5 MTSU alumni make appearances on Top 40 country radio charts

Middle Tennessee State University’s strong influence within country music was on display as five former MTSU students claimed spots on national Top 40 country music radio charts.

Clockwise, from top left, former MTSU students Eric Paslay, Chris Young, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Brett Eldredge and Sam Hunt were all recently represented on national country music charts for radio airplay.

Clockwise, from top left, former MTSU students Eric Paslay, Chris Young, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Brett Eldredge and Sam Hunt all are recently represented on national country music charts for radio airplay.

Former students Sam Hunt, Brett Eldredge, Chris Young and Eric Paslay can be found as solo artists on the Billboard and Mediabase Top 40 country airplay charts, while Hillary Scott continues to enjoy chart recognition as a member of Grammy-winning group Lady Antebellum.

By ranking order, Hunt’s “Leave the Night On”, Lady Antebellum’s “Freestyle”, Eldredge’s “Mean to Me”, Young’s “Lonely Eyes” and Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You” all made the chart for the week ending Nov. 16. All attended MTSU before launching their music careers.

“This is an exciting time for our students and faculty as we see the success of our former students in so many areas,” said Beverly Keel, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry.

“To see five former students on the country radio chart is gratifying and thrilling. I can remember seeing Hillary Scott at the campus grill, and now she is a superstar and inspiring a generation of college students with her singing, songwriting and grace.”

The Department of Recording Industry’s program part is recognized among the top music business programs internationally, recently named to The Hollywood Reporter magazine’s “Top 25 Music Schools 2014.” The program also was recently named by Billboard as one of its Top 5 schools to study music internationally.

Beverly Keel

Beverly Keel

Recording industry undergrad majors in the College of Mass Communication at MTSU can focus on audio production, commercial songwriting or music business. A Master of Fine Arts degree in recording arts and technologies prepares MTSU graduate students for advanced work in audio production, recording and integrated electronic media.

Such an in-depth program has produced alumni who’ve found success not only in front of the mic but also throughout the many facets of the music industry.

“Of course, we also continually celebrate the success of other alumni who are more behind-the-scenes, such as Michael Knox, who produces Jason Aldean, and hit songwriter Luke Laird, who also produces Kacey Musgraves,” Keel said.

“We are so grateful to our many alumni, such as Eric Paslay and Michael Knox, who are giving of their time to help MTSU students.”

Knox gave a guest lecture to students about his industry experiences earlier this month, while Paslay will perform next month in Nashville as part of the MTSU Songwriting Series to benefit the recording industry program.

“As the accolades continue to roll in for our program, we strive to do our best to prepare the next generation of music industry leaders and creators,” Keel said.

For more information about MTSU’s recording industry program, visit http://recordingindustry.mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Click on the image below to see where the songs by the MTSU alumni ranked on the Mediabase chart. 

Click to see a full sized version of the chart.

Click to see a full sized version of the chart.

MTSU iMagazine features homecoming, Science Building, more

From the opening of a $147-million Science Building to a look at one MTSU Center’s work to untangle the mystery of dyslexia, the newest, tablet-only, mini-version of MTSU Magazine covers a broad swath of topics for the university’s growing web and app audiences to enjoy.MTSU iMagazine cover_Nov2014-web

Available through the MTSU Magazine app, the electronic-only version includes several stories with multimedia content that aren’t available in print. The app is available in the iTunes store and at Google Play.

The latest mini-edition of MTSU Magazine includes:

  • A visual journey inside MTSU’s new $147 million Science Building, now open for instruction, which is sure to elevate the university’s science and research efforts to the next level.
  • A glimpse of the recent Homecoming weekend that was fantastic, including the parades, a football game, and visiting alums.
  • An introduction to MTSU’s six newest Distinguished Alumni.
  • An exploration of how the Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia at MTSU is working to unravel the mystery of this common reading disorder.
  • An article detailing one MTSU Honors student’s research on the disappearance of bees in Middle Tennessee.

The content included in the mini-magazine also is available online at www.mtsumagazine.com.

The next print edition of MTSU Magazine will reach MTSU alumni and friends by mail in late January 2015.

— Drew Ruble (drew.ruble@mtsu.edu)

MTSU singers make mark again on ‘The Voice’ (+VIDEOS)

MTSU once again gave viewers a dose of music reality as a student and an alumna sang their way onto season seven of the NBC competition “The Voice.”

