University News Service
Howard Payne University will recognize seven outstanding alumni and two recently retired faculty members as special honorees during the Alumni Awards Banquet, to be held at 7 p.m. Friday during HPU homecoming weekend.
Tickets for the banquet may be reserved by contacting the alumni relations office at 649-8006 or (800) 950-8465.
The honorees are as follows:
Distinguished Alumnus —
Dr. Dalton Bigbee (Class of ’69)
With a distinguished record while a student at Howard Payne College as well as in graduate school and at the three universities where he taught, Dr. Dalton “Butch” Bigbee has established a record of achievement. Students, faculty, administration and alumni at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMU-K) are well acquainted with his teaching excellence and administrative abilities, where he serves as associate vice president for academic affairs. Bigbee successfully gave leadership to the reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) at TAMU-K, 2001-2005. He joined the faculty in 1985 as an associate professor of economics and finance, and moved to his present leadership role in 2001, after having served as dean of the College of Business Administration for seven years.
Bigbee earned his Ph.D. degree in 1981 in finance from Texas Tech where he taught undergraduate finance courses. He earned his master of business administration degree at TAMU-K in 1975, then served as an assistant professor of finance at Louisiana Tech University from 1979-1985.
Bigbee is a graduate of the Naval Officer Candidate School and the Navy Supply Corps School. He served on active duty with the U.S. Navy from 1969-1974, retiring in 1995 from the naval reserve with the rank of captain.
He has been a Sunday school teacher and deacon in churches where he has been a member, and is currently chairing the finance committee in his church. He is also active in his community, serving as president of the Kingsville Rotary Club and currently as assistant district governor for Rotary District 5930 in South Texas. He has four grown children, Amy, Nathan, Aaron and Catherine, and has one granddaughter, Anna Claire Miller.
Distinguished Alumna —
Jana Bloom (’65)
Jana Pynes Bloom, a 1965 magna cum laude graduate of Howard Payne College, has been working for years to help people. Currently, she specializes in comprehensive financial planning, which includes retirement planning, estate analysis, asset protection, business succession planning, and employee benefit planning.
She is associated with Spectrum Strategies, L.L.C., located in Addison. Twice she has been chosen “Financial Planner of the Year” by her firm in 1999 and 2003. She was also named one of the “Best Financial Planners in Dallas” by D Magazine in 2002.
Bloom has also worked as a social worker for the State of Texas in various positions such as child welfare, caseworker for the Austin Mental Hospital, and as an elderly caseworker, primarily for Spanish-speaking individuals in San Antonio.
Following her service with the state, Bloom became a sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. While with Mary Kay, she was consistently ranked in the “Top Twenty” and/or “Top Ten Sales Directors.” From 1979 to 1984, she owned and operated her own cosmetic company.
Not only has Bloom assisted people throughout the state, in cosmetics, welfare or financial planning, she has also assisted them spiritually, by leading Bible studies as a trained Precept Leader and through the Exchanged Life Ministries. Moreover, she has dedicated time to Bill Glass Ministries and Prison Fellowship Ministries for several years.
The native Texan has lived in Dallas since 1978 and is the mother of four grown daughters: Dani, Donna, Dyan and Debi. She also has four grandchildren.
Outstanding Young Graduate — Daniel W. Peterson (’95)
San Antonio resident Daniel W. Peterson is described by a close friend as a “devout family man, well respected friend and adviser, and is a great asset and testament to the quality of education and personal development which Howard Payne University provides.”
The HPU magna cum laude alumnus is an attorney, a certified financial planner (CFP), a certified public accountant (CPA), a personal financial specialist (PFS), and an investment advisor representative.
After attending HPU and graduating in just three years, Peterson went on to graduate from St. Mary’s University School of Law at the age of 24.
He began his impressive career in 1995 with Ernst & Young in the personal financial consulting group while attending law school. In 2002, he partnered with three other colleagues from Ernst & Young to form their own investment and tax planning business in San Antonio. Their business, Alamo Advisors, has seen exceptional growth and expansion ever since. Peterson is a partner of Alamo Advisors, LP, and a vice president of RNJ Management, LLC.
Dan is married to Rhonda Lea (Kellett) Peterson, a 1995 graduate of HPU with a degree in communication. They are the parents of Matthew Daniel, age 4, and Ashley Nicole, age 3. The family currently attends the Community Bible Church in northwest San Antonio.
Medal of Service —
Dr. Donal and Marjorie Bird
Dr. Donal and Marjorie Bird have given a significant part of their academic lives by challenging students of Howard Payne University to excellence. They recently retired from their faculty positions in May 2005.
Dr. Bird, at the time of his retirement, was the dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics, professor of chemistry and biology and had served as a faculty member since 1982. Mrs. Bird was an associate professor of chemistry and mathematics and a HPU faculty member since 1995.
The Donal and Marjorie Bird Endowed Scholarship for Science and Math was recently established by the Birds’ children: E.J. and Jill Bird, Erin and Kim Bird, and Edward and Lorenna Yantis. The scholarship honors their parents and will provide tuition assistance to meritorious students majoring in either science or math.
