Howard Payne University

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Howard Payne University
Howard Payne University seal.png
MottoBelieve, Belong, Become
TypePrivate university
EstablishedJune 20, 1889; 132 years ago (1889-06-20)
AffiliationBaptist General Convention of Texas
Endowment$58.8 million (2020)[1]
PresidentCory Hines
Location, ,
ColorsNavy blue and Old gold[2]
NicknameYellow Jackets
Howard Payne University (logo).png

Howard Payne University is a private Baptist university in Brownwood, Texas. The university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It is named after Edward Howard Payne, a Missouri resident who gave the lead monetary gift to start the university.[3]

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

The university also has extension centers located in New Braunfels, Texas and in El Paso, Texas.

Founding and history[edit]

Mabee University Center

Baptist leaders in Brown County saw a need for a Baptist institution of higher education. In 1889, Howard Payne College opened for its first semester. Two years later, HPU became sister schools with Baptist school Hardin–Simmons University in Abilene, 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 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.


  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[4]
  13. Dr. Thomas H. Taylor 1929–1955
  14. Dr. Guy D. Newman 1955–1973
  15. Dr. Roger 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[5]
  21. Dr. Lanny Hall 2003–2009
  22. Dr. William Ellis 2009–2018
  23. Dr. Paul Armes (Interim President) 2018-2019
  24. Dr. Cory Hines 2019–present


Wilson Gate, 2001

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
Football Volleyball
Basketball Basketball
Baseball Softball
Soccer Soccer
Tennis Tennis
Golf Golf

National Championship teams[edit]

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.[6]


Football began at Howard Payne in 1903. Gwinn Henry was named the first head coach in 1912 and coached for two seasons.[7]

Campus life[edit]

Memorial Bell Towers

In 2015 the university was granted an exception to Title IX allowing it to discriminate against LGBT students for religious reasons. In 2016 the organization Campus Pride ranked the college among the worst schools in Texas for LGBT students.[8]

Student organizations[edit]

Student elected organizations[edit]

  • Student Government Association

Greek organizations[edit]

Service organizations[edit]

  • International Student Association
  • Student Activity Council
  • Student Foundation

Honorary organizations[edit]

Departmental organizations[edit]

  • Beta Beta Beta
  • Pi Gamma Mu
  • SIFE
  • Social Work Club
  • Student Speaker Bureau
  • Moot Court
  • Model UN
  • Athletic Organizations
  • Cheerleaders
  • HPU Yellow Jacket Band
  • Student Foundations
  • Jacket Ambassadors

Religious organizations[edit]

  • Baptist Student Ministry
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • La Hora Bautista
  • Ministerial Alliance
  • Athletes in Action

Notable alumni[edit]

Main Sign


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "HPU Standards Manual".
  3. ^ "History".
  4. ^ "Edgar Godbold". Archived from the original on 2009-11-23. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  5. ^ Staff. "Dilday filling in at Howard Payne", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 16, 2002. Accessed January 17, 2009.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Howard Payne Football records Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Hacker, Holly K. (August 29, 2016). "9 Texas colleges rank among the 'absolute worst' for LGBT students, gay rights group says". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  9. ^ "".
  10. ^ "".
  11. ^ Blackie Sherrod, The Dallas Morning News, Class of 2011 – Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame.
  12. ^ Simpson

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°42′58″N 98°59′13″W / 31.716°N 98.987°W / 31.716; -98.987