HPU’s new first family feels right at home in the heart of Texas

When Dr. Cory Hines was named president of Howard Payne University nearly six months ago, one of the many benefits that came with his new position was the opportunity to return to the Brownwood/Early area, where he felt at home as an HPU student in the 1990s.

“God blessed Howard Payne by placing it in the center of a warm community,” he said. “I knew my family would love it here.”

The Hines family recently relocated to Brownwood from Waxahachie, which had been home for more than two decades. Despite the adjustments that come with making such a move, Dr. Hines and his wife, Melinda, along with their two children, Mackenzie and Caleb, are already finding themselves right at home, settling into their new surroundings and getting involved in area activities. The family enjoys exploring the region, making new friends and getting reacquainted with familiar faces from years past.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with people being so kind, welcoming and genuinely gracious,” Mrs. Hines said. “I love the slogan ‘Feels Like Home,’ because it already does.”

Among other summer activities, Dr. and Mrs. Hines took an excursion to Lake Brownwood. Mrs. Hines has been active with plans for the HPU Women’s Club, an organization that builds friendships on campus, throughout the community and beyond. Mackenzie and Caleb went to youth camp with a local church group. The family enjoys discovering restaurants and Dr. Hines, an avid outdoorsman, eagerly anticipates opportunities for hunting and fishing. He and his family look forward to a busy autumn of events, not only at HPU but also around town and across the area.

Daughter Mackenzie is a senior at Brownwood High School and son Caleb is an eighth-grader at Brownwood Middle School. In late spring, local friends gave Brownwood Lions t-shirts to Mackenzie and Caleb, and the two began wearing their new school colors before they had even relocated to Brownwood.

“I’m looking forward to making new friends and enjoying my senior year,” Mackenzie said, while Caleb added, “I’m excited about playing basketball in Brownwood.”

Mackenzie enjoys English and art, while Caleb’s favorite subject is math. The family appreciates the helpfulness of Brownwood Independent School District personnel with scheduling classes and finalizing details for the new school year.

“Brownwood and Howard Payne already feel like home,” Dr. Hines said. “Much of what I experienced as a student way back is still true today.”

He recalls experiences such as playing Jacket Golf, a favorite HPU Yellow Jackets pastime played around campus using golf clubs and tennis balls, which he now gets to share with his family.

“I think the campus community is excited about having an alumnus as president,” he added. “There’s something fun, too, about having kids in the president’s home. That’s a lot of fun – having a Nerf gun war or their friends coming over and hanging out at the house.”

The Hines family enjoyed the whirlwind summer and looks forward to the future.

“We’re so happy to be here,” Dr. Hines said. “We can’t wait to see what God has in store for the months and years ahead.”

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Cutline: Dr. Cory and Mrs. Melinda Hines, along with daughter Mackenzie and son Caleb, appreciate the warm welcome provided by the Brownwood and Early communities and look forward to an autumn full of activities.