Dr. Bird received a bachelor of science degree in 1961 from Sam Houston State Teachers College. He earned a master of science degree in 1964 and his doctor of philosophy degree in 1966 from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Mrs. Bird is a 1961 graduate of Sam Houston State Teachers College and earned her master of science degree from the University of Missouri in 1963. At HPU, Mrs. Bird received the Teaching in Excellence Award for 2004-2005 and 2000-2001.
All of their children are products of Baptist higher education. Two of their children, Erin Bird and Lorenna Bird Yantis, graduated from HPU in 1989 and 1993 respectively, with bachelor of science degrees. The Birds’ daughter-in-law, Kim Bird, also graduated from HPU in 1988 with a bachelor of science degree. Their son-in-law, Edward Yantis attended the university for both undergraduate and post-graduate coursework. E.J. and Jill Bird graduated from Baylor University.
Medal of Service —
The Rev. Steve Faulkner (’72) and
Sophia Mc Daniel Faulkner (’70)
Sophia and Steve Faulkner met on the Howard Payne University campus 38 years ago. Like many Howard Payne love stories, the Faulkners have a story to tell. She asked him out on a date for the first time because she needed his car for transportation. As she was the hostess for the Baptist Student Union Focus Week and needed to transport two speakers to an evening basketball game, she had one big problem — she needed a vehicle, and Steve had one. A romance began and they were soon married.
They continue to be enthusiastic supporters of HPU and proud alumni. Their children represented the fourth generation in the family to graduate from HPU. Sophia received her degree in 1970 and Steve graduated with his in 1972.
Steve began his Howard Payne journey following graduation from Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown in 1966. While at HPU, he was busy performing lead roles in musicals, participating as an original member of the Heritage Singers and also as a member of the A Cappella Choir. After completing his undergraduate degree in music, he continued his education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating in 1975 with a master’s degree in church music. He has served as associate pastor and as minister of music, education and youth at a number of churches across the state.
Sophia Dianne McDaniel came to Howard Payne in 1966 after graduating from Sinton High School. She has been an educator, devoted mother of two, and ministry helper, serving alongside her husband by helping with Vacation Bible School, hosting numerous youth events, participating in ensembles, choirs, handbells and teaching Sunday school.
Steve and Sophia have invested countless hours in HPU. Both have served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. From working on the golf tournament to overseeing the parade, Steve is a familiar figure during Homecoming weekend. In 2004, he led the music for the Alumni-Led Worship Service at Homecoming. Sophia has served as president of the Alumni Association for several years. She has also been instrumental in launching a group of alumni from the Central and South Texas areas for events.
The Faulkners live in Gonzales. Their daughter Kristen (’01) is married to Rick Ivy (’00.) Their son, Bo, graduated from HPU in 2004.
Coming Home Queen
Dr. Twila Miller Smith (’48)
Twila Miller Smith, Ph. D., retired in 1990 after 23 years as a professor and administrator at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. Smith graduated from Howard Payne College certified to teach history, English, Spanish and elementary education. She taught history and English at Buckner Orphan’s Home and at Columbus. She also taught in Indiana and Georgia at the elementary levels.
Following the death of her husband, John K. Wakefield, she returned to Howard Payne to earn a graduate degree in education. She then enrolled in the doctoral program at The University of Texas where she earned her doctorate in education in 1967, specializing in curriculum and instruction. While there, she married fellow doctoral student, Hugh Smith.
The Smiths have been active in their local churches and in mission trips to Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, and Korea. Smith served as chair of the Missouri Christian Life Commission. She also served as a Missouri member of the Coordinating Council of the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. She also was the first woman elected as a city alderman in Bolivar.
Smith has three sons, Norm, a minister; Dara, a professor of education at Berry College; and Kirk Wakefield, chair of the marketing department at Baylor University.
Smith also has 10 grandchildren and 10 greatgrandchildren. Her primary hobbies are tennis and reading. She and her husband make their home in San Angelo.
Grand Marshal —
Dr. Al G. Langford (’50)
Dr. Al G. Langford, founding president of Midland College, has distinguished himself and his alma mater with a stellar career in education, civic and professional leadership.
A native of Goldthwaite, he attended Brownwood High School and Howard Payne College where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1950 followed by a master of education degree in 1956. He later earned the doctor of education degree in 1969 from Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
Following doctoral studies at Texas Tech, he became dean of the Midland campus of Permian Junior College System. In 1972, Midland College withdrew from the Permian Junior College System and formed its own college. Langford became the first president. He guided the two-year comprehensive community college from an initial enrollment of 688 students and four full-time faculty members to 2,500 students and more than 300 full-time faculty members and 375 full-time employees before his retirement. The college continues to grow following the HPC alumnus’ retirement.
Langford has been a coach and teacher in Cisco, De Leon, Gatesville and Lamesa. He was the principal of Lamesa High School from 1964 until 1968.
He and his wife Nancy, also an HPC graduate, live in Midland. They are the parents of two sons, Al Jr. of Houston and Lance of Austin; and a daughter, Lee Ann Fisher of Andrews. They have five grandchildren.