News Archives

Dr. Cory Hines named Howard Payne University’s 20th president

BROWNWOOD – March 18, 2019 – Howard Payne University has named Dr. Cory Hines as the institution’s next president, the 20th in HPU’s 130-year history. The announcement was made following a special called meeting of HPU’s Board of Trustees on Monday, at which the board voted unanimously in favor of Dr. Hines’ appointment. He will begin work at HPU on April 1.

A 1997 graduate of HPU, Dr. Hines has a broad range of experience in higher education administration. Before moving to his current post as vice president of enrollment at Dallas Baptist University, he served that institution in other capacities as vice president in the areas of advancement, graduate affairs, external affairs, and alumni and community relations. He has taught at DBU and provided leadership in the creation of several graduate programs there. Active in Baptist life, he also has experience in the ministry, having served as executive pastor and student pastor at Ferris Avenue Baptist Church (now The Avenue Church) in Waxahachie.

He earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in religious education from HPU, followed by the Master of Arts degree in Christian education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2000 and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in leadership studies – higher education from Dallas Baptist University in 2012.

“Dr. Hines’ combination of education and experience makes him a perfect fit for Howard Payne University,” said Pastor Ray Still, chair of HPU’s Board of Trustees. “As our institution continues to seek to glorify God and prepare our students to fulfill His calling on their lives, Dr. Hines will provide the kind of leadership needed for the next stage in HPU’s long, distinguished history.”

Dr. Hines and his wife, Melinda, have two children, Mackenzie and Caleb. The family currently resides in Waxahachie and will relocate to Brownwood. Dr. Hines expressed his eagerness to renew his relationship with HPU and the Brownwood area.

“Howard Payne University had a life-changing impact on me as a student, and I’m honored to have been chosen to lead my alma mater as president,” he said. “My family and I are eager to come back home to Brownwood and plant our lives here.”

Monday’s announcement is the culmination of a process that began in the summer of 2018, following the retirement of Dr. Bill Ellis as president and his transition to the role of chancellor. To assist HPU’s search committee, the university enlisted the executive search firm of CarterBaldwin of Atlanta.

“The search process yielded a wide range of applicants from across the U.S.,” said Dr. David Lowrie, chair of the search committee, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Decatur. “We are grateful to our associates at CarterBaldwin for their help in securing such an impressive pool of candidates, and we are thankful to God for His leadership through this entire journey. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

In addition to Dr. Lowrie, committee members from the Board of Trustees were Ronnie D. Andrews, HPU alumnus and business executive from Houston; Marc Dingler, HPU alumnus and attorney from Midland; Carter M. Sharpe, insurance executive from Brownwood; Jonathan “Jonny” Snow, HPU alumnus and executive recruiter from Waxahachie; and Lesley Collier Wyse, HPU alumna and retired educator from Boerne. Representing HPU employees on the committee were Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, dean of the School of Education and professor of education; Lynn Humeniuk, director of the criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology; and Hunter Sims, athletic director.

“The members of the search committee devoted many hours and countless prayers to this process,” said Pastor Still. “Their diligence is a testament to their commitment to our university and the monumental importance of their task.”

Dr. Paul W. Armes, longtime educator, administrator and minister, has served as HPU’s interim president since June 1. His service to HPU will end on March 31.

“Howard Payne University has great days ahead,” Dr. Armes said. “Dr. Cory Hines is already part of the university family and brings a proven track record of excellence and effectiveness in the field of faith-based higher education. We are at a very exciting moment of HPU’s history. Surely God’s hand of blessing is on this university.”

Pastor Still expressed his thanks to Dr. Armes for his service to HPU.

“On behalf of the entire HPU family, I offer my gratitude to Dr. Armes for his willingness to step into this role and serve our university with characteristic warmth, wisdom and grace,” Pastor Still said. “As he returns to retirement, he takes with him our best wishes and lasting appreciation.”

More information about Dr. Hines will follow in the weeks ahead. For more details about HPU, please visit www.hputx.edu.

