Robert Tucker, who recently left his position as the Dean of Music, Fine Arts and Extended Education at Howard Payne University, was honored Sunday after the Brownwood Lyric Theatre’s final presentation of “The Wizard of Oz.”

“It was definitely a special afternoon,” Tucker said. “I was surprised, honored and a little embarrassed. With all of the children, parents, musicians and everyone else involved in the musical, I felt like I am just a minor person in the Brownwood Lyric Theatre.”

The award was presented for Tucker’s support of the theatre and for being the musical’s conductor for the last nine years.

“We have been so fortunate to have so many outstanding instrumentalists for so many years,” Tucker said.

Tucker left HPU in early-July to accept a position at his alma matter, Hardin-Simmons University, which provided for “long days,” traveling between Abilene and Brownwood daily to fulfill his conductor duties.

“I loved being able to do it,” Tucker said. “I started July 8 which was around the same time we started rehearsals. I have had a busy three weeks.”

Returning to Abilene is a source of excitement for Tucker. “I love Hardin-Simmons and Abilene,” Tucker said. “I have deep roots here and feel honored to be here.”

Leaving colleagues and friends at HPU is difficult, Tucker said. “I have so many close friends and roots in Brownwood as well. I will definitely miss everyone.”

Tucker said he is thankful for the short distance between HSU and HPU. “I am so thankful the two institutions are so close. I would really like everyone in Brownwood to know how much I am going to miss them.”