Jonathan Wyndham

Jonathan Wyndham

Jean Kelley (Kelley Duggan)

Jean Kelley (Kelley Duggan)

Magna cum laude music-business graduate Kelley Duggan, who performs under her stage name Jean Kelley, sang her way into the Top 20 on “The Voice” before she was eliminated Nov. 11 in the first set of the competition’s live shows.

Duggan was initially chosen as a member of singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani’s “team” on the weekly reality show. She sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” for her “blind audition,” when the celebrity judges can only hear, not see, the contestants.

Senior commercial songwriting major Jonathan Wyndham had all four celebrity judges scrambling to add him to their teams when he performed A Great Big World’s “Say Something” in his audition.

Wyndham chose Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as his mentor and team leader but was sent home during the “battle round” competitions between members of each judge’s team, which began airing Oct. 13.

Both MTSU singers’ auditions aired during the Sept. 30 episode of “The Voice.” This marked the third year that “The Voice” has chosen MTSU alumni or students from among thousands of hopefuls to compete for $100,000 and a recording contract.

You can watch Wyndham’s “battle round” performance from the Oct. 13 episode below.


Stefani kept singer Sugar Joans instead of Duggan after the competitors sang Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.” Judges Levine and Pharrell Williams took advantage of the ouster to try to “steal” Duggan for their own teams. Duggan chose to work with Williams, keeping her in the competition until the Nov. 11 live performance.

You can watch Duggan’s final “Voice” performance, a rendition of Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark,” from the Nov. 11 episode below.


Duggan, a Brentwood, Tennessee, native who now lives in Atlanta and works in marketing and radio, called the experience “surreal” and said she “didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was.”

Levine called Duggan “sassy,” and Stefani, leader of No Doubt, praised her vocal range.

In addition to her August 2009 degree from MTSU with honors and membership in Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Duggan represented the university as Miss MTSU 2007 and competed in the Miss Tennessee pageant.

You can watch Duggan’s audition from the Sept. 30 episode below.


Wyndham, a Lexington, South Carolina, native, said that music helped him overcome a childhood speech impediment. He called “The Voice” a “crazy, out-of-body experience.”

The judges praised the emotional delivery and “vulnerability” of his audition song.

You can watch Wyndham’s audition from the Sept. 30 episode below.


Auditions for the seventh season of “The Voice” were recorded last summer and began airing Sept. 22. The pre-recorded “battle rounds” between the singers began airing Oct. 13, ultimately leading to live performance shows with an audience-voted winner.

The auditions narrowed 56 successful hopefuls down to 40 to create 10-member teams for each of the celebrity judges. Country singer Blake Shelton is this season’s fourth celebrity judge.

NBC The Voice graphic webThis is the second consecutive season that MTSU has been represented in the NBC reality show. MTSU 2009 recording industry grad Austin Ellis made his debut last spring; you can read more about him here.

Kris Thomas, a 2008 MTSU psychology alumnus, reached the show’s top 10 in spring 2013. Learn more about his adventure here.

Another MTSU alumnus, 2013 advertising/public relations grad Ben Briley of Gallatin, Tenn., reached the top 11 on Fox’s “American Idol” before the audience and judges sent him home last March. Read about him here.

MTSU vocal performance major Jonathan Allen sang himself into the summer 2013 semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” at Radio City Music Hall before that opportunity ended. Recording-industry major Curtis Holland tap-danced his way past hundreds of other hopefuls to make the Top 20 of Fox’s summer 2013 “So You Think You Can Dance,” but a shoulder injury eliminated him from the competition. You can learn more about them here.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Jones College of Business honors 3 with achievement awards

The Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU recently honored three businessmen with achievement awards in advance of the college’s entrepreneurship conference.

WordmarkJonesCollegeTwo of the three awards were presented during a reception held Thursday, Oct. 30, at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro, the site of the Jones College’s “2020 Millennial Game Plan: Maximizing Millennial Entrepreneurship and Innovation” conference held Oct. 31.

Honored at the reception were two MTSU alumni: technology expert Steve Anderson of Nashville and developer Rob Harper of Florida. Banker and philanthropist Jim Ayers, a Parsons, Tennessee, native now living in Nashville, was unable to attend the event and will be presented his award later.

