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Howard Payne University
Howard Payne University
Howard Payne University
Motto Believe, Belong, Become
Established June 20, 1889
Type Private university
Endowment U.S. $47.7 million[1]
President Dr. William Ellis
Students 1400
Location Brownwood,, Texas, USA
Campus Downtown Brownwood, TX
Colors Gold and Blue
Mascot Yellowjacket

Howard Payne University is a four-year private university located in Brownwood, Texas.

Currently the university enrolls 1,400 full-time students. Howard Payne is known for the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, its unusually strong Music program and its Christian Studies program. The university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

HPU founders named the college after Edward Howard Payne, a Missouri resident. Payne, brother in law to John David Robnett, the college's founder, gave the lead monetary gift to start the university.

HPU offers more than 50 majors, minors and pre-professional programs within six schools: Science and Math, Business, Christian Studies, Education, Music and Fine Arts, and Humanities.

Athletic programs include NCAA Division III football, women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, women's softball, men's baseball, track, and tennis. The HPU mascot is a yellowjacket named "Buzzsaw".


Past presidents

  1. Dr. A. J. Emerson 1890 -1893
  2. Dr. John D. Robnett 1893- 1896
  3. Dr. James H. Grove 1896- 1908
  4. Dr. John S. Humphreys (Acting President) 1908-1910
  5. Dr. Robert H. Hamilton 1910-1911
  6. Dr. John S. Humphreys 1911-1913
  7. Dr. James M. Carroll 1913-1914
  8. Dr. Anderson E. Baten (Vice President & Acting President) 1915-1917
  9. Dr. Judson A. Tolman 1917-1919
  10. Dr. L. J. Mims 1919-1922
  11. Dr. William R. Hornburg (Vice President & Acting President) 1922-1923
  12. Dr. Edgar Godbold 1923-1929
  13. Dr. Thomas H. Taylor 1929-1955
  14. Dr. Guy D. Newman 1955-1973
  15. Dr. Roger L. Brooks 1973-1979
  16. Dr. Charles A. Stewart (Chief Executive officer) 1979-1980
  17. Dr. Ralph A. Phelps, Jr. 1980-1985
  18. Dr. Don Newbury 1985-1997
  19. Dr. Rick Gregory 1997-2002
  20. Dr. Russell H. Dilday (Interim President) 2002- 2003[2]
  21. Dr. Lanny Hall 2003-2009
  22. Dr. William Ellis 2009-Present

Founding and History

Baptist leaders in Brown County saw a need for a Baptist institution of higher education. At HPU's 1889 founding, sister Baptist school Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, would not exist until 1891 and many found travel to another sister Baptist school, Baylor University in Waco, Texas unfeasible. Late nineteenth century travelers found travel methods unreliable at best and placed themselves at risk of attack from American Indians of the Comanche tribe native to the area. Texas recorded its last Indian attack in the early twentieth century near Santa Anna, Texas.

Daniel Baker College, a Presbyterian institution, began operation near the time local Baptists founded Howard Payne. Ironically, DBC backers began construction on a piece of land directly behind where Howard Payne's Old Main Hall would stand and eventually moved the foundation to the NE corner of Austin and Coggin Avenues. DBC and Howard Payne merged in 1953 after DBC fell into financial difficulties, and after extensive renovation, DBC's main building became the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom building in 1969.

After initial financial difficulties related to the 1890s financial panic, Howard Payne joined the system of colleges and universities funded by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT operated Howard Payne as a junior college from 1900 until 1914, when it regained four-year status.

Dr. Thomas Taylor took office as university president in 1929 shortly before the stock market crash which began the Great Depression. Taylor kept Howard Payne open when other rural, private colleges failed by challenging faculty members to work without pay and house students in their homes without compensation. At the end of the faculty prayer meeting in which Taylor issued the challenge, most faculty members tore up their contracts and agreed to work without pay until the college began operating in the black.

Taylor's successor, Guy D. Newman, took office in 1955 and before retiring from the post in 1973, created the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom and built most of the campus buildings still in use today.

In 1974, the BGCT recognized Howard Payne's broad academic scope and approved a name change in the school's charter, from "Howard Payne College" to "Howard Payne University."

In 1984, Old Main Hall, the building symbolic of HPU, burned to the ground during finals week. Although the Brownwood Fire Department headquarters sit across the street from the HPU campus, a prank caller phoned in a false alarm in Bangs, a small town 8 miles from the Brownwood city limits, to which the department responded. Before the crews could return to Brownwood, fire completely consumed the 95-year-old building.


The school supports an active athletic program for both men's and women's competition in the NCAA Division III. The school is currently a member of the American Southwest Conference.

Men's Sports Women's Sports
*Track and Field
*Track and Field

National Championship teams

Howard Payne University teams achieved national championship status in 1957 and 1964 in NAIA Cross Country, and in 2008 with NCAA Division III Women's Basketball.[3]


Football began at Howard Payne in 1903. Gwinn Henry was named the first head coach in 1912 and coached for two seasons.[4] The current coach is Steve Fanara. Fanara is in his third year as a head coach, and previously served as Howard Payne's defensive coordinator.

Campus life

Student organizations

Student elected organizations

Student Government Association, Class Organizations 2003 - 2004 Jeremy Barnes - Student Government President

Service/pledging organizations

Honorary organizations

Gamma Beta Phi, Sigma Beta Delta

Departmental organizations

Beta Beta Beta, Pi Gamma Mu, SIFE, Social Work Club, Student Speaker Bureau, Athletic Organizations, Cheerleaders, Stingers Drill Team, HPU Yellow Jacket Band Gold Coats Student Foundations Student Ambassadors

Religious organizations

Photo gallery

Notable alumni


External links


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