BROWNWOOD – June 26, 2020 – Howard Payne University held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, June 25, to celebrate the beginning of construction on the Newbury Family Welcome Center. The facility is named for the family of Dr. Don Newbury, a 1961 graduate of HPU, president of the university from 1985 to 1997 and current chancellor.
The event was attended by Dr. Newbury; his wife, Brenda and their family; and numerous alumni, community members and other friends of the university. In addition to Dr. Newbury and Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president and 1997 HPU graduate, other individuals who took part in the ceremony were Deborah Cartwright, chairwoman of HPU’s Board of Trustees and 1973 HPU graduate; Dr. Ronny Marriott, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Burleson and 1987 HPU graduate; the Honorable Draco Miller, Brownwood mayor pro tem and city councilman; Dr. Chris Liebrum, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Cooperative Program Ministry and 1973 HPU graduate; and Dr. Richard Jackson, former member of HPU’s Board of Trustees, president of the Jackson Center for Evangelism and Encouragement and 1961 HPU graduate. A reception in the university’s Grace Chapel concluded the afternoon’s events.
The welcome center will be located at the intersection of Austin and Center Avenues on the historic former site of Old Main, the university’s original building, which was destroyed by fire in 1984. The new building will serve as an inviting facility for visitors to HPU’s campus and help form the first impression of the university for future students. It will house the Office of Admission and spaces for meetings and events.
“As home to our admissions team, this facility will be an instrument used by the Lord to draw students to Howard Payne so they can have a student experience that equips them to leave our campus ready to make a Kingdom impact through their vocational callings,” said Dr. Hines. “To say that I’m thrilled and humbled by the opportunity we have as a university to construct a new ‘front door’ for Howard Payne for future generations would be an understatement. Today, the dreams of so many people become a reality.”
Dr. Hines expressed his enthusiasm for honoring Dr. Newbury and family through the naming of the new facility.
“There is no one I know who is more deserving of this honor than Dr. Newbury,” said Dr. Hines. “He has given the majority of his adult life to being an advocate and serving our beloved Howard Payne.”
Dr. Newbury shared his appreciation and conveyed his confidence in the university’s direction moving forward.
“This was the highest of honors for the Newbury family, one that includes at least a dozen who hold HPU degrees,” Dr. Newbury said. “We are honored, humbled and delighted to have participated in an event so lovingly and thoroughly conducted. Brenda and I are profoundly grateful, and we have the highest hopes for HPU in the days ahead. We fully believe Dr. Cory and Melinda Hines and the team he has assembled are the very best possible people for facing uncertain days like these. We pray God’s richest blessings on them and on all who love our old school.”
Dr. Newbury added his aspiration for Dr. Hines’ ultimate place among the two longest-serving presidents in the university’s history.
“My fondest hope is that the Hines administration will approach and perhaps even exceed the tenures of Dr. Guy D. Newman (1955-1973) and even Dr. Thomas H. Taylor (1929-1955).”
Dr. Newbury is fondly remembered among the HPU family for his friendly personality and leadership displayed throughout his time leading the university. The Newburys were known to frequently open their home to students and university personnel. During his tenure as HPU president, the university added numerous new facilities, including the Mabee University Center, the Mamie D. McCullough Athletic Center and the Thompson Academic Complex, and experienced a major resurgence in student enrollment.
Prior to serving as president at HPU, Dr. Newbury spent much of his career in higher-education leadership roles, including as president of Western Texas College in Snyder (1981-1985) and community relations director at Tarrant County College (1967-1980). He was a member of the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and served as the president of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association and its successor, the American Southwest Conference. He also worked in sports media, hosting radio programs and working as a correspondent for several major Texas newspapers. He has published several books, currently writes a widely published, weekly newspaper column called “The Idle American” and serves as part-time director of senior adults’ activities at First Baptist Church in Burleson. He graduated from Early High School in 1956.
Dr. and Mrs. Newbury have three daughters, Julie (Mrs. Bryan) Choate, Jana (Mrs. Kyle) Penney and Jeanie (Mrs. Ryan) McDaniel. The Newburys also have six grandchildren, Ben and Brittin Choate; Kedren and Juliana Penney; and Jonah and Addison McDaniel.
A video of the ceremony is available on HPU’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hputx.
There are still opportunities to support the project. For more information on how to contribute, please contact the HPU Office of Institutional Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 325-649-8006.