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Photo #1 cutline: Dr. Cory Hines speaks to an assembly of HPU students, faculty and staff shortly after his appointment as the university’s 20th president.

Photo #2 cutline: Dr. Cory Hines is pictured with his wife, Melinda, and children, Mackenzie (far left) and Caleb (far right).

HPU provost Dr. W. Mark Tew departs for president role at Judson College

BROWNWOOD – March 8, 2019 – Dr. W. Mark Tew, Howard Payne University’s provost and chief academic officer, has been named the 23rd president of Judson College in Marion, Alabama. He will assume the post on March 25.

Dr. Tew, who joined HPU’s administration as vice president for academic affairs in September 2007, is a native of Alabama and previously served at Judson College in a variety of administrative and academic capacities including senior vice president, vice president for institutional advancement, chief financial officer and professor of religious studies.

During his years at HPU, Dr. Tew has provided key leadership in a variety of initiatives, such as the creation and development of a range of degree programs and the university’s Strategic Plan.

“I consider it a great honor to have served Howard Payne University during these years,” said Dr. Tew. “My pride in what we as an academic community have accomplished is matched only by my confidence of the great things yet to come.”

A graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with Doctor of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees, he also holds the Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Samford University.

“Dr. Tew is a distinguished academic administrator who has served Howard Payne University with professionalism and grace,” said Dr. Paul W. Armes, interim president. “His unwavering commitment to HPU’s mission as a distinctively Christ-centered academic community has been a blessing to our institution.”

Dr. Celeste Church, assistant vice president for retention, research and accreditation, will serve as interim provost effective March 18. Dr. Church joined HPU’s music faculty in 2004 and progressed through the ranks from instructor to full professor. She has also served as chair of the Faculty Assembly, co-chair of the General Education Review Committee and dean of institutional research and effectiveness.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Dr. W. Mark Tew has been named president of Judson College.

HPU to close for Spring Break

BROWNWOOD – March 7, 2019 – Howard Payne University will be closed for Spring Break next week, March 11-15. No classes will be held and administrative offices will be closed.

The university will reopen and classes will resume at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 18.

HPU graduates 94 at close of fall 2018 semester

BROWNWOOD – March 4, 2019 – Howard Payne University graduated 94 students during its Commencement ceremony held at the close of the fall 2018 semester.

Dr. Paul Armes, HPU interim president, and other university representatives conferred the degrees.

The list below includes December and August graduates. Students must have a 3.55-3.69 grade-point average to graduate Cum Laude, a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduates included:

Abilene
Sarah Elizabeth Carey, Bachelor of Science in general psychology

Alvarado
Audrey Mae Kirkland, Bachelor of Arts in general psychology

Amherst
Shawnece Vandela Wormly, Bachelor of Science in athletic training

Arlington
Tayler Brittany Rushing, Master of Business Administration

Athens
Jeffrey Ryan Quattlebaum, Master of Arts in theology and ministry

Auburn, Washington
Blake A. Null, Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Austin
Dominique Marie Featherstone, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies
Marissa Cheyenne Godbey, Bachelor of Music in music education (choral – all-level certification), Cum Laude

Bangs
Frank L. Westover, Master of Science in criminal justice

Brownwood
Emile Georges Accaoui, Bachelor of Arts in social science (American political studies)
Ryan A. Adams, Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (multimedia)
Travis Toby Adams, Bachelor of Science in studio art
Titus J. Brown, Bachelor of Business Administration in management
Melodee Lynne Carrier, Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry
Briana Dawn Coody, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies
Tanner Wayne Donathan, Bachelor of Arts in communications (public and media)
Chanse Ray Frenette, Master of Business Administration
Crystal Aliyah Hernandez, Bachelor of Arts in social work
Kimberlyn Elaine Ho, Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Cum Laude
Jessica Carol Huckaby, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice (restorative justice)
Justin Alan Lawson, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Jensen Lee Limer, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, Cum Laude
Cheyanne Denise Miller Lovelady, Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)
Cassia Noelle Rose, Bachelor of Arts in theatre, Summa Cum Laude
Gip Alan Sills, Bachelor of Science in athletic training
Danny Kyle Steele, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice
Clara Octani Tarigan, Bachelor of Science in engineering science
Stephanie Michelle Thompson, Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)
Keegan Ryan Torres, Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Cum Laude
Daniel Maurice Weatherly, Bachelor of Science in business administration
Andres Jose Zambrano, Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice

