Sumners Scholar Program

Thanks to the generosity of the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation, rising juniors (ie, ~60 semester hours completed at the end of the spring semester) at Howard Payne University interested and invested in civic engagement and leadership may apply for admission into a highly competitive and richly rewarding program.

Sumners Scholars receive invitations to colloquia featuring some of the world’s most notable leaders. Past speakers have included President Gerald Ford, Benjamin Netanyahu, Queen Noor of Jordan, George Will, Clarence Thomas, James Baker and many more. Intensive policy weekends and leadership seminars are offered to Sumners Scholars at no cost.

The foundation’s mission aligns perfectly with that of Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: “to encourage the study, teaching and research into the science and art of self-government, to the end that the American People may understand the fundamental principles of democracy and be guided thereby in shaping governmental policies.” (Source) For this reason, students interested in the Sumners Scholar program are highly encouraged to concurrently apply to the Honors Academy, which provides additional financial aid beyond the student’s HPU aid package.

The Hatton W. Sumners Foundation through Howard Payne University

Stipend and Terms

The Sumners Scholar program is a four-semester commitment. As an investment in the Scholar’s promising academic and professional future, the Sumners Foundation provides Scholars with a $7,500 per semester stipend for four semesters. This stipend is in addition to university scholarships that current HPU students receive or transfer students are eligible to receive. If the combined package of university scholarships and the Sumners Scholarship exceeds tuition, the excess can be applied toward fees, books, and room and board. Students cannot receive financial aid that exceeds the University’s cost-of-attendance, and the stipend may apply only to regular fall and spring semesters.

For information regarding other available scholarships, loans and grants, contact HPU’s Office of Student Financial Aid.

Qualifications and Selection

Sumners Scholar applicants must be United States citizens, demonstrate interest in civic leadership and engagement, and have at least 60 semester hours by the beginning of the fall semester following their selection. Transfer students must be concurrently accepted for admission into Howard Payne University.

Up to ten applicants will be nominated by the Director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy for consideration by the Trustees of the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. Final selection will follow personal interviews on the Howard Payne University campus by a committee of Sumners Foundation Trustees. Selection is based on academic proficiency, extracurricular achievement, apparent capacity for public service, and information furnished in the written application.

Selected Scholars will be required to maintain a minimum GPA and to attend specific events throughout the following four semesters of their Scholar program. These details will be provided in the application packet and/or by the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Humanities and Director of the Honors Academy, Ms. Terrie Wells.


Sumners Scholar Application
Sumners Scholar Recommendation Form
Sumners Autobiographical Essay – RTF Template
Sumners Autobiographical Essay – Word Template

Detailed instructions are provided on the second page of the application form. Applicants should right-click the Application link, and Save As a PDF to your computer. Use the most recent version of the free program Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete and save the application file. A hand-signed hard copy is the preferred delivery method. Please note that applicants must arrange for the submission of three recommendation forms, 0ne 0f which must be completed by a professor or instructor familiar with the applicant’s current academic performance. Applicants must supply these referees with a signed copy of the reference form linked above; referees must fill out the lower half of the form and return this along with a formal letter of recommendation to the address indicated. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check with their referees on the status of their requested recommendations. Applicants must also complete the requested autobiographical essay and provide an up-to-date resume to complete their application packet.


The application deadline is March 15 and final selection is in April. Qualified students must submit applications to:

Sumners Scholar Application
c/o Dept. of History and Government
Howard Payne University
1000 Fisk Street
Brownwood, Texas 76801-2794

For information about applying to Howard Payne University, visit the Office of Admission page.

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