MTSU Returns to the 64th Annual Grammys

MTSU Faculty and students join Dean Beverly Keel and President McPhee on the red carpet at the Musicares Person of the Year Event in Las Vegas. Photo by Andrew Oppmann.

Story by Sam Long | Assistant Lifestyles Editor

Following a hiatus due to COVID-19, Middle Tennessee State University returned to the Grammys this past weekend! Originally an annual experience, the trip offers the opportunity to celebrate alumni nominees and provide students with career-building experiences.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee joined faculty, students and administrators from the colleges of Media and Entertainment and Liberal Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 64th annual Grammy Awards, where the rescheduled and relocated ceremony took place. This year’s awards were originally delayed by three months due to COVID-19, causing the event space to move away from Los Angeles for a safer, more open venue.

“I’m pleased that our annual recognition of our alumni Grammy nominees and this amazing student learning experience is back on track,” McPhee said. “It underscores our standing as a premier and accomplished music business institution.”

MTSU Recording Industry students at the MGM Grand Conference Center

Multiple Media and Entertainment students spent last Friday helping prepare the MGM Grand Conference Center for that night’s 31st annual MusiCares Person of the Year benefit gala. This year’s Person of the Year honored Joni Mitchell, who won a Grammy over the weekend for Best Historical Historical Album. The event raised money for the Recording Academy’s member charitable support efforts.

“Getting to go on this trip is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Jolie Harper, senior music business student. “I’m so thankful that MTSU has provided me with the chance to meet industry professionals, see Las Vegas and have an amazing experience with my peers — all at the same time.”

Beahler, a junior majoring in music business from Cosby, Missouri, said she was “so thrilled and thankful to be a part of this experience. I know I am going to learn so much on this trip.”

“Experiences like these help our students better understand the inner workings of major entertainment events,” Media and Entertainment College Dean Beverly Keel said. “We show them how many of the elements for the industry’s biggest event come together and how things get done.”

MTSU alumni writers and creators have been a part of more than 125 Grammy nominations in the last 20 years. The number of MTSU-connected Grammy winners since 2001 alone has risen to 15 with a total of 37 Grammys, including nine repeat recipients.

The school’s recognition is no surprise, however. In 2019, national news outlets began calling MTSU a “Grammy-winner factory” following multiple nominations and wins by alumni, students and staff from the Department of Recording Industry. The university still routinely makes Billboard’s list of top music business schools.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

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