Cedar Park
Tracer J. Moore, Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Comanche
Micah Jo Taylor, Master of Business Administration

Crockett
Dillon Layne McDugle, Master of Education in instructional leadership

Cross Plains
Morgan Hayley Megarity, Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Early
Terrell Veron St. Julian, Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (multimedia)
Austin Caleb Throckmorton, Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Summa Cum Laude
Jason Ryan Washburn, Bachelor of Arts in history and Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting

El Paso
Jesus Arturo Barraza, Master of Business Administration
Janet Nicole Carrillo, Master of Education in instructional leadership
Roberto Elizalde, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration), Summa Cum Laude
Fernando Louis Fernandez, Associate in Ministry
Kacie Lynn Greseth, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)
Steven Cathcart Lewis, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)
Priscilla Marie Macias, Master of Business Administration

Eldorado
Anna Kaye McBride, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration), Magna Cum Laude

Farmington, New Mexico
Crisharo Rayne Begay, Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry

Fort Morgan, Colorado
Nicole Ann Karas, Master of Business Administration

Fort Worth
Justin Michael Harris, Bachelor of Arts in social science (jurisprudence)
Benjamin Buchanan Lewis, Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (personal trainer)

Frisco
Charles Christopher Whitson, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)

Gatesville
Augusta Marie Johnson, Bachelor of Arts in history, Honors Academy and social science (global studies), Magna Cum Laude

Godley
Breanna Danielle Hunt, Bachelor of Science in mathematics (high school: grades 7-12)

Granbury
Katelyn Leigh O’Conner, Bachelor of Arts in family studies, Magna Cum Laude

Grandview
Bailey Brian Smith, Master of Business Administration

Greenville
Anna Lauren Jeffers, Master of Arts in theology and ministry

Humble
Hunter Gordon Bazan, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

Jarrell
Anissa Joyce Peralta, Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Katy
Tobias Ty Turney, Master of Arts in theology and ministry

Keller
Tyla Joyce Tipton, Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Kerrville
Catrina Leigh Hooten, Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Killeen
Kaytlin Dianne Hunkins, Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
Tyler Lee James, Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (all-level certification)

Kyle
Stephen Kyle Wright, Bachelor of Science in business administration

Liberty Hill
Chesney Beth Goza, Bachelor of Science in general psychology

May
Allison S. Williams, Master of Education in instructional leadership

McAllen
Emily Annette Villarreal, Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

McKinney
Tara Brooke Carroll, Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

Mexia
Stephen Featherston, Bachelor of Science in communications (public and media)

Monahans
Garrett Ford, Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies, Magna Cum Laude

Natalia
Andrew William Overmiller, Bachelor of Arts in Christian education

New Braunfels
Jerome Agnew, Master of Business Administration
Patrick Scott Akers, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
David Bradley Blevins, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Emily Elaine Dixon, Bachelor of Science in business administration, Summa Cum Laude
Audrie Nicole Drummond, Master of Business Administration
Kirstin Lorrel Henderson, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Olivia Ann Hetherington, Bachelor of Science in business administration
John Christian Hjort, Master of Business Administration
Travis Logan Kiers, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)
Jennifer J. Knighton, Master of Business Administration
Raul Medina, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration, Summa Cum Laude

Round Rock
Eugene Justin Barrera, Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)
Stacy Rachaun Beattie-Anderson, Bachelor of Arts in English language arts and reading (high school: grades 8 -12)

Runaway Bay
Taylor Madison Edwards, Bachelor of Arts in social studies composite (high school: grades 7-12)

