Students at Howard Payne University recently raised $5,106 for Go Now Missions, the Baptist General Convention of Texas student missionary-sending program, through the annual Mustache Wheel of Doom event. Teams of male students, along with their personnel sponsors, grew their beards throughout November while raising money for Go Now Missions. The two teams that raised the least amount of money had to spin the Mustache Wheel of Doom and were shaved in whichever style the wheel determined, such as half-beards and stripes. Twenty-nine students and five staff participated in the fund-raiser, sponsored by HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry.
Brian A. Schmidt, associate professor of choral music at Baylor University, and the professional choir he founded received Grammy Award nominations for an album of compositions by a Holocaust victim. Schmidt and the South Dakota Chorale, of which he is artistic director, garnered four nominations for their recording, Tyberg: Masses, including Best Choral Performance. Marcel Tyberg, a practicing Catholic with one-sixteenth Jewish heritage, was arrested by the Nazi Gestapo and held in the Auschwitz death camp, where he died in 1944 at age 51. Tyberg entrusted his musical compositions to a physician friend, Milan Mihich, who later passed the music to his son, Enrico. For decades, Tyberg’s scores were stored in Mihich’s basement in Buffalo, N.Y. Over the last five to 10 years, some of Tyberg’s orchestral, chamber and piano works have gained a following, but his sacred compositions—two Catholic masses—remained unexplored until a colleague brought them to Schmidt’s attention. In addition to Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, the Tyberg: Masses album also was nominated in the Best Engineered Album–Classical (with Boston-based Sound Mirror), Best Surround Sound Album and Producer of the Year–Classical categories. The Sioux Falls-based South Dakota Chorale recorded the album under Schmidt’s direction at the First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Neb.
Bob Billups was named publisher of BaptistWay Press, the publishing branch of the Baptist General Convention of Texas that produces Bible study curriculum for adults, students and children. Billups will facilitate partnerships with Texas Baptist churches and oversee curriculum development. He earned his undergraduate degree East Texas State University and his Master of Arts in Religious Education degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the senior associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Denton and First Baptist Church of Midland for a combined 17 years. He also served in ministry roles at churches in Savoy, Longview, Kingwood and Tyler. Most recently, he worked with the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.
The Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio awarded two San Antonio-area nonprofits the second- and third-largest grants given in the foundation’s history. CentroMed received a grant to help fund its Indian Creek Clinic that will be located on a 6-acre site in a medically underserved area. ChildSafe received a grant to help fund its new Salado Creek campus for children and teens who have been neglected and abused. These two Baptist Health Foundation grants make up the lion’s share of nearly $7 million that the foundation is giving away to San Antonio-area nonprofits this year. The foundation will give nearly $ 1.1 million in scholarships for students studying health careers.
Howard Payne University named Robert Bicknell provost emeritus, the first person to hold that title at HPU. Bicknell began his career at the university in 1989 as vice president of academic affairs before being appointed as provost. He retired from his role as accreditation liaison at the close of the fall 2017 semester after stepping down from his concurrent role as dean of extended education in May.