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Middle Tennessee State University Unveils ‘Chris Young Café’

He's giving back to his hometown alma mater.

Written by Chris Parton
Middle Tennessee State University Unveils ‘Chris Young Café’
Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student, talks about his decision to support the creation of a new live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus, as President Sidney A. McPhee looks on. (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)

Country star and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native Chris Young is lending his name (and pocketbook) to his hometown alma mater, with Middle Tennessee State University unveiling the new “Chris Young Café.”

The newly renovated live music venue features 3,200-square-foot space and two stages in the heart of campus, and will be used as a proving ground for Recording Industry students learning the ins and outs of booking, promoting and managing shows. Located in a standalone dining building and surrounded by residence halls, the Chris Young Café will serve as a practice place for student performers and technicians during the day, and a performance venue at night for music, radio broadcasts, comedy and other entertainment.

“MTSU will always hold a special place in my heart,” Young said during an event Tuesday (July 9) at the Country Music Association’s Nashville headquarters, just a few miles up the road. “It helped me launch my music career and I’m glad for the opportunity to give back to the University.”

Young attended MTSU in 2005, and since 2016 has funded an annual scholarship for Recording Industry students. He also donated a selection of his touring audio equipment in 2012, and has now given $50,000 to renovate the café.

The new Chris Young Café will occupy the building formerly known as the Cyber Café on the MTSU campus. Surrounded by residence halls, it will be a teaching and practice place for student performers and technicians during the day and a performance venue at night for music, radio broadcasts, comedy and other entertainment. (MTSU rendering)
The new Chris Young Café will occupy the building formerly known as the Cyber Café on the MTSU campus. Surrounded by residence halls, it will be a teaching and practice place for student performers and technicians during the day and a performance venue at night for music, radio broadcasts, comedy and other entertainment. (MTSU rendering)

“The Chris Young Café will encourage our students to dream bigger,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “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.”

“His generosity will allow our students to gain real-world, hands-on experience in performing and live sound,” added Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel. “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.”

Young’s current single is the deeply emotional “Drowning,” and he has plans to release a new duet with Lauren Alaina titled “Town Ain’t Big Enough” on Friday. His Raised On Country Tour is ongoing.

Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student (second from right), joins President Sidney A. McPhee (second from left), Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson (right) and Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel (left) to announce the Chris Young Café, a live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)
Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student (second from right), joins President Sidney A. McPhee (second from left), Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson (right) and Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel (left) to announce the Chris Young Café, a live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)
Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student (right, back), looks on as President Sidney A. McPhee and other university officials unveil the concept rendering for the Chris Young Café, a live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)
Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student (right, back), looks on as President Sidney A. McPhee and other university officials unveil the concept rendering for the Chris Young Café, a live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)
Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student, talks with Recording Industry department chair Beverly Keel about his continued support of his alma mater. (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)
Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student, talks with Recording Industry department chair Beverly Keel about his continued support of his alma mater. (MTSU Photo by J Intintoli)