News Archives

HPU personnel complete doctoral degrees

Dr. Jodi GoodeBROWNWOOD – August 15, 2018 – Two members of Howard Payne University’s staff and faculty earned doctor of philosophy degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Dr. Jodi Goode, assistant vice president for informational technology services and chief information officer, completed her degree in information systems – security from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also holds a Master of Science degree in information systems from Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

“Dr. Goode’s research into cybersecurity has directly enhanced HPU’s operation, and her resulting expertise and winsome spirit have made her an internationally sought-after conference leader on the subject,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “She accomplished her doctoral research while successfully leading the university’s software conversion and also serving in a faculty role.”

Dr. Jennifer McNieceDr. Jennifer McNiece, assistant professor of government, director of international studies and academic travel, and acting Brand Chair, completed her degree in business administration from Northcentral University in San Diego, California. She also holds the Master of Arts degree in economics and the Master of Public Administration degree, both from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She is a graduate of HPU through the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy program.

“Dr. McNiece has provided exceptional leadership to the university and completed her doctoral work, all while advancing the university’s international studies program,” said Dr. Tew. “We’re thankful for the work she does with students in and out of the classroom and for her commitment to professional and personal development.”

Dr. Tew stated he was proud not only of the academic accomplishments of Dr. Goode and Dr. McNiece, but also of their outstanding service to the university on a daily basis.

“The earning of these degrees represents the culmination of years of hard work,” he said.


Cutlines: HPU personnel Dr. Jodi Goode (left) and Dr. Jennifer McNiece (right) completed their doctoral degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

HPU’s campus undergoes summer improvements and maintenance

HPU groundsBROWNWOOD – August 14, 2018 – The upkeep of Howard Payne University’s campus is a year-round job. The university’s grounds and facilities personnel take pride in keeping the campus looking beautiful and operating efficiently. However, the summer months provide opportunities for larger projects to be completed so the campus will be ready for the fall semester.

This summer’s projects include the remodel of Room 123 in the Winebrenner Hall of Science, installation of new air conditioning and heating equipment in the Jennings Hall men’s residence facility, removal of flooring and installation of new carpet in the Veda Hodge Hall women’s residence facility and work on the Central Plant chiller.

“The Office of University Facilities and Planning spends a vast portion of the summer repairing student housing in preparation for the fall semester,” said Terry Pritchett, assistant vice president for facilities and planning. “All these improvements will aid in either the living or teaching of students by providing basic necessities such as air conditioning, improved teaching space and improved living spaces.”

Beyond the appearance of campus, care for the environment on campus is very important to the university personnel. Michael Rodgers, chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, said that the campus grounds are a vital feature of the university.

“When parents or new students walk on our campus, we want them to understand that we care about our campus and how it looks,” he said. “As a Christian, I feel very strongly that we need to take care of what God has entrusted to us for His glory and honor. That was part of the mandate in the Garden of Eden, to take care of God’s creation the best way that we can.”

In an effort to fulfill this mandate, HPU uses organic products on the campus grounds. Pritchett and Bret Martin, grounds supervisor, said that the use of organic products had been a goal of theirs for the university because of the many benefits.

“The positives of going organic are that the soil gets much healthier and beneficial microbes increase quite a bit,” said Pritchett. “Our team applies fertilizer only in amounts needed by the soil, which allows us to save time and money. In addition, proper application rates prevent the fertilizer from being washed into the streams during heavy rain events.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( 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


Cutline: Howard Payne University’s facilities and grounds are undergoing improvements in preparation for the fall semester.

Accreditation of HPU’s social work program reaffirmed until 2025

BROWNWOOD – August 10, 2018 – The Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation announced during the spring 2018 semester that the accreditation of Howard Payne University’s social work program has been reaffirmed until 2025. The program was first accredited by CSWE in 1997 and has been subsequently reaccredited on three occasions.

Graduates from accredited social work programs are eligible to take the state’s baccalaureate social work licensing exam, which enhances their employability. Additionally, for those planning to attend graduate schools upon completing their degrees at HPU, participation in an accredited undergraduate program such as HPU’s will reduce the number of hours required to obtain a Master of Social Work degree.

More than 20 alumni from HPU’s social work program are employed in the helping profession in the Brownwood community.

“HPU’s social work program has a long history of preparing students to help meet the needs of those at the margins of society,” said Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities. “We’re proud to receive this notice of our reaffirmation and look forward to another seven years of excellence.”

