Around the State: UMHB presents 82nd annual Easter Pageant

The Last Supper is portrayed as part of the 82nd annual Easter Pageant at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. (UMHB Photo)

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Steve Villalobos portrayed Jesus in the annual Easter Pageant at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. (UMHB Photo)

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor held its 82nd annual Easter Pageant on March 31. The three pageant performances attracted a combined live audience of about 3,500 people. Livestreams of the event were shared more than 200 times on Facebook and reached more than 10,000 people. While most online viewers were from Texas, the pageant also drew an audience in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Taiwan. Miriam Osterlund and Sarah Weinmann were pageant directors. Steve Villalobos portrayed Jesus, and Erin Franklin was cast in the role of Jesus’ mother Mary. Students are selected for those two roles based on their Christian faith and character. More than 300 UMHB students participated in the planning and production of the pageant, which depicts key moments from the life of Christ. “I am always so proud of the students who are involved in directing and performing in the Easter Pageant,” UMHB President Randy O’Rear said. “There are many students we don’t even see who help with costumes, programs, set production, make-up, logistics, prayer and outreach, and the children’s committee. The students are the ones who make this day so special.” A recording of the pageant can be viewed at

Adrien Barrientos, a Howard Payne University senior from Lewisville, screens a vaccine recipient at a vaccine clinic outside of Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood. (HPU Photo)

Faculty and students from Howard Payne University’s School of Nursing have administered more than 2,000 COVID-19 vaccinations at sites in the Brownwood area since early January. HPU students and faculty are working to provide vaccines under the direction of the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department and Hendrick Medical Center Brownwood. “We’re a faith-based program and we know God calls us to help our community,” said Nina Ouimette, dean of the HPU School of Nursing. “This is a part of that call to serve. We wouldn’t even consider not stepping in to help.”

Two Baylor University faculty members received grant awards from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to fund research and training in behavioral intervention practices that improve outcomes for children with autism. Tonya Davis, professor of educational psychology and director of the special education program in the Baylor School of Education, was awarded a $474,843 grant to provide intervention training to teachers who serve students with autism in kindergarten through 12th grade. Stephanie Gerow, assistant professor of special education, was awarded a $369,699 grant to provide intervention training to parents.

Work by two graphic design students at Wayland Baptist University recently attracted international attention. Alec Buitron, a senior from Brownsville, submitted three pieces selected for display in the 11th Lessedra International Painting and Mixed Media Exhibition in Sofia, Bulgaria. His art is displayed alongside 126 other artists from 30 countries. Allyson Vinson, a freshman from Lubbock, will have one of her pieces published in Creative Quarterly, an internationally renowned graphic design and illustration magazine based in New York City. One of her creations, inspired by ancient Sumerian artwork, prompted her art history professor, Dejan Mraović, to encourage her to send it to the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, D.C. Both the Iraqi cultural attaché and the Iraqi ambassador responded by thanking her for her contribution and providing more information about Iraqi culture.

Sandeep Mazumder

Baylor University named Sandeep Mazumder as the William E. Crenshaw Endowed Dean of the Hankamer School of Business, effective July 1. Mazumder, currently professor and chair of the department of economics at Wake Forest University, will succeed Terry S. Maness, who is retiring this spring after serving as Baylor’s business school dean since 1997. Mazumder received his undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts degree from St. Catharine’s College at Cambridge University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Carol and Paul McClinton of Waco pledged $1 million to enable the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to upgrade its intramural fields from natural grass to artificial turf. Other improvements will include new field lighting, a pavilion and permanent striping for the recreational sports played on these fields. In addition to the scheduled intramural activities at UMHB, the fields are used for exercise and sport science classes, student life events and unstructured student recreation. The upgraded recreation space will be named the McClinton Family Intramural Fields.

Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently secured debate sweepstakes for the second time in a row and won second place overall sweepstakes at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Spring Championship tournament. HPU competed against 15 colleges and universities from Texas. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the department of communication at HPU, coaches the team.

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