College Wall of Fame inducts three prestigious alumni

Three accomplished alumni were inducted into the College of Media and Entertainment’s Wall of Fame on Friday, April 20, during the annual awards ceremony held in the Student Union Ballroom.

Alumni Martha Irwin Earls (’89), Adam J. Mills (’03) and Michelle Duke (’94) took their place among an already impressive list of media and recording industry leaders.


Martha Earls

Martha Irwin Earls, who graduated with a recording industry degree in 1998, was still an MTSU student when she was hired at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, where she ultimately guided the careers of Little Big Town, ACM winner David Vincent Williams, Grammy winner Jim Collins, Wendell Mobley, Randy Scruggs, BMI Songwriter of the Year Vicky McGehee and more.  The central Pennsylvania native then joined BMG Music Publishing where she had a hand in signing Jake Owen and Chuck Wicks. She worked with BMI songwriter of the Year Ed Hill, Grammy winner Marcus Hummon and multi-hit writer and MTSU alumnus Luke Laird.  In 2008, with longtime friend and fellow MTSU alumnus Mike Molinar, Earls started Elevation Music Publishing and in 2011 started publishing and artist management company Effusion Entertainment, now Big Machine Music Publishing. Earls then joined Sandbox Management and in 2015 embarked on her own while managing artists signed to Curb and Big Machine. At that time, Earls also began a consultancy for DigSin label and management, where she met the unsigned artist Kane Brown. In September 2015, Earls became Brown’s full-time manager. The multiplatinum, #1 selling artist, signed to Sony Music Nashville, is currently one of the country format’s most impactful new artists. Earls has guided his career from social media phenomenon, through his record breaking album debut, to being the only artist in history to simultaneously top all five Billboard Country charts.


Adam Mills

Adam J. Mills graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in mass communication (radio and television concentration) and a B.A. in French in 2003. Shortly after graduation, he won an Emmy Award for his work as a producer on a news promotions campaign at WZTV Fox 17 in Nashville. In 2006 he founded his own company, High End TV, which became a premiere rental house for the newly born industry of “digital” cinema. His fledgling company shot the first commercial in Tennessee to air in high-definition television, and High End TV was the first company in Tennessee to build a high-definition video system, HD-1. Today, High End TV provides fly packs and mobile production trucks for a variety of projects across the country. Adam has served as director or engineer for IMAG (large-scale, live video projection), network broadcasts and theatrical releases for performers including Twenty One Pilots, Tim McGraw, TobyMac, Jacky Cheung, Penn & Teller, Newsboys, Billy Currington and Ariana Grande. As of 2018, he has received six Emmy Awards for Camera and Technical Achievement.

Duke Headshot13

Michelle Duke

Michelle Duke, who graduated from MTSU with a bachelor’s in journalism in 1994, is currently the vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF). In this role, she is responsible for setting strategic and tactical direction as well as developing and managing NABEF’s leadership initiatives. Duke developed the concept for the NABEF continuum of programs and created several successful initiatives including: The Leadership Development Program, the Technology Apprenticeship Program and the Connections Mentoring Program. In 2007, she began managing the NABEF Broadcast Leadership Training program. The program is designed to train executive-level broadcasters to purchase stations or move into more senior-level executive positions. Previously she held the position of vice president of Diversity and Development at the NABEF where she was responsible for the setting the strategic direction of NABEF’s diversity agenda. Before joining NABEF in January 2005, Duke was the Director of Leadership Programs for the Newspaper Association of America. She started her media career as a reporter for the now defunct afternoon daily The Nashville Banner. Duke has served on the national board of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, as the board chair of the Washington Literacy Center and as a board director and volunteer for numerous organizations.

The MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Wall of Fame began in 2000 as a way to honor successful mass-communication graduates and inspire current students to continue working toward their goals. Each of the college’s three departments submits an honoree for consideration each year, and the Wall of Fame ceremony then becomes a part of the college’s annual awards day for students in the School of Journalism, Department of Recording Industry and Department of Media Arts with scholarships and other honors.

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Categories: Alumni, Events, News

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