San Angelo
Adriana Alexandra Mata, Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Marshall Ray Simpson, Master of Arts in youth ministry

San Antonio
Andria Garza, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Cody Tyler Hastings, Bachelor of Science in kinesiology (general)

San Marcos
Joseph Zenus Torres, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in business administration

San Saba
Jacey MaKenna Martinez, Bachelor of Arts in social work

Stephenville
Shadd C. Cole, Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)

Tolar
Holly Ann Leatherman, Bachelor of Arts in mathematics (high school: grades 7-12)

Tomball
Kayla Kenzie Boucher, Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing, Cum Laude

HPU students successfully compete in Southwest Athletic Trainers Association Quiz Bowl

BROWNWOOD – February 28, 2019 – Students from Howard Payne University’s athletic training program scored its highest in a three-year history of competing in the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association’s (SWATA) Quiz Bowl. The event, which took place on February 1, is part of the SWATA Student Competency Workshop and was hosted by Texas State University in San Marcos.

The “Jeopardy”-style competition requires each university to select a three-member team with an alternate. The HPU team consisted of Kaitlyn Harrison of Watauga, Brittany Cortez of Forney and Reagan Ridlehuber of Frisco, with Foga’A Solomona-Afoa of Fort Hood serving as the alternate.

The majority of the participating teams were from large universities and master’s-level accredited programs. HPU’s team competed against students from institutions such as Sam Houston State University, University of the Incarnate Word, University of Houston and The University of Texas at Arlington. HPU was the smallest university and one of only a few undergraduate programs to compete in the Quiz Bowl.

“It’s an opportunity for students in accredited undergraduate and graduate athletic training education programs to prepare for their board exams,” said Mike Terrill, chair of HPU’s Department of Kinesiology and assistant professor of athletic training. “The ability of Howard Payne University’s team to compete at such a high level with larger universities and graduate programs demonstrates the quality of the students and education at Howard Payne.”

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Cutline: HPU students competing in the SWATA Quiz Bowl were Kaitlyn Harrison, Brittany Cortez and Reagan Ridlehuber, with Foga’A Solomona-Afoa (not pictured) serving as the alternate.

Life of the Mind, Life of the Spirit: HPU speaking sessions celebrate crossroads of faith and academics

BROWNWOOD – February 27, 2019 – Embracing true Christian higher education is less about integrating faith with learning than it is about recognizing that the two are already inherently joined – no “integration” required. The study of science, history, math, English – every subject – is also the study of God the Creator.

With this in mind, Howard Payne University has instituted a new one-semester, intensive speaking series during which representative faculty and staff members share with their colleagues how they are incorporating this “life of the mind, life of the Spirit” philosophy into their teaching and/or administrative work. The personnel speak on how their areas of oversight function at the crossroads of the mind and the Spirit to teach and work from a biblically informed, Christian worldview that goes beyond simply allowing a Christian emphasis to fostering it.

Staff members from HPU’s offices of admission, marketing and communications and financial aid, along with faculty members from the schools of science and mathematics, education and Christian studies, have presented to their peers with several more sessions from others across campus planned throughout the semester.

Additionally, two colleagues in Christian higher education from North Greenville University in South Carolina recently joined HPU personnel for a professional development day on the topic of engaging the mind and the Spirit.

Speaking on the HPU campus were Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr., president of North Greenville University, and Dr. H. Paul Thompson Jr., dean of North Greenville’s College of Humanities and Sciences and chair of the history department. Both emphasized that truly Christian higher education is about much more than praying before class.

Dr. Fant said that Christian educators have unique access to ideas and concepts in their content areas as illuminated by the light of Christ.

“You ought to understand the philosophical framework of your discipline through a light that others in your discipline who are not Christ followers cannot comprehend,” he said. “If I have the mind of Christ, I have the mind of the One who has helped us to understand the reality that He has prepared for us. I have access to ideas, understandings and perceptions that others (non-Christians) do not.”

He went on to say that students are hungry for spiritual conversations.

