For the first day on a new job, most people might prefer a relatively light schedule with plenty of time to get acclimated to new surroundings. However, Dr. Cory Hines, Howard Payne University’s energetic new president, had looked at the blank schedule for what would be his first official eight hours and promptly planned a day full of meetings. April 1 was his first day in office, but he was actually in his office for just a little while.

 “There will be time to finish unpacking later,” Hines said. “I couldn’t wait to begin getting connected to the life of our campus and community.” 
Hines, a 1997 graduate of HPU, is eager to build relationships and promote his alma mater.

He was so ready to get started that he came to campus the weekend of March 23, ahead of actually taking office, so he could participate in a preview event for prospective students and their families, attend a meeting of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and enjoy performances at Spring Sing, HPU’s annual event featuring musical productions by student organizations.

Then, on his first official day, he spent several hours at HPU’s Mabee University Center with various groups of HPU personnel and representatives from Brownwood and Early.

At noon, he had lunch with HPU students in the university’s dining hall. On his way back to his office toward the end of the day, he even tried his hand at Jacket Golf – a popular HPU Yellow Jackets pastime played with golf clubs and tennis balls – after being invited to join some students in the midst of a game.

 “As I begin my duties as HPU’s president, the most important item on my agenda is to get to know the people around us so I can hear what’s on their hearts and visit about how we can build strong, vital relationships,” Hines said. “This first day was an important step. I look forward to getting to know more and more people as we move ahead at our main campus and extension centers.”

 In his conversations with the people he meets, he enthusiastically shares what HPU has to offer.

 “I want our alumni to know that this is still the same university they know and love, and they play an important role in its ongoing vitality,” he said. “I want parents to know HPU is a safe place and they can trust HPU with their kids. I want students to know that we’ll prepare them academically, vocationally and spiritually. I want HPU to be a good neighbor to our local and area communities. God has blessed HPU by placing our university in Brownwood and I look forward to fostering and deepening our connections here.”

 At every stage throughout his first day in office, Hines articulated his passion for HPU.

 “This is very much a team effort that involves many, many people,” Hines said. “I’m eager for everyone to join us on this exciting journey. I look forward to all God has for us.”

 On March 18, the university’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of Dr. Hines’ appointment as the 20th president in HPU’s 130-year history. That day he began working to conclude his responsibilities as vice president of enrollment at Dallas Baptist University and make the transition to HPU and Brownwood.

 With his first official day now behind him, Hines took a moment to catch his breath and express appreciation for all who took time to visit and help put the groundwork into place for this new era at HPU.

 “Today has been busy, but what a wonderful day it was,” he said. “I’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight and be ready for another great day tomorrow.”