University News

ANDY24 Coming to HSU Campus
What would it look like if Hardin-Simmons University students prayed for one another, the university, and the entire world?

We’ll find out when ANDY24 is staged March 29-30 under a big tent on Anderson Lawn. The event, sponsored by Baptist Student Ministries, features 24 hours of college students praying for God to move and hearts to be restored.

Howard Payne to Honor Brownwood Legend, Leonard Underwood
Distinguished Brownwood leader Dr. Leonard Underwood has been named as the first recipient of the Robnett Founders Award and will be honored at a dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at the Brownwood Coliseum.

The deadline for reservations at the sponsor levels is March 20.

HPU recently announced the first Robnett Founders Dinner, an annual event inviting alumni, friends, corporate partners, communities of Brown County and other members of the HPU family to come together to honor an individual who has made a significant impact on the university and in the furtherance of its work in the lives of students.

Leonard Underwood

Table reservations and other sponsorship opportunities are available by calling HPU’s Office of Advancement at 325-649-8048 or at

The dinner is named in memory of Dr. John David Robnett, a founder of HPU.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, pastor of apologetics and cultural engagement at Plano’s Prestonwood Baptist Church and dean of spiritual development at Prestonwood Christian Academy. Dr. Johnston is a New Testament scholar, author, nationally syndicated radio host and president of Christian Thinkers Society. He has spoken in churches of various denominations and authored articles in popular magazines and scholarly books, journals and media programs.

The event will also feature music by Stephen Cox, a 2010 HPU graduate and 2022 winner of the Grammy Music Educator Award. He was also featured in the School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference.” He currently serves as director of bands at the Advanced Learning Academy, Fox Tech and Cast Tech Schools in San Antonio.

Jeremiah Johnston

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A native of Brady, Dr. Leonard Underwood has been a Brownwood resident for more than 75 years. He operated the legendary Underwood’s Bar-B-Q for more than four decades until his retirement in 2001. His two sons continue to operate the family business. Dr. Underwood is a 1962 graduate of Texas A&M University and served as an officer with the U.S. Army Air Defense Command. He has served on numerous boards and civic committees such as ones supporting the Brownwood Independent School District, Good Samaritan Ministries and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also served a term as president of Brownwood’s Chamber of Commerce. His three decades of service on HPU’s Board of Trustees include two terms as chairman. For 33 years, he has served on the Board of Directors of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from HPU in 1996. Dr. Underwood is a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Brownwood, where he serves as an active deacon.

Giving Day Coming to McMurry
McMurry University’s Giving Day will begin on March 1st.

“For 1,923 minutes, the McMurry community will come together and shape our institution’s future and students’ lives,” a promotion piece says.

Once $100,000 is raised by donors, an anonymous donor will give an additional $25,000. Click here for online giving.

HSU Raising Money for Equine Therapy
Hardin-Simmons University has a goal of raising $4 million to build an equine therapy and event center. The program will serve the university and the community. So far, $1.2M has been raised.

Click here to see a video featuring Kayla (Willis) Dillman, a Hardin-Simmons graduate who is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. As a former White Horse Rider and lifelong horse lover, Dillman became involved in equine therapy about a year and a half ago and believes Hardin-Simmons is the perfect place for an equine therapy program.

ACU Establishes Endowment Fund for Diversity
The Board of Trustees of Abilene Christian University voted unanimously to establish a $10 million endowment to fund the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The endowment is designed to support the ACU community through initiatives including student leadership scholarships, faculty recruiting and retention, and mentorship programs.

“Our strategic plan challenges us to continue to give voice and input to all our constituents,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, ACU president. “This long term investment in our DEI programs demonstrates ACU’s commitment to living out that priority.”
In the past, the university has provided similar funding through operational budgets, but this endowment provides permanent support for DEI initiatives, said Anthony Williams, chief diversity officer.

In addition, the university has set aside additional funds for scholarships and leadership awards for current students. The mission of ACU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is to create a community of equity and inclusion by engaging in brave, Christ-centered conversation and collaboration. Its guiding principles are bravery, inquiry and faith. Click here to learn more.

‘McMurry Serves’ Blankets Abilene, Other Communities, In February
Nonprofits in Abilene, Houston, Dallas, and communities in New Mexico will benefit from “McMurry Serves” projects in February.

“McMurry Serves is an annual tradition and a volunteer opportunity for McMurry alumni, students, faculty, staff, and families to come together as a community and serve others in Abilene, throughout Texas—and beyond!” a news release says.

The following locations in Abilene will have McMurry folks on hand to help out:

Betty Hardwick Center: Students, faculty and staff are asked to drop off socks of any size at designated spots on campus through Feb. 28
Beyond Tafficking: Help organize clothes closet for victims of human trafficking, Feb. 3
Hendrick Regional Blood Center: Donate blood, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 4
Food Bank of West Central Texas: Help unpack and sort food, 1-3 p.m. Feb. 17
Habitat for Humanity: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Feb. 11, site to be determined
Meals on Wheels: 9:30 a.m.-12 noon, Feb. 23, stuff envelopes and prepare for fund-raising appeal
Aldersgate Methodist Church: 9 a.m.-12 noon, Feb. 25, clean playground, clean sanctuary, prep garden for spring planting