“Not only that, they are hungry for you to have spiritual conversations about your discipline,” he said. “There’s nothing that is ‘second class’ about being Christian in higher education. You have true academic freedom in that you can talk about things here that you would be called on the carpet for at a state university.”

Dr. Thompson taught for 13 years in public education before entering a career in Christian higher education.

“Making the transition to a place of being able to merge my faith with my discipline has not been arduous,” he said. “It’s been a joy. There is a wholeness now that I never had before professionally or personally.”

The two most powerful, life-changing experiences a person can have, said Dr. Thompson, are a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and a high-quality education.

“We are at ground zero in Christian higher education to merge those two intentionally and explicitly,” he said. “That’s a really, really powerful thing.”

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, said all HPU faculty and staff, regardless of their individual roles, are responsible for teaching the students in some way.

“Our prayer is that as we perform our jobs, we recognize that they are more than a series of tasks,” he said. “We have the opportunity every day to present and model to the students God sends our way the image of people who are seeking to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives.”

It is exciting to know that we have been placed where we can help prepare the next generation of leaders, Dr. Tew said.

“We recognize that we can accept that challenge and shape and mold students in such a way that they go from here knowing that their careers are their calling to serve God so that they can use their gifts and talents that we’ve helped them fine-tune,” he said. “We pray they use these not just to make a living for themselves but as a means to a far greater end – that is to share the love of Christ in everything that they do.”

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Cutline: Colleagues in Christian higher education from North Greenville University recently joined HPU personnel for a professional development day on engaging the mind and the Spirit. Pictured are Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr. (left), president of North Greenville University, and Dr. H. Paul Thompson Jr., dean of North Greenville’s College of Humanities and Sciences and chair of the history department.

Local Fellowship of Christian Athletes to host Tony Daniel Memorial 5K at Howard Payne University

BROWNWOOD – February 27, 2019 – The Brownwood area’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) will host a 5K race on Saturday, March 2, in memory of Tony Daniel, former FCA Brownwood area director, who passed away in 2018. All proceeds will go to the Brownwood Area FCA Camp Scholarship Fund.

The 3.1-mile course, which will take place on the HPU campus, will start at the gate between Veda Hodge Hall and Jennings Hall and will end between Winebenner Hall and the Bell Towers. Participants are invited to walk or run during the event.

Those who wish to qualify for a timed award can register for a fee of $30, while those running or walking just for fun can register for $25 up until March 1. Registration fees will increase to $35 and $30 on race day (cash or check only at the event). To register in advance, visit www.runsignup.com/Race/TX/Brownwood/TonyDanielMemorial5K. Walk-up registration beings at 8:00 a.m. on March 2 and the race will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female as well as to top participants in various age groups.

“This 5K will honor Tony and his ministry by raising money to aid athletes and coaches in the Brownwood area to go to FCA camps across Texas,” said Kristin Haman, athletic trainer. “The experiences that athletes and coaches have at these camps can help strengthen their walk with the Lord and impact the community of Brownwood for Christ.”

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Cutline: The HPU campus is the location for the upcoming Tony Daniel Memorial 5K.

Four HPU students recognized at 2019 Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Four Howard Payne University students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars at the 12th annual Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics on Feb. 7-8. The students honored at this year’s lectures were Rachel Carpenter, junior biblical languages major from Rowlett; Lillie McDonald, junior practical theology major from Tuscola; Cecily McIlwain, senior cross-cultural studies major from Dayton; and Eli Williams, senior biblical languages major from May.

“These students are among the best that we teach in the School of Christian Studies, excelling through their scholarly studies as well as through their active engagement with their course material,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies. “The lectures benefit all HPU students, including those honored, by bringing an important topic for their consideration so that they can reflect on what it might mean to think Christianly about it.”

The guest speaker at the event was Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, assistant professor of Christian Ethics and associate dean for Fuller Texas at Fuller University, who spoke on the topic “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.” Dr. Kaemingk delivered two lectures, “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Crown” and “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Cross.”