“It is my distinct honor to present these awards to this year’s honorees,” said Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business.

“All of them have led lives that we can all be proud of, and I am particularly thrilled to have them associated with the Jones College of Business and Middle Tennessee State University.”

Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award — Jim Ayers

The Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award is presented to an individual whose achievements are in keeping with the highest traditions of the American system of free enterprise. Award recipients are role models whose business, professional and personal achievements stand out for all to see and to emulate.

Jim Ayers, Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award winner, 2014

Jim Ayers

Introduced by his parents in rural West Tennessee to the rewards of an honest day’s work, Jim Ayers became one of the state’s most successful businessmen. Ayers nurtured FirstBank from a single branch in Scotts Hill, Tennessee, into the state’s largest independently owned and operated bank, with over $2 billion in assets and over 40 locations. The bank is headquartered in Lexington, Tennessee.

After building successful healthcare and real estate ventures, Ayers established the Ayers Foundation, supporting educational programs in Henderson, Perry, and Decatur counties; the Ayers Institute at Vanderbilt University, conducting advanced cancer research; the Ayers Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee; and the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb University.

He received the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2007 Philanthropist of the Year Award, Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award, 2007 University of Memphis Distinguished Alumni Award, and honorary doctorates from Freed-Hardeman, Union, and Bethel Universities. Tennessee Bankers Association named him a Leader in Banking Excellence.

Previous winners of the award include healthcare executive Joey Jacobs, developer Mark Pirtle and the late Gov. Ned McWherter.

Jones College of Business Exemplar Award — Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson, Jones College of Business Exemplar Award winner, 2014

Steve Anderson

The Jones College Exemplar Award is presented to a graduate of the Jones College whose personal and professional accomplishments are exemplary for our current students. Because they are alumni, they have “walked in the shoes” of our current students. The commonality allows Jones College Exemplars to demonstrate that our current students can also achieve great things.

Steve Anderson worked with Accenture for 25 years. As a managing partner for 15 years, Anderson had operating responsibilities for various practice units. With deep manufacturing and supply chain skills, he led large-scale strategic and technology change programs for Fortune 500 companies, receiving national media recognition along the way.

Anderson has a bachelor’s degree from MTSU, an MBA from Jones College and CPIM Certification from the American Production and Inventory Control Society. He works part time mentoring young executives, assisting a consulting firm with strategic industry and client planning, and assisting a small healthcare startup. In recent years he has given presentations to Jones College Information Technology majors. Steve’s wife, Kathy, is a Jones College graduate active in Nashville nonprofits, and their son, Clint, works in Nashville’s healthcare industry.

Previous winners of the award include former congressman Bart Gordon, technology executive Darrell Freeman and real estate developer Bob Parks.

Joe M. Rodgers Spirit of America Award — Rob Harper

The Joe M. Rodgers Spirit of America Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest ideals in keeping with the American spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to others. Award recipients represent what America is, and what it can be.

Rob Harper

Rob Harper

In 1989, Robert F. “Rob” Harper IV received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Jones College. In 1991, he established a real estate and development company, Harper Properties, and at 24 opened his first residential home development. He went on to develop numerous other successful commercial, residential and multifamily development projects throughout Florida and acquired, developed and sold a portfolio of Florida commercial warehouse facilities.

In the late 1990s, he invested in agricultural and real estate lands in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. He partnered with Brian G. Philpot to establish Land South Group in 2002, acquiring over 200,000 acres throughout the Southeast. Harper established Bankers South High Yield Fund, originating high-yield lending opportunities in the real estate sector, and AgAmerica Lending, now one of the largest U.S. agricultural lenders. He serves as chair and CEO of Tall Tower Capital, one of the largest U.S. privately owned broadcast tower corporations. A founder in 1997 of Platinum Bank, serving the Central Florida market, he serves on its board of directors.

Previous winners of the award include country music legend Charlie Daniels, former governor Winfield Dunn and insurance executive Andrea Loughry.

