Country star Chris Young is giving back to his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee once again with a generous donation to his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). His $50,000 gift will transform the former Cyber Cafe into the Chris Young Cafe, a 3,200 square foot teaching and practice space for student performers and technicians during the day and a performance venue at night for music, radio broadcasts, comedy and other entertainment.
"The Chris Young Café will encourage our students to dream bigger," says MTSU president Sidney A. McPhee in a press release. "Chris studied at MTSU and then launched a successful music industry career, so every time they see his name on the café, their aspirations will seem a little more obtainable if they follow in his footsteps and work as hard as he has."
Young, an MTSU student in 2005, has funded an annual scholarship for recording industry students since 2016. In addition, he donated a selection of his touring audio equipment in 2012.
"MTSU will always hold a special place in my heart," Young says. "It helped me launch my music career and I'm glad for the opportunity to give back to the University."
The multi-use facility should benefit a wide range of students interested in participating in the music business.
"When you're teaching students how to manage, book and promote a concert hall, club or theater, having a working venue on campus is invaluable," says Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson.
Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel further praised Young in MTSU's press release.
"His generosity will allow our students to gain real-world, hands-on experience in performing and live sound," Keel says. "He is a wonderful role model for our students, not only because of his success, but because of his desire to continually give back and help others."
Earlier this year, Billboard listed MTSU among its annual list of America's top music business schools for a sixth time.