University Leaders Awarded Honorary Doctorates

Richard and Deann Styles Served HSU in Key Roles


Hardin-Simmons University conferred Honorary Doctorate degrees upon Richard and Deann Styles at the Winter Commencement ceremony held December 12, 2015. Richard Styles received a Doctor of Laws and Deann Styles received a Doctor of Humanities.   

President Dr. Lanny Hall presented the degrees, the highest recognition that the University bestows on outstanding individuals who have made a difference at Hardin-Simmons and in other communities, to the highly regarded couple. 

Mrs. Carol Hall, First Lady at Hardin-Simmons, read the citation for Mrs. Styles. She said Styles "personified servant leadership" in her many roles as teacher, principal, therapist, administrator, consultant, and adjunct professor. Dr. David Miller, President of the Hendrick Home for Children, read the citation for Richard Styles.  

In its history, Hardin-Simmons has bestowed 233 Honorary Doctorate degrees. This is only the third time in Hardin-Simmons history that a couple has been given Honorary Doctorates at the same time. 

Richard M. Styles’ distinguished career has included service to his nation, farming, college teaching, public relations and university administration.  

A Texas native born on a farm outside of Lubbock, Styles is a graduate of New Deal High School.  Following graduation, he entered Texas Tech University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish.  From Texas Tech, he served in the United States Army.  After farming for two years, he entered graduate school at the University of New Mexico, earning a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. 

He began his profession in higher education as an instructor of Spanish at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia. Following his teaching experience, he accepted the position of director of public relations and development at the institution.  Continuing his work in public relations and development, he soon joined the Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, serving under the leadership of Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher.  

He would join Dr. Fletcher once again in Abilene, Texas, as he served as vice president for university relations and development at Hardin-Simmons University. From 1978 to 1998 he led the development and advancement functions of HSU.  During these years, he was highly effective in directing fundraising initiatives for HSU.

Deann Buske Styles has enjoyed an impressive career as a school teacher, principal, therapist, university administrator, adjunct professor and consultant.  A native of Friona, in the Texas Panhandle, she has given selflessly as a volunteer to numerous non-profit causes and has served in leadership positions through her church and community in several different settings in Virginia and Texas.

A graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics Education, Styles earned a Master of Education degree in Counseling and Human Development from Hardin-Simmons University. In addition, she has done post-graduate work at Texas Tech University, the University of Richmond, the University of Virginia and HSU.

Along the way, this busy multi-tasking mother of three has made a difference in the lives of countless others.  For six years she served as a therapist for Ministry of Counseling and Enrichment at First Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas. 

During her two decades of service with HSU, she served as director of religious activities, consultant for the gifted and talented program, assistant director of continuing education, office coordinator for the “Forging the Future” campaign and as an adjunct professor in family psychology.  During this time, she also traveled throughout the United States helping to garner resources for HSU.


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