“As Christians, we need to be about practicing the hospitality of Christ,” said Dr. Kaemingk. “That is what Muslim immigration represents – a profound opportunity to practice Christ’s hospitality and to remember it again. This is an opportunity to meet Jesus again and remember what He calls us to.”

Dr. Kaemingk is also a scholar-in-residence at the Max De Pree Center for Christian Leadership and serves as a fellow for the Center for Public Justice. He founded the Fuller Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture in Seattle, Washington, in 2013 and served as the executive director of the institute until 2017.

He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and holds doctoral degrees in systematic theology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2011, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to go to Amsterdam to study political theology and the European conflict over Muslim immigration. An ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Dr. Kaemingk lives in Houston with his wife, Heather, and their three sons, Calvin, Kees and Caedmon.

“Dr. Kaemingk’s work is invaluable for contemporary Christians,” said Dr. Hatch. “It challenges us to be the body of Christ, and to do so precisely by making space for the other – in this case, our Muslim neighbors. His lectures focused on the cultivation of habits of hospitality, which means they will continue to make a positive impact on our thinking and activity here at HPU for a long time.”

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Four HPU students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars at the 2019 Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics. Pictured from left to right are Lillie McDonald, Rachel Carpenter, Cecily McIlwain and Eli Williams. Also pictured is Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies at HPU. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk spoke at the 2019 lectures on the topic of “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.”

HPU social work program focuses on Christian approach to challenges

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Social workers deal often with the darkest forces humanity has to offer – abuse, trauma and addictions among others. Perhaps none are better equipped, therefore, to become social workers than Christians walking daily in the light of Jesus. That is the premise of the social work program at Howard Payne University.

“Social workers are always dealing with the fallouts of evil in the world,” said Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program. “If they are not rooted in Christ, are not relying on Jesus to empower them, it’s really hard to maintain a healthy balance in their lives and avoid burnout.”

Though a secular emphasis is often placed on social work, the field’s principles are in line with Christian values and the teachings of Jesus.

“Jesus taught us to take care of the vulnerable, the oppressed, orphans, displaced people,” said Derrington. “One of the values of social work is holding people in unconditional positive regard and protecting human dignity and the worth of people. That’s all in line with what the Bible tells us.”

Derrington, who lives in San Saba, spoke with her pastor, Sam Crosby of First Baptist Church of San Saba, about Jesus’ teachings.

“He said there are 13 references in the King James Version of the Gospels involving Jesus blessing or ministering to the poor,” she said. “Though opinions differ based on interpretations, some scholars argue that the Bible commands compassion toward those in need some 300 times.”

Derrington joined HPU’s faculty in the fall 2018 semester from the University of Denver where she was employed as an adjunct faculty member and curriculum developer. Prior to that, she worked in child welfare, helping to place children with adoptive families and providing the families with post-adoptive support. She additionally worked in child welfare policy analysis and marriage/family strengthening activities for the federal government, and for the state government in Colorado providing policy communications for the state regulatory agency. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver and a Master of Social Work degree in policy and program management from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

“I worked in secular social work higher education in Colorado for eight years and always recognized the parallels between social work values and ethics and Jesus’ teachings but I couldn’t figure out a way to combine the two,” she said.

Derrington said she prayed over the situation consistently for two years.

“Last summer, out of the blue, I got a call from Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work at HPU,” she said. “She got my number from a friend of a friend and told me she heard I had moved to the area from a colleague I had only met once. It was quite serendipitous.”

Christian social workers are better positioned to see God’s redemptive powers at work in the lives of the people with which they interact.

“Secularly, social work promotes the idea of empowering others to reach their full potential,” said Derrington. “When you add in the Christian influences, social work is about reaching this potential within an individual’s relationship with Christ.”

Though the social work field can often be incredibly challenging, it is equally rewarding.

“Your entire life is centered around the principles of Jesus’ teachings,” said Derrington. “Your career, the way you relate to people in your personal life – even who you are in the community and in the world. Folks who have it in their hearts to serve and really want to model the life of Jesus will find that the social work field is a good way to accomplish that.”

