale Fisher ’61 and his wife, Vicky, helped with the coin toss to start the game. The Yellow Jacket football team beat Austin College 35-11.

The HPU Alumni Association sponsored prize money for the parade float winners, which were announced during the game. The winners were Pi Theta Chi (First Place), Chi Alpha Omega (Second Place) and Delta Chi Rho (Third Place).

The 2023 Homecoming Court was announced during halftime. Named Homecoming King and Queen were Mitsue Rodriguez, a kinesiology major from San Antonio, and Ethan Cortez, a biomedical sciences and Honors Academy major from Bangs. The titles of Homecoming Prince and Princess went to Jack Shackelford, a finance major from Midlothian, and Rachel Baergen, a middle school English education major from Rockport.

Other Homecoming Court nominees were Daniel Archer, Youth Ministry and Civic Leadership and Public Policy major from Houston; Trevor Bowers, biomedical sciences and allied health sciences major from Bangs; Madison Cason, business marketing/management major from Telephone; Heath Cook, Christian education major from Richmond; Megan Froese, English education major from Rising Star; Grant Garnett, nursing major from Goliad; Mariah Gayton, allied health sciences major from Houston; and Kiara Green, allied health sciences major from Amarillo.

Also honored at halftime were HPU’s 2023 alumni honorees: 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.

HPU thanks the following businesses and organizations for their support of Stinger Spectacular. The title sponsor is Citizens National Bank. Gold sponsors are Bruner Auto Family; Chick-fil-A of Brownwood; City of Brownwood; Early Texas Visitors and Events Center; HPU Alumni Association; Underwood’s Bar-B-Q; Wendlee Broadcasting; and Willie’s T’s. Navy sponsors are Double H Mercantile; Dr Pepper Bottlers, Brownwood, Inc.; Painter & Johnson Financial; and United Supermarkets. White sponsors are Lone Star Optical, MCBank Early; Robnett Integra Insurance; and Smith & Sharpe Insurance Agency. The Partner sponsor is Common Grounds Coffeehouse.

Also taking place during Stinger Spectacular, was Family Weekend, which allowed family members of current HPU students to spend the weekend experiencing HPU. Dr. Nathan Penland, vice president for student experience, shared about the impact of the weekend’s events.

“The celebration of Stinger Spectacular was special this year,” he said. “Great weather combined with great events provided a memorable weekend for students, alumni, families and friends. I am thankful for all who helped to make the weekend a success!”

As a part of Yellow Jacket Preview, prospective students were able to attend numerous Stinger Spectacular events. Dr. Ben Martin ’04, associate vice president for enrollment management, said the festivities are a perfect way for visiting students to see what HPU is about.

“Stinger Spectacular is always a great event that encapsulates Howard Payne University,” he said. “Prospective students can see the quality of academics, future career opportunities and the communal connections that last a lifetime. Stinger Spectacular 2023 was a great success for all the potential students who attended, and it allowed them to observe Howard Payne University during a great weekend.”

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Cutline #1: HPU’s 2023 alumni honorees were (from left) Dale Fisher ’61, Dr. Micaela (Espiricueta) Camacho ’59, Rev. Doug Holtzclaw ’68, Dr. Robert and Cheryl (Everett) Mangrum ’91, Rev. L.J. Jr. ’78 and Lori (Hassel) Clayton ’76, Natalia Lopez ’06 and Rev. Rubén Hernández ’76.

Cutline #2: HPU’s Homecoming King and Queen were Ethan Cortez and Mitsue Rodriguez.

Cutline #3: A special skydiving demonstration was given by Skydive Skylark prior to the Homecoming football game.

Cutline #4: Stinger Spectacular guests enjoyed watching the solar eclipse from the HPU campus.