University News Service

An annual distinguished lecture program focusing on the significance of Christian ethics has been established at Howard Payne University. The first lecture will be scheduled during the spring semester of 2008.

“We are deeply grateful to Gary and Molli Elliston for their generous gift to establish the Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lecture Endowment,” said HPU President Dr. Lanny Hall. “This meaningful gift was given in recognition of the many contributions to Texas Baptist life made by Dr. David R. Currie and the late Phil Strickland. Earnings from the endowed fund will provide support for an annual lecture program in Christian ethics at Howard Payne University.

“On an annual basis, this lecture will provide a special opportunity to students, faculty and the general public to consider the importance of Christian ethics in the workplace, in the classroom, in ministry, in national and world affairs and in the minds of Christians as they make decisions in their daily lives,” Hall said. “Through this gift, the Ellistons have made it possible for our campus community to benefit from focused lecture/discussion sessions on this vital topic for all the years to come.”

Dr. David Currie, a 1975 graduate of Howard Payne University, is the executive director of the Texas Baptists Committed, a position he has held since 1988. He and his wife, Loretta, are also owners and operators of Cornerstone Builders in San Angelo.

Currie currently serves on the board of trustees at HPU, the Interfaith Alliance Board and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty Board in Washington, The Better Business Bureau Board in San Angelo, the Committee to Nominate Board Members of Affiliated Ministries of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Advisory Board of Christmas in April in San Angelo.

Phil Strickland died in February of 2006 after dedicating nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. The first registered lobbyist in Austin to serve a religious denominational body, Strickland was well-known as a political activist, particularly in the areas of children’s needs, separation of church and state and gambling. He was also the founding chairman of the Texans Care for Children and a past president of the United Way of Texas.

A 1975 graduate of Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom at Howard Payne, Dr. Gary D. Elliston is a strong advocate for Christian higher education. Most recently, he and his wife, Molli, endowed the Gary D. Elliston Moot Court Program at HPU.

The program is designed to provide students, particularly those studying pre-law, with opportunities to hone their skills in public speaking and debate in the context of issues relating to law. Through their generosity, the Ellistons made possible the renovation of HPU’s historic Jacket Gym into a state-of-art wellness center in 2001. Now known as the Elliston-Cassle Wellness Center, the building provides students, faculty and staff with a fitness facility containing a full line of exercise equipment, a volleyball and intramural basketball court.

The senior founding partner of DeHay & Elliston, L.L.P., Gary Elliston is respected throughout the nation for his distinguished 28-year career as a trial lawyer. Elliston served on the HPU Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2002 and served as Chairman of the Board for two years.

Additionally, Elliston has served on the Academy of Freedom Board of Directors from 1993 to 2002. He presently serves as a member of the Baylor University Board of Regents and the Baylor Oral Health Foun-dation Board of Trustees. Gary and Molli are active members of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, where they make their home.

In honor of the successes that Elliston has had in his career as a trial lawyer and his dedication to Christian higher education, Howard Payne University awarded him the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2007.