It is also important, Derrington noted, to understand that social work is as much about preventing evil in the world as it is about dealing with the fallouts of it.

“Social work is also about promoting positive youth development and healthy relationships and strengthening marriages and parenting skills,” she said.

Those with a social work education are prepared to practice in organizations or institutions or to work with small groups or families. Careers include positions with adult protective services, child welfare, community organizations, schools, correctional facilities, prisons, hospitals and treatment facilities among many others. Social workers may also choose to go into politics, research, policy analysis or administrative roles.

“There are also opportunities to do international social work in any type of setting anywhere in the world,” said Derrington.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program, such as HPU’s, and go on to graduate school may earn a master’s degree in social work in just one year.

Many may wonder if they have “what it takes” for a career in social work, but Derrington is certain that Christians do.

“You need a solid relationship with Jesus and a good understanding of how he taught us to treat others,” she said. “When put together with the concrete tools that social workers develop in higher education, there are really no limits on how you can impact positive changes in individuals, families, organizations and communities.”

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Cutline: Rachel Derrington serves as assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program.

HPU’s Dr. Craig Younce to return to Zambia with students

BROWNWOOD – February 20, 2019 – After a mission trip to Zambia in fall 2018, Dr. Craig Younce, assistant professor of biology, will return this March with a group of students to serve at a local orphanage. The trip, which will be from March 7-20, will help students unite their education with God’s call on their lives.

“In the fall of 2017 I attended a class offered by my church, Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, that changed my mind on what our purpose is.” said Younce. “That purpose is to show God’s glory to all the nations.”

The class, called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, prompted Younce to begin asking God how he could be a part of His purpose. That question was answered the following March, when Bryan Allen, a member of Younce’s Sunday school class, was unable to go on the 10-day trip to Zambia. Allen asked Younce if he was interested in taking his place.

“From the moment I got his text, I sensed God was telling me, ‘That’s what you need to do,’” said Younce. “You need to go on that trip.’”

Younce and members of his church left for Zambia in August 2018 and were able to share the gospel with community members of Namwala.

“We shared the gospel with locals and invited them to church. It was fascinating seeing members of the Zambian church talk because people would start to gather to listen,” said Younce. “It just kind of gives you a glimpse of what it might have been like when Jesus was preaching.”

While in Zambia, the group stayed for a few days at New Day Orphanage, which takes in children of all ages, cares for them until they become adults and provides them with education. The goal of the orphanage is to raise children to be like Christ so they can impact their communities when they grow up.

“I could hear God telling me that we needed to do something with them,” said Younce. “I began talking to Wes Wilcox and told him that HPU might be interested in helping the orphanage. When we were leaving he told me, ‘You say you’ll come back, but a lot of people say that because it sounds good when they’re here. I’m going to challenge you to actually do it.’”

When Younce came back to Brownwood he wrestled for a while with the question of how he and HPU could assist in Zambia.

“I talked with the orphanage and with my dean about what we could do,” he said. “We also coordinated with Sam Goff from Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, who has been teaching a series called Helping without Hurting. The key thing was figuring out how to provide support that they can take ownership of.”

Younce and Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, coordinated with New Day Orphanage on a plan to bring chemistry and biology majors from HPU to Zambia. While there, students will help the orphanage refine its science curriculum and help with science demonstrations.

“This year, the university is really stressing the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit,” said Younce. “It’s fascinating that, when all of this was coming to fruition, I wasn’t even aware that was going to be a focus.”

Younce hopes this trip will help show students how to bridge the gap between the life of the mind and the life of the Spirit by allowing them to incorporate both their education and God’s vision while serving.

“We are all created for a purpose and that is to carry out his mission,” he said. “If nothing else, one of the biggest things that Christ calls us to do is to serve. We all have different skills with which to do that. These students are getting an education and now they can apply it in a way of service.”

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Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Craig Younce poses with two Zambian children while visiting a church in Namwala, Zambia.