Howard Payne University
Former name
Howard Payne College (1889–1974)
MottoBelieve, Belong, Become
TypePrivate university
EstablishedJune 20, 1889; 134 years ago (1889-06-20)
Religious affiliation
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Endowment$58.8 million (2020)[1]
PresidentCory Hines
Location, ,
United States
ColorsNavy blue and old gold[2]
NicknameYellow Jackets

Howard Payne University is a private Baptist university in Brownwood, Texas, United States. It is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Howard Payne College was founded by Noah T. Byers and John David Robnett in 1889. The institution is named for its first major benefactor, Edward Howard Payne, who was the brother-in-law of Robnett.[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

Mabee University Center

On June 20, 1889, Howard Payne College was founded at Indian Creek by members of the Pecan Valley Baptist Association, Noah T. Byers and John David Robnett.[4] It was named for its first financial benefactor and Robnett's brother-in-law, Edward Howard Payne.[4] The first classes at HPC were held in 1890, with the first degree being granted in 1895 to Robnett. In 1915, the yellow jacket was chosen by Carrie (Camp) Allen as the university mascot.[4]

Thomas H. Taylor led the university through the Great Depression, which began just two months into his presidency.[4] Robert Mangrum, university historian of HPU, states that it was made apparent to Taylor at the 1930 Texas Baptist convention that HPU would have to be closed due to an inability to continue funding through the BGCT.[4] A faculty prayer meeting was held upon his return to Brownwood, writes Mangrum, and it was decided that HPC would continue to operate with no deficits through the receipts and endowment interests.[4]

Daniel Baker College, a Presbyterian college located in Brownwood, consolidated with HPC in 1953, while Taylor was president.[4] Taylor retired as the university's longest-serving president (26 years) after leading the college through the hardship of the Great Depression and helping the campus expand.[4]

Guy D. Newman was named president of HPC following Taylor's retirement.[5] Under Newman's leadership, the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom was established.[4] The program is now called the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and is still housed in the Academy of Freedom, formerly DBC's main building.[4] Newman retired in 1972.[5] HPC became Howard Payne University in 1974 under the presidency of Roger Brooks.[4]

Don Newbury, a 1961 graduate of HPU, served as president of the university from 1985 to 1997.[5] HPU's student enrollment increased significantly during Newbury's presidency.[4] The university also underwent numerous upgrades and additions to campus facilities.[4] HPU's "Buzzsaw" mascot was also announced in 1996, during Newbury's presidency.[4]

The university celebrated one of its most significant athletics successes during the 2000s, with the HPU women's basketball team capping a perfect 33-0 season by winning the 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championship.[4]

Cory Hines, a 1997 graduate of HPU, was named president in 2019.[5] Under his presidency, ground was broken for the Newbury Family Welcome Center in 2020.[4] Construction on the project was scheduled for completion in spring 2022.[4] The university also began restoring the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom's wings in 2020.[4] Other campus improvement projects were completed in 2020 and 2021, including renovations to the Veda Hodge Residence Hall lobby, the Newbury Place Student Apartments and the lobbies of the Guy D. Newman Hall of American Ideals.[4]


  1. A. J. Emerson 1890 -1893
  2. John D. Robnett 1893- 1896
  3. James H. Grove 1896- 1908
  4. John S. Humphreys (Acting President) 1908–1910
  5. Robert H. Hamilton 1910–1911
  6. John S. Humphreys 1911–1913
  7. James M. Carroll 1913–1914
  8. Anderson E. Baten (Vice President & Acting President) 1915–1917
  9. Judson A. Tolman 1917–1919
  10. L. J. Mims 1919–1922
  11. William R. Hornburg (Vice President & Acting President) 1922–1923
  12. Edgar Godbold 1923–1929[6]
  13. Thomas H. Taylor 1929–1955
  14. Guy D. Newman 1955–1973
  15. Roger Brooks 1973–1979
  16. Charles A. Stewart (Chief Executive officer) 1979–1980
  17. Ralph A. Phelps Jr. 1980–1985
  18. Don Newbury 1985–1997
  19. Rick Gregory 1997–2002
  20. Russell H. Dilday (Interim President) 2002- 2003[7]
  21. Lanny Hall 2003–2009
  22. William Ellis 2009–2018
  23. Paul Armes (Interim President) 2018-2019
  24. 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

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.[8]


Football began at Howard Payne in 1903. Gwinn Henry was named the first head coach in 1912 and coached for two seasons.[9]

Campus life

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.[10]

Greek organizations

Notable alumni

Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian


  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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "History". Howard Payne University. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  5. ^ a b c d "HPU Presidents". Howard Payne University. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  6. ^ "Edgar Godbold". Archived from the original on 2009-11-23. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  7. ^ Staff. "Dilday filling in at Howard Payne", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 16, 2002. Accessed January 17, 2009.
  8. ^ "DIII Women's Basketball Championship History". 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  9. ^ Howard Payne Football records Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ 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.

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