The program’s accreditation was reaffirmed during the tenure of Dan Humeniuk, now retired from his role as assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology.


Six graduate from HPU’s El Paso Center

BROWNWOOD – August 8, 2018 – Six students from Howard Payne University’s El Paso Center were recognized during the university’s Commencement ceremony in Brownwood at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

HPU El Paso graduates included:

Javier Aguilera – Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree
Michelle Escajeda – Master of Educational in Instructional Leadership degree
Kelly Knott, Jr. – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree (business administration and Christian studies composite)
Cynthia Iglesias Medina – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree (business administration)
Marnie Morales – Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree
Ronald Douglas VanOrder – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree (Christian studies composite)

The graduates were also honored in May at a ceremony in El Paso.

“We are all so very proud of these students and are confident that they will continue their mission of servant leadership for the kingdom of God,” said Dr. Adrian Gil, director of the El Paso Center and professor of business.

HPU’s El Paso Center is now enrolling for the fall 2018 semester. For more information, visit, call 915-533-8500 or e-mail


Six graduate from HPU’s New Braunfels Center

BROWNWOOD – August 7, 2018 – Six students from Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center were recognized during the university’s Commencement ceremony in Brownwood at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

“It always excites the New Braunfels faculty and staff to see our students have academic success,” said Dr. Benjamin Martin, assistant vice president of the New Braunfels Center.

Dr. Martin noted that, with this graduating class, the total number of graduates from the New Braunfels Center has exceeded 50.

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.

HPU New Braunfels graduates included:

Christopher Diaz – Master of Business Administration degree
Christina Duncan – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree (Christian studies composite)
Andrew Erwin – Master of Business Administration degree
Gregorey Fuller – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree (business administration and criminal justice), Cum Laude
Ashlye Grover – Bachelor of Science degree (business administration)
Kenneth Willfong – Master of Business Administration degree

HPU’s New Braunfels Center is now enrolling for the fall 2018 semester. For more information, visit, call (830) 629-2366 or e-mail


HPU faculty member and alumnus jointly conduct forensic science workshop

BROWNWOOD – August 6, 2018 – Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University, and Frank Ritter, 2017 HPU graduate and middle school science teacher in Early ISD, jointly conducted a forensic science workshop at the 2018 STEAM conference this summer at the Region 15 Education Service Center in San Angelo. The workshjoint seminarop was titled “Biological Techniques in Forensic Science.”

“These workshops are intended to provide public school teachers academic enrichment and equip them with supplemental exercises and activities that they may in turn share with their students,” said Dr. Smith. “Every science department is limited in some way, but we do enjoy some resources that are not common in the public school laboratory and whose application will enhance the familiarity of the secondary school teacher.”

The conference is held every summer, and HPU has been represented the past three years through the participation of Dr. Pamela Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, or Dr. Smith. Ritter benefitted doubly in that he received continuing education credit for both conducting and attending the seminar.

“Dr. Smith and I worked closely during two of my three years in HPU’s physical science department,” Ritter said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue that collaboration on a peer level. I look forward to next year.”


Cutline: Dr. Derek Smith, HPU associate professor of chemistry (right), and Frank Ritter, HPU alumnus and Early ISD middle school science teacher, demonstrate comparison of simulated RFLP DNA electrophoresis blots. Blanket High School science teacher Jessica Dudley is pictured in the foreground.

HPU’s University Singers announce gelato social for interested choristers

BROWNWOOD – July 27, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s University Singers invites choir enthusiasts in Brownwood and the surrounding areas interested in joining the group to a gelato social on Monday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m. This fun kickoff event will be held in the choir room of the Davidson Music Complex on the HPU campus.

The three concerts scheduled for the 2018-2019 year include a hymn festival in October, a Christmas concert from Handel’s “Messiah” and a spring concert from Mozart’s “Requiem.” Rehearsals will be held Monday evenings, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in room 503 of HPU’s Davidson Music Complex.

HPU’s University Singers is a community and collegiate choral opportunity that presents two concerts per year. The group’s goal is to cultivate an ensemble of singers within the community and university who strive to offer a high level of artistry while advocating for great choral music.

“Our relaxed environment fosters enjoyable music-making,” said Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. “Also, there are no auditions, so if you like to sing, please come join us.”

