Howard Payne University
|Motto||Believe, Belong, Become|
|Established||June 20, 1889|
|US $58.89 million|
|Navy blue and Old gold|
Howard Payne University is a private
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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
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.