The Award for Exemplary Leadership in Church Music was instituted in 2005 and is given to a graduate of Baylor University who has contributed uniquely and significantly to some aspect of the broad scope of church music ministry. The award can be given for cumulative lifetime achievement or a singular contribution.
Dr. Loyd Hawthorne retired in 2007 as Director of Choral Activities at Hardin-Simmons University after a 33 year career at the school. With one year of university teaching out of state and six years of high school teaching in the State of Texas his total career as a choral conductor spanned 40 years. An added year as Interim Director of Choral Activities at Baylor brings the total to 41 years of teaching. During his tenure at HSU Dr. Hawthorne served for five years as Dean of the School of Music and he held the position of Logsdon Professor of Church Music. However, in 2002, he chose to step down from his position as Dean so that he could devote more time to his first love, choral music. Dr. Hawthorne was honored by the University in 1986, when he was named a Cullen Professor for teaching excellence. Dr. Hawthorne arrived at Hardin-Simmons in 1974 after a one year teaching position at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1973; the Master of Music in theory and literature from Baylor in 1966; and the Bachelor of Science in music education from Lamar University, Beaumont, in 1963. In 2007 he and three others were in the first class of graduates from Lamar to be inducted into the Music Hall of Honor. He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, and the American Choral Directors Association. He has served as president, past president, and second vice president of TCDA. At the 2009 TCDA Convention he was honored to receive the Choral Excellence Award from TCDA. His choral performances have taken him to England, Wales, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Romania, the former Soviet Union and Belgium.
A highly sought-after clinician, Dr. Hawthorne has worked with universities, public schools and churches in Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, California, Washington, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Missouri. In addition he has been a clinician for the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, with Aramco in Saudi Arabia, for the TMEA college division, and served numerous times on the music faculty of Church Music Week at Glorieta, New Mexico. In retirement he is still invited to serve as a choral clinician throughout the State of Texas and beyond. His choirs have been honored to sing frequently for TMEA, Southwest Division of ACDA and for regional and National Conventions of MENC. They have performed at TMEA with greater frequency than any other liberal arts universities of comparable size in the State of Texas. In 2003 Dr. Hawthorne formed the Texas Baptist All-State Youth Choir-West (eventually Master's Voices). He has been the conductor of the group since its inception, and the group has convened each summer on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University. The choir has sung for the Church Music Conference of the SBC, for the Texas Choral Directors' Association, for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and has toured and performed throughout Texas and in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia. Under his guidance Master's Voices has commissioned and premiered two sacred anthems: To Know the Mind of God-Mark Hayes, and Eternal Life-Craig Courtney. Dr. Hawthorne has a love for high school aged young people, developed in large part during his 15 years as conductor of the Texas Baptist All-State Youth Choir and a comparable period as the conductor of the Louisiana Baptist All-State Youth Choir. During the 2008-2009 academic year Dr. Hawthorne was called from retirement to serve as the Interim Director of Choral Activities at Baylor University. While there he had the opportunity to tour in Belgium with 26 other music faculty members from Baylor. The highlight of multiple performances within the country was the opportunity to conduct the Flemish Radio Choir