For more information, or to join HPU’s University Singers, contact Dr. Christopher Rosborough at 325-649-8503 or


BGCT continues support of HPU’s restorative justice emphasis

BROWNWOOD – July 25, 2018 – Howard Payne University has received 2018 funding for the restorative justice emphasis of its criminal justice program from the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT has assisted with the emphasis since 2006.

Restorative justice is a practice that assists in repairing harm when unacceptable behavior has made a negative impact on a victim or a community such as a school, town or neighborhood. Many churches believe in the practice and work with universities to provide programs that equip students with communication, social work and criminal justice training.

The Christian Life Commission is a strong proponent of restorative justice, providing resources to churches and other organizations affiliated with the BGCT. A page on the BGCT’s website ( says restorative justice reflects biblical principles and encourages Christian leaders to make empathy an essential part of their response toward victims and offenders.

Personnel from the BGCT met with Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, and representatives from seven other private Christian universities more than a decade ago to propose starting a focus on restorative justice in the universities’ criminal justice programs. HPU was the only university at that time to accept the funding.

The restorative justice emphasis is available for criminal justice majors and minors but is not limited to that department. Over the years, students from social work and psychology have completed restorative justice courses and students from other majors also have the opportunity to use elective hours to complete these courses. The criminal justice department offers a four-class rotation that grants students certificates of completion after conclusion. The BGCT assists with funding to pay an adjunct instructor to teach the classes each semester both in the undergraduate and graduate programs. The funds have also been used to sponsor a trip for a professor and a student to present a topic on restorative justice at an academic conference.

Students in the program have gone on to assist the community by aiding juvenile and adult probation programs, the Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Complex, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Trucore, local attorney offices, local youth ministries and more programs outside the Brownwood area.

“As a Christian university, we delight in the opportunity to teach those going into fields of criminal justice how to steward relationships of forgiveness and healing between offenders, victims, families and communities at large,” said Humeniuk. “We’re thankful to the BGCT for its ongoing support of our students.”

HPU interim president Dr. Paul W. Armes discusses importance of faith-based education

Dr. ArmesBROWNWOOD – July 11, 2018 – With almost two months as Howard Payne University’s interim president under his belt, Dr. Paul W. Armes is rediscovering the joys of working in a faith-based educational institution. Dr. Armes, who served for 15 years as president of Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, began his role at HPU on June 1 following Dr. Bill Ellis’ retirement and transition to chancellor.

“I believe so deeply in the importance of faith-based education,” said Dr. Armes. “I’ve been retired for two years and, about a year into retirement, I began to think about the young people, the choices they’re making and what God is doing in their midst. I knew it would be nice to participate in that again.”

When he was approached by HPU’s Board of Trustees to serve as interim while a search began for the university’s 20th president, Dr. Armes accepted the opportunity to continue this important work for the Kingdom of God. He was already familiar with HPU as his father, Dr. Woodson Armes, served as a trustee in the 1980s.

Dr. Armes said he strongly believes that an education deeply rooted in faith – such as one receives from HPU – is more important in our world today than it has ever been before.

“It’s good to know that there are universities where you can still openly and honestly have conversations about Christ and His will for your life,” said Dr. Armes. “You can have conversations about what it is that He has called us to in this world. Those are really neat kinds of discussions to have because they’re about destiny as opposed to just being about vocation. There’s an added layer in that exchange that is really special.”

In addition to his presidency at Wayland Baptist University, Dr. Armes also served as president of San Marcos Baptist Academy, a private Christian school that, like HPU and Wayland, is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He has pastored five Baptist churches in Texas and Missouri and held several interim pastorates. He continues an active pulpit supply ministry.

Dr. Armes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Baylor University, followed by Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served on numerous committees and boards in denominational, professional and community life. He has also taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His honors include being named “Plainview Man of the Year” in 2013.

When he reenters the world of retirement, he will settle with his wife, Duanea, in Stephenville with children and grandchildren nearby. He enjoys woodworking and beekeeping, and the couple also has plans to buy an RV and travel to national parks to partake in another hobby, photography.

However, God’s work in the lives of college students will always be close at heart.

“The wonderful thing about Howard Payne is that this is the kind of place where you come face to face with the claims and the plans that God has for your life,” said Dr. Armes, mentioning that God works heavily in the lives of students and university personnel alike. “Watching folks blossom as they begin to understand where they fit into His plan – whether they’re adults or young people – is really what I think the ministry of Howard Payne is all about.”


Cutline: Dr. Paul W. Armes serves as interim president at Howard Payne University.