Mike Curb Institute for Music To Be Established at Rhodes


Publication Date: 10/6/2006

(l-r) Panelists Eddie Ray, Dr. Timothy Sharp, and Mike Curb

Rhodes College President William E. Troutt has announced the establishment of The Mike Curb Institute for Music to be housed at Rhodes College. The Institute is being created through a $5 million donation from the Mike Curb Family Foundation to foster awareness and understanding of the distinct musical traditions of the South and to study the impact of music on its culture, history and economy. Mike Curb is chairman of Nashville-based Curb Records and a former California Lieutenant Governor. With over 40 years in the industry as a songwriter and producer, he is one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment world today and has made generous investments in higher education.

“This news is another major milestone on our road toward achieving our Vision for Rhodes,” says Troutt. “Three years ago our Board of Trustees adopted our Vision for Rhodes which set us on a clear course to graduate students with the ability to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action in their communities and the world.”

The announcement was made October 5 at the arts leadership conference presented by Rhodes’ Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA). CODA Director Timothy Sharp, Curb, and Eddie Ray, Curb’s mentor and a veteran music industry executive, participated on a panel at the conference titled “Preserving the Tennessee Music Miracle.” Curb’s wife Linda also was in attendance.

A primary objective of the Curb Institute is to provide undergraduate research opportunities that go beyond the gates of the campus. With faculty guidance, students will assist Rhodes and other institutions in preserving archival materials as well as accumulating and developing primary resources of oral interviews, recordings, instruments and historical printed programs. Resources of partner institutions also will be brought to bear in addressing the study of the impact of music on the region.

“We envision partnerships with Stax Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Blues Foundation, and Fisk, Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities in Nashville where Curb Foundation initiatives are already under way,” says Troutt. “Mike chairs the Mike Curb Family Foundation, which supports music education and works to restore historic music industry locations. Most of his good works to date have benefited the Nashville area, but today’s gift celebrates his appreciation for the contributions of our region’s music to the world.”

Curb has written more than 400 songs and received countless music industry awards including the Producer of the Year Award from Billboard magazine in 1972. He has produced number one hits including “Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr., “I’m Leavin’ It All Up To You” by Donny & Marie Osmond, “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone, and “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes. His roster of recording artists also includes The Judds, Tim McGraw, Hank Williams Jr., and Lyle Lovett. In 2006, Curb received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th annual Los Angeles Music Awards.