MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry is handing out a sweet new award — and rewards — this academic year to faculty and staff who help inspire students and colleagues.
In honor of recording industry Professor Emerita Marilyn Wood, who retired last year after 20 years at the university, new department chair Beverly Keel created the Marilyn Wood Award for Outstanding Department Contributions.
One deserving faculty member, secretary, advisor or technology staffer will receive $1,000 each April in gratitude for his or her positive contributions to the department. Throughout the year, faculty and staff will receive Hershey’s Kisses for “mini-Marilyns,” when they make a difference with a small gesture, or a large Hershey Bar for “major Marilyns,” when they make a significant contribution to the department.
A supersized candy bar will accompany the $1,000 annual award.
Keel noted that the award is called “the Marilyn” in much in the same way that the Academy Awards are called the Oscars. Wood was known for bringing bags of chocolate to faculty meetings — even dividing the treats into milk and dark chocolate according to her colleagues’ preferences — so Keel incorporated chocolate into this award.
“She is the supportive cheerleader who brightens everyone’s day,” Keel said during an Aug. 27 departmental meeting that included the award announcement. “She cares about the well-being of us all. I like to think of her as a walking hug.”
Keel told the faculty that the department had felt a real void since Wood’s retirement because she was not only one of the most beloved professors but also the loving heart of the Department of Recording Industry.
“I think it’s important that we ensure that Marilyn’s spirit and positive personality are carried on in the department,” Keel said. “Let’s find the inner Marilyn in all of us and help make this a department that always puts students first.”
The announcement was a surprise to Wood, who was lured to the meeting by her husband, Dr. Bob Wood, who still teaches in the program.
“Imagine my confusion and curiosity when it was requested that I attend a recording industry faculty meeting a year after I had retired,” Marilyn Wood said. “Then imagine my amazement at having a faculty/staff award established in my honor by the new recording industry chair! (I) was … very humbled by the conditions required to be selected for this award.
“I truly loved teaching and was so blessed to have the most wonderful faculty in recording industry surrounding me,” she continued. “When it was stated that my ‘spirit of joy and caring’ about my fellow faculty and staff members and my caring about our students was going to be recognized through this award, I could only respond in tears. What a wonderful, beautiful moment that I will treasure always.”
Marilyn Wood taught beginning and advanced musicianship classes for recording engineering students during her tenure as an associate professor at MTSU. She received the university’s 2001 Distinguished Creative Activity Award for her work as producer of the Nashville Children’s Choir CD, “The Music of our Life,” and for her choral and Orff-Schulwerk arrangements for children. She also was honored with the Outstanding Honors College Faculty Award in 2006.
Wood, a composer, arranger and music educator, is a specialist in Orff-Schulwerk education, which teaches children to become musicians through creative singing, playing instruments, speech and movement.
She earned a Master of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and is certified in Orff-Schulwerk through the master class level from the University of Memphis.
MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is one of the university’s signature departments and was featured in the Aug. 24 issue of Billboard’s annual look at music education.
The department is the only one of its kind in the nation to be housed in a college of mass communication. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations in music business, audio production and commercial songwriting, as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in recording arts and technologies.
Four former MTSU students — Brett Eldridge, Chris Young, Eric Paslay and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott — recently had simultaneous songs on a recent Billboard Country Airplay chart. More than a dozen MTSU alumni/former students and faculty have been nominated for Grammy Awards in the last three years, and seven have won Grammys.
Gina E. Fann, MTSU
News Content Manager, Office of News and Media Relations