Former Middle Tennessee State University student Chris Young returned to his hometown Wednesday, Jan. 27, for the grand opening of a MTSU learning lab and live entertainment venue that bears his name.
The Chris Young Cafe, a renovated cafeteria tucked amid MTSU dormitories alongside the university’s library, also features an eye-catching “Famous Friends” outdoor mural honouring influential MTSU graduates, former students and faculty, plus a new Tennessee Music Pathways marker unveiled at the ceremony to mark Young’s success.
Young, an RCA Nashville country artist and member of the Grand Ole Opry, helped cut the blue ribbon Jan. 27 in a socially distanced event to formally reveal the renovated facility on the campus where he spent time as an undergraduate student.
“So many things have happened in my career that I never expected, and really and truly, this Tennessee Music Pathways Marker is one of those things,” said Young. “I remember standing on this campus trying to write music, meeting other people that I’ve continued to work alongside in music, and I am absolutely blown away. It’s an incredible honor.”
“This is my hometown, and this (cafe) means the world to me,” Young continued. “Whether they are musicians, comedians, entertainers, people who want to learn how to engineer and produce, videographers, photographers, anything, I hope everyone finds a use for this space. I really hope everyone enjoys it. It’s just been an honor to be a small part of this.”
“Much like Chris himself, and the power of his music, this cafe will serve as a catalyst for bringing people together and building community,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee.
“The Chris Young Cafe will encourage our students to dream bigger. Every time they see his name on the cafe, their aspirations will seem a little more obtainable, if they follow in his footsteps and work as hard as he has.”