In 1909 the Tennessee Legislature enacted the General Education Bill that established three colleges in the state, including MTSU. The school’s official founding was in 1911 under the name Middle Tennessee Normal School, as a state college.
It began as a two-year training program for teachers that eventually evolved into a four-year college that granted Bachelors of Science. In 1936 the Bachelor of Arts program was added.
In 1965 the school advanced to university status and its name likewise changed, to Middle Tennessee State University. In 1986 James McGill Buchanan, class of 1940, received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, becoming the first MTSU alumnus to be awarded the honor.
Middle Tennessee State University sits on 466 acres east of downtown Murfreesboro. The school’s oldest building, Kirksey Old Main, is at the north end of the quad and features the red brick and white columns often seen on campus buildings.
The quad is the center of the campus and surrounding it are the school’s key historic buildings. West of it are Rutledge Hall, the James Union Building, and Lyon and Monohan Halls. To the east are Jones Hall, Todd Hall, the Wiser-Patten Science Hall/Davis Science Building, and Smith Hall. The campus is rectangular in shape, and borders the main Murfreesboro roads.
Newer structures include the Keathley University Center, Photography Building, Ned McWherter Learning Resources Center, John Bragg Mass Communications Building, and the campus’s newest building, the Paul W. Martin, Sr. Honors College.
Middle Tennessee State is essentially in the center of Tennessee (1.6 km from the state’s geographic center) in the town of Murfreesboro, which has been called one of the fastest growing cities in the country. MTSU is the largest state school in Tennessee and its presence has certainly helped shape the city’s overall character.
About 30 minutes southeast of Nashville, Murfreesboro offers bars and restaurants for students to visit but generally students say they like to get out and explore beyond the immediate area for entertainment. Nashville is close by, Chattanooga about an hour and a half away, and Atlanta is around three hours from the school. Murfreesboro is, however, one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Several MTSU traditions are Greek-sponsored events while others are student-organized. Every year the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity puts on Miss MTSU & Miss Middle Tennessee Blue Raider. It is a scholarship competition that crowns two winners to receive scholarships and is also a preliminary to the Miss American Scholarship Pageant.
Another fun Greek gradation is the NPHC Step Show, put on by the National Panhellenic Council. Held every Homecoming, people from all over Tennessee attend a step showcase put on by members of the Greek system and local high schools.
Another time-honored tradition is the Student Government Association’s Homecoming activities. It is a chance for all members of the MTSU community to celebrate their school and show off their Blue Raider Pride. The school is covered in blue and there is a banner competition, horseshoe competition, chili cook-off, parade, and pep rally.
Bill Boner (1967) is a former mayor of Nashville and US Congressman.
James M. Buchanan (1940) won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics.
George S. Clinton (1969) is a Hollywood composer best known for the music in the Austin Powers films.
Brice Long (1993) is a country music singer and songwriter.
Terry Weeks (1972) was the 1988 National Teacher of the Year of the Council of Chief State School Officers.
The MTSU Blue Raiders are a Division I team in the Sun Belt Conference. In 2001, their football program set the highest-scoring NCAA Division I-A football game in history when they defeated the University of Idaho 70-58. MTSU retained that record until 2003.
The women’s basketball team brings many fans out to their games. In the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 seasons they won the Sun Belt Conference and received a bid to the NCAA women’s tournament. They were defeated both seasons in the second round.
Popular intramurals at MTSU are basketball, dodgeball, football, soccer, and volleyball.
Muhammad Yunus, a former assistant professor of economics, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
MTSU has its own police force but is also under the Murfreesboro police’s jurisdiction.
Middle Tennessee State’s residence halls include Beaseley, Clement, Corlew, Cummings, Deere Felder, Gore, Gracy, Judd, Lyon, Miss Mary, McHenry, Monohan, Nicks, Reynolds, Rutledge, Schardt, Sims, Smith, Wood.