University News

HPU Hosts 38th Annual Community Thanksgiving Feast
Area residents and visitors are invited to the 38th annual Community Thanksgiving Feast at Howard Payne University, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will be held at HPU’s Mabee University Center, located at 1219 Fisk Street in Brownwood. North Lake Community Church in May will lead and coordinate the event. 

The traditional Thanksgiving meal will consist of turkey, dressing and all the trimmings.

“We are honored to partner with Howard Payne University in hosting this very special Thanksgiving tradition,” said Pastor Ron Keener of North Lake Community Church. “Everyone is welcome.”

For those unable to join friends and neighbors at HPU, volunteers will deliver meals in Brownwood and Early. Reservations for meals to be delivered can be made by calling the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce at 325-646-9535 by noon on Monday, November 21.

Those interested in volunteering their time can assist with serving food and beverages, boxing meals to go, delivering meals to homes, and cleaning at the Mabee Center after the event. 

Volunteers serve Thanksgiving dinner at Howard Payne University. This year’s event will be held on Thanksgiving Day.

“There are plenty of ways for everyone to serve the community at this event,” said Pastor Keener. “Volunteers simply need to arrive at the Mabee Center at 10:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and we will put them to work. We look forward to seeing many of the same volunteers who have helped for years, as well as those who want to help for the first time. Serving others at Howard Payne has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many people, and we certainly appreciate their help.”

To help support the Thanksgiving meal, please make checks payable to the “Community Thanksgiving Feast,” and send them to Katrina Lynn, Howard Payne University, 1000 Fisk Street, Suite 210, Brownwood, Texas 76801, or bring donations to the Mabee Center on Thanksgiving Day.

Hardin-Simmons and McMurry Issue Joint Statement on Nursing Education
Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University have reached an agreement that will result in providing West Texas with more nursing school graduates. HSU will establish its own nursing program by 2025, and McMurry will retain the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing name and acquire its assets for its own nursing program. Both nursing programs are dependent on approval by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Texas Board of Nursing.

After resolving prior misunderstandings, McMurry confirmed that HSU has fulfilled all duties owed to the School of Nursing as well as to McMurry. As a result of this agreement, both institutions released each other of all claims asserted in the Taylor County District Court litigation and submitted a joint notice of dismissal of claims to terminate the litigation.

The need for more nurses is widely documented, and HSU and McMurry will help to fulfill that
need, especially in West Texas, by providing for two nursing education programs where one exists today. “With today’s agreement, the two universities are able to move forward with independent programs that will increase the number of nurses in the Big Country and beyond.

HSU is excited to create a new nursing program delivered on campus and integrated with the rest of the university,” said Eric Bruntmyer, President of HSU. Sandra Harper, President of McMurry, said, “The establishment of another nursing school is a win for Abilene and will impact the region positively by helping to fill vacant nursing positions. All of us at McMurry are excited to continue our commitment to enhance nursing education by ensuring that Patty Hanks
graduates are prepared to meet diverse patients’ needs and deliver safe, quality patient care.”

During the transition to independent nursing programs, the two institutions will continue as members in the nursing consortium as they have been, except McMurry will become the coordinating institution on December 1, 2022, to allow HSU to focus on developing its own independent nursing program. The transition is expected to be complete by January 2025.

ACU’s NEXT Lab construction permit application accepted for formal review by NRC
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has docketed Abilene Christian University’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Lab construction permit application, placing it under formal regulatory review. The application is the first for a new research reactor in more than 30 years and the first-ever for an advanced university research reactor.

“This is a significant achievement, and I am very proud of the NEXTRA team for producing a quality application, sufficient for NRC docketing,” said Dr. Rusty Towell, director of NEXT Lab and professor in the Department of Engineering and Physics.

After receipt of the construction permit application in August, the NRC conducted a thorough acceptance review. The application is now formally docketed, and the NRC will begin a detailed safety and environmental review. ACU’s Molten Salt Research Reactor (MSRR) is the only research reactor currently under review by the NRC, and it is the first and only liquid-fueled reactor ever to be reviewed by the NRC. It’s also one of only two advanced nuclear reactor applications currently under review with the NRC.

ACU is the lead university in the NEXT Research Alliance (NEXTRA), which includes Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin. NEXTRA has a $30.5 million research agreement with Natura Resources to design and build a university-based molten salt research reactor. Demonstrating the successful licensure of an advanced reactor with the NRC is one of the primary goals of this project. After spending more than two years in pre-licensing activities, the docketing of ACU’s MSRR application marks the beginning of the NRC’s formal technical review.

Construction of the Gayle and Max Dillard Science Engineering Research Center continues on track for completion in the summer of 2023. The 28,000-square-foot facility will house NEXT Lab and the MSRR, as well as provide dedicated spaces for research in chemistry, physics and engineering.

North-facing view of construction on Gayle and Max Dillard Science Engineering Research Center at ACU. Contributed photo

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