MTSU mourns loss of ‘friend’ and ‘patriot’ Charlie Daniels

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 23:43:31-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee State University joined many across the state and nation mourning the death of country music legend and longtime supporter of the school, Charlie Daniels.

In addition to his music, Daniels was also known for his giving spirit, which resulted in a special relationship with students and faculty at MTSU. The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center is named in honor of him and his wife. Daniels was a lifetime advocate for veterans and military members.

The center, which is in the middle of campus, enables around 1,100 student veterans each semester to have a one stop shop to meet a variety of academic needs. It is the largest and most comprehensive facility of its type in the nation. It aims to help current military, veterans and family members move from military service to college, and then from college to a successful career.

“It has been my privilege over the last five years to work closely with Charlie Daniels and his nonprofit organization, The Journey Home Project, in support of our veterans as they transitioned out of uniform,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, Senior Advisor for Veterans and Leadership Initiatives at MTSU. “Charlie's support will forever continue and live at MTSU as veterans and their precious military families nationwide seek the transition assistance of the center.”

“Charlie’s love of life and country was radiant and inspiring,” said Sidney A. McPhee, President of MTSU. “We at MTSU shall work every day to sustain and extend his legacy through the good works of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. “

Daniels was also a frequent visitor to campus, visiting Recording Industry classes and signing books he published.

“Charlie loved God, America, country music, his family, the U.S. military and the people of Tennessee,” said Beverly Keel, Dean of the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment. “He dedicated his time, talent and money to improving the lives of his neighbors and the soldiers he so admired. He was a big man with a larger-than-life personality and an even bigger heart.”

Daniels had been the featured host of the MTSU Veteran Impact Celebration, a fundraiser for the Daniels Center held in 2018 and 2019 that raised more than $300,000 total.

Also, in 2013, the International Entertainment Buyers Association established an MTSU scholarship in honor of Daniels with a $25,000 endowment.

During Daniels’ last appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in October of 2019, retired Lt. Gen. Huber, and Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller presented the singer with a MTSU football helmet adorned with a red, white and blue school logo.