For more information about the MTSU Jones College of Business, visit www.mtsu.edu/business.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU honors 2014-15 Distinguished Alumni at homecoming celebration

The 2014-15 MTSU Distinguished Alumni recipients include (from left) Linda Gilbert, Achievement in Education by a non-MTSU alumnus; Ashley Elizabeth Graham, Young Alumni Achievement Award, Matthew Little, True Blue Citation of Distinction for Service to the Community; Donald McDonald, True Blue Citation of Distinction for Service to the University; Dr. Ray Phillips, True Blue Citation of Distinction for Achievement in Education by a current or retired MTSU faculty member; and Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour, Distinguished Alumnus. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

The 2014-15 MTSU Distinguished Alumni recipients include, from left, Dr. Linda Gilbert, Ashley Elizabeth Graham, Matthew Little, Donald McDonald, Dr. E. Ray Phillips and Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

Led by university President Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU paid tribute to six alumni who have brought their alma mater prestige and distinction through their exceptional professional careers and loyal support.

The MTSU Alumni Association’s 2014-15 honorees include Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, Distinguished Alumna recipient; Ashley Elizabeth Graham, Young Alumni Achievement Award honoree; and four recipients of the first-time True Blue Citations of Distinction:

  • Dr. E. Ray Phillips, Achievement in Education by a current or retired MTSU faculty member.
  • Dr. Linda Gilbert, Achievement in Education by an alumnus outside of MTSU.
  • Donald McDonald, Service to the University.
  • Matthew Little, Service to the Community.

As part of Homecoming Weekend, the Distinguished Alumni Awards were announced Oct. 17 in the MT Center inside the Sam H. Ingram Building on Middle Tennessee Boulevard. Chip Walters, “the voice of the Blue Raiders” in football and men’s basketball, served as master of ceremonies.

From 1960 to present, the MTSU Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with the association’s highest honor: the Distinguished Alumni Award. A younger alumnus who is making a positive impact in the world receives the Young Alumni Achievement Award. New this year are the True Blue Citations of Distinction.

The honorees will ride in the MTSU Homecoming Parade Saturday, Oct. 18, and will be recognized later in the day during the MTSU vs. UAB Homecoming Game, which has a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

Here is a glance at the 2014-15 honorees.

Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour

Distinguished Alumna — Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour (Class of 1997)

Armour went from being a beat cop to a combat pilot in three years and became America’s first African-American female combat pilot, serving two tours overseas. Now a resident of Stafford, Virginia, Armour enrolled at MTSU, joined the Army ROTC program and, after graduating with an exercise science degree, she served three years as a Metro Nashville police officer.

Following in her father and stepfather’s military career footsteps, Armour became a second lieutenant and pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. A noted author and speaker, Armour has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, the Tavis Smiley Show, National Public Radio and others.

Ashley Elizabeth Graham

Ashley Elizabeth Graham

Young Alumni Achievement Award — Ashley Elizabeth Graham (Class of  ’12)

Graham’s passion for politics landed her a role with a state senator’s campaign while an MTSU student and then catapulted her to Washington, D.C. Early in her career, she was writing speeches for the General Services Administration that required a security clearance. Graham later found herself working at the White House for the Bush administration as deputy director of presidential writers.

She was one of six speechwriters for a recent Republican National Convention, and the Nashville resident now serves as deputy communications director for U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn. Graham received the Maverick PAC 40 under 40 Award in 2013.

True Blue Citations of Distinction

Ray Phillips

Ray Phillips

Dr. Ray Phillips (Class of ’66) — Achievement in Education for current or retired MTSU faculty

Phillips, who lives outside of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, enjoyed a lengthy history as an MTSU educator, serving as a Department of Mathematics faculty member and chair, associate dean in the College of Graduate Studies and interim dean in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences from 1990 to 2003.

He was active in research, curriculum development, crucial grant writing that earned the university several million dollars and science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education leadership. He established the Tennessee STEM Education Center at MTSU, and a colleague said his “illustrious career in education … has brought distinction to MTSU.”

Linda Gilbert

Linda Gilbert

Dr. Linda Gilbert (Classes of ’72, ’79 and ’91) — Achievement in Education, non-MTSU

Gilbert, a Murfreesboro resident, has served many years as a Murfreesboro City School administrator, currently as director of schools. Her leadership and knowledge have benefited the city schools and MTSU. This includes co-authoring grants for MTeach, an MTSU program designed to increase the quantity and quality of math and science teachers in Tennessee and the United States and facilitating dual enrollment between MTSU and Rutherford County Schools.

