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Center for Innovation in Media

Cornerstone Donor: Beverly Keel

Beverly Keel
Dean, MTSU College of Media & Entertainment

Beverly Keel is dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, as well as a women’s rights activist and an award-winning music journalist whose work has appeared in PeopleParadeThe Tennessean, and many other publications.  

In 2014, she joined forces with Tracy Gershon and Leslie Fram to create Change the Conversation, which has become an influential movement in the area of gender equality in country music. In 2020, she became a co-founder and secretary of Nashville Music Equality. In 2020, Billboard named her one of its national change agents for her work in social justice.

Forbes included her on its national list of “40 Women to Watch Over 40”, a group of innovative women recognized for disrupting industry and society. She was inducted into the Source Hall of Fame for female music leaders in 2019. She served as an executive producer of the TV show Iconic Women of Country in 2020.

She also serves as publicist for Jamey Johnson and has been a consultant for various projects and artists, such as Allison Krauss, Lionel Richie, and Scotty McCreery. She has hosted album-launch events for artists including Don Henley and Barry Gibb.

She has been a professor at MTSU since 1995 and was previously chair of the Department of Recording Industry. She returned to MTSU in 2013 after a leave of absence to serve as senior vice president of artist and media relations for Universal Music Group Nashville, where she was responsible for the media campaigns for artists including Lionel Richie, Vince Gill, Sugarland, Shania Twain, George Strait, and many more.

A former music industry columnist for the Nashville Scene and Nashville Banner newspapers, her journalism has received awards from the Associated Press and the Association of American Newsweeklies. She received the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism for her work as a columnist at The Tennessean. She is also the past president of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US.

A graduate of Leadership Music, Leadership Middle Tennessee, and Leadership Nashville, she is on the boards of the Country Music Association, The Recording Academy, YWCA, the W. O. Smith School of Music, Owl’s Hill Sanctuary, and I’ll Fly Away Foundation. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Popular Music Studies and a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Keel has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Nashville Music Business’s Women in Music City Awards, where she was recently honored for the seventh consecutive year. She was inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2015 and named one of the YWCA’s 2016 Academy for Women of Achievement honorees. She was included in 2016’s annual Music City Impact Report by Variety magazine, which profiles the top artists and executives in Nashville entertainment today.

A Nashville native, she earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication from MTSU and her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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College of Media and Entertainment
M.S. in Mass Comm Program
Department of Recording Industry
Department of Media Arts
School of Journalism and Strategic Media
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Val Hoeppner, Director

Anna Waggoner, Administrative Coordinator