Special to the Bulletin

The Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Brownwood will join with Howard Payne University in welcoming Dr. Bill Ellis as the 19th president of HPU with a reception Thursday. The event will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Depot Civic and Cultural Center, and the public is invited.

“Light refreshments will be provided for the come-and-go event,” Laura Terhune, chamber of commerce CEO, said. “There is no agenda or program — just an opportunity for the community to meet and become better acquainted with Dr. Ellis.”

Reservations are not necessary.

Ellis assumed the university’s presidency on Aug. 1, coming from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene where he served as provost and chief academic officer from 2001-09.

From 1990 to 2001, Ellis was dean of arts and sciences at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Ark. In all, he has taught or been an administrator in six different Baptist colleges and universities. He has also served as a bi-vocational pastor, and has had numerous interim pastorates.

Ellis holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 18th- century American literature from the University of Colorado. His Master of Arts degree is from Texas Tech University in modern American literature, and he received his Bachelor of Arts in history and English from Hardin-Simmons. He has more than 30 years of experience as a literature and creative writing professor, and is a published poet and essayist.

He is married to Dr. Diana Ellis, who has her Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance from North Texas University. They will soon celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two children, Emily, who is employed with a marketing firm in Dallas, and Brett, who is a sophomore in college.

Ellis’s hobbies include golf, racquetball, snow skiing, woodworking, painting and drawing and writing. His dog is a brindle boxer named “Tori.”

“The reception will wrap up about 5 p.m., providing sufficient time for attendees to travel to Brownwood High School for the health care forum with Congressman (Mike) Conaway, if they choose,” Terhune said “We knew that the forum would be of interest to local citizens and hope the timing of the reception will allow them to attend both events.”