Her involvement and service with the university includes membership in and chairing many advisory boards and committees from the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences advisory board to the Band of Blue Executive Board.

Donald McDonald

Donald McDonald

Donald McDonald (Class of ’63) — Service to the University

McDonald and his wife, Frances, remain avid MTSU supporters with both their time and resources. They are 1911 Society members, giving to the university through their estate plans, and scholarship benefactors. The Donald McDonald Aerospace Maintenance Laboratory is named for him at the Flight Operations Center at Murfreesboro Airport, and he has served and currently serves on the MTSU Foundation Board and Aerospace Advisory Board.

The McDonalds open their home and personal hangar to aerospace students and faculty and attend many MTSU functions. Their love and passion for MTSU is exemplified by their financial commitment to MTSU’s future and their continued involvement in university boards.

Matthew Little

Matthew Little

Matthew Little (Class of ’08) — Service to the Community

Little, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, has been involved in service for 20 years. He has been a part of numerous initiatives, including running camps for 2,000 students, providing leadership for Tennessee’s statewide service day and creating a national park educational program. Tennessee named Little as a delegate to its first Truancy and Dropout Prevention Conference, and he participated in the Mayor’s Summit on Children and Youth in Nashville.

He works with ServeAlabama as a member of a nonprofit to support the work of volunteers. Little’s leadership has guided three institutions to being named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. He is senior associate director of admissions at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Golden Raiders urged to join celebration of MTSU Class of ’64

MT alumni logo webThe MTSU Office of Alumni Relations is issuing a call for all Golden Raiders — university graduates and students from the Class of 1964 and earlier — to attend the annual reunion during Homecoming 2014 Oct. 17-18.

The Golden Raiders Society is for those who graduated or attended 50 or more years ago. This year, the Class of ’64 will be inducted into this special society.

The induction luncheon will be held at noon Friday, Oct. 17, in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. The reservation deadline is Friday, Oct. 10. Call 615-898-2922 or 800-533-6878 to register.

University President Sidney A. McPhee and National Alumni Board President Paula Mansfield will conduct the induction ceremony.

All past inductees are encouraged to return to campus for the homecoming celebration and share in the induction of the newest class, said Rhonda King, alumni relations assistant director.

“It is a special occasion that celebrates one of life’s major milestones,” King said. “While the reunion provides an opportunity to see how campus has changed since their graduation, the focus of the event is to recognize those whose foundation we stand on today.”

The event is a chance for alumni to pause and reflect on what they have accomplished in life, King said, and how then-Middle Tennessee State College played a part in their successes.

“It’s very fitting this reunion takes place during homecoming, which provides a weekend full of Blue Raider camaraderie,” she said.

For more information about the Golden Raiders schedule of events and full Raiderstock MTSU Homecoming details, visit www.mtalumni.com/s/1092/start.aspx. “Raiderstock” is the 1960’s theme for this year’s homecoming.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU 2014 homecoming logo72

National historic preservation chief visits ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumnus who has become a national leader in preserving America’s heritage was the guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

David J. Brown

David J. Brown

Host Gina Logue’s interview with David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., first aired Sept. 22 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Natl Trust for Historic Preservation logoBrown earned his bachelor’s degree from MTSU’s Department of History in 1977. He also holds a master’s degree in planning from Georgia Tech.

He is in charge of the National Trust’s preservation efforts, including the construction of new historic site models, the advocacy of laws and policies that promote historic preservation and direct action to protect historic buildings and locations.

Our language, when we talk about preservation, often looks backwards,” said Brown, “but when we do it well, we’re always trying to shape communities and manage the change in communities so that we get the kind of communities we want, as opposed to the types of communities that we’re handed.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Keel, Scott honored at Women in Music City Awards (+VIDEO)

NASHVILLE — MTSU professor Beverly Keel, chair of the university’s Department of Recording Industry, and former MTSU student Hillary Scott of Grammy-winning music group Lady Antebellum were among honorees Monday night at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.


Scott, who attended MTSU as a recording industry student before launching a successful music career, was honored as Artist of the Year and was keynote speaker at the red carpet event, held at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Keel was among the 26 other women recognized for their contributions to Nashville’s thriving music industry.

“I’m just so thrilled to be a part of this,” Keel said. “It’s an amazing list of women, and what’s so great is that they’ve all chosen different paths.”

Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of Grammy-award winning country music trio Lady Antebellum, was recognized as Artist of the Year at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards. The event was held Monday night at the Omni Nashville Hotel. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of Grammy-award winning country music trio Lady Antebellum, was recognized as Artist of the Year at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards. The event was held Monday night at the Omni Nashville Hotel. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Also honored at the event was MTSU alumna Jill Napier (’99), director of copyright management at Music Services Inc. in Brentwood, Tennessee. Napier currently serves on MTSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors.

The Business Journal solicited nominations of women working in the music business “who are making a creative and economic impact on the industry.” A judging committee of women music professionals from Los Angeles and New York City reviewed and scored the nominees, and an NBJ committee chose the winners.

Formerly an award-winning music journalist and recording industry executive, Keel became recording industry department chair a year ago. Among projects the MTSU alumna has worked on since include efforts to establish a scholarship fund at MTSU in memory of country music legend George Jones; and creation of the Chair’s Lecture Series to bring industry leaders such as Gary Overton, Sarah Trahern, Joe Galante and others to speak to students.

Scott, a Nashville native, is lead singer of the musical trio Lady Antebellum, whose fifth album, “747,” is scheduled to be released Sept. 30. The other members of the group, which has already captured seven Grammy Awards, are Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley.

In her keynote remarks, Scott, who’s married and has a 1-year-old daughter, recalled fondly her time at MTSU and thanked Keel for being so welcoming during her time on campus. She applauded Nashville’s music industry for its support of women in the industry.

“Nashville’s emphasis on nurturing families has never been more,” Scott said. “Being in a business that’s very hectic and demands so much of your time, I’ve still never felt like I had to make a choice between having a career and being a mom.”

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said Scott “is a perfect example of what makes Nashville such a special place.”

Read the full list of winners at http://bit.ly/1kz9P5x.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Beverly Keel, right, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, accepts her award from Nashville Business Journal Publisher Kate Herman at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

Beverly Keel, right, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, accepts her award from Nashville Business Journal Publisher Kate Herman at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, Beverly Keel, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of country music trio Lady Antebellum, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and first lady Elizabeth McPhee at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, Beverly Keel, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of country music trio Lady Antebellum, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and first lady Elizabeth McPhee at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, first lady Elizabeth McPhee, Beverl Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, and MTSU alumnus Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, first lady Elizabeth McPhee, Beverl Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, and MTSU alumnus Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

MTSU agriculture alumni, friends gather at The Celebration

MTSU alumni John L. Batey, left, and Faye Brandon laugh during the 2012 Ag Alumni and Friends Reception at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. (File photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Alumni and friends of the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience will hold their eighth annual reception at The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

The gathering will be held in the Calsonic Arena’s Hall of Fame Room on World Grand Championship night at The Celebration.

The $10 admission includes food, beverages and a free ticket to the 2014 Tennessee walking horse grand finale.

Open to all alumni and friends of the university, attendees are asked to RSVP by calling 615-898-2523.

Recent graduate Sarah Newton-Cromwell will be introduced to the audience, as well as David Whitaker, director of the MTSU Horse Science program.

Newton-Cromwell, who earned her master’s degree from MTSU and graduated Aug. 9, will be a faculty instructor and handle the equine-assisted activities and therapies aspect of the program.

Whitaker, a member of the faculty since 1982, will be retiring in September.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

‘MTSU On the Record’ demystifies state’s first governor (+VIDEO)

Unraveling the myths and legends surrounding one of Tennessee’s founding fathers was the focus of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with MTSU alumnus and historian Gordon T. Belt first aired Aug. 25 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Gordon T. Belt

Gordon T. Belt

Belt and his wife, MTSU alumna and historian Traci Nichols-Belt, are co-authors of “John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Governor.”

The book explores Sevier’s leadership in a battle against British loyalists at Kings Mountain, his reputation as an Indian fighter and his formation of the state of Franklin, the predecessor to the state of Tennessee, out of lands belonging to North Carolina.

“A lot of what we know, or what we think we know, about him is wrapped up in these embellishments written by men who were respected,” Belt said.

“The true essence of this man, I think, has yet to be revealed. There’s so much about him we know, and there’s so much we don’t know.” 

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

A video clip of the interview may been seen below.