Career Readiness Initiative Gets a Major Boost

MSUFCU awards $750,000 to Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence Program.

$5.5 million from the MSU Federal Credit Union was given to MSU to help create new opportunities for community members to engage in the arts, business and science, from which $750,000 was allotted to the College of Music.
Running Start is MSU’s multi-disciplinary program that helps equip students for life as a working musician in the 21st century. Running Start prepares students to creatively channel their passions into vibrant careers.


The Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) has awarded the MSU College of Music $750,000 to fund a new signature artist-in-residence program focused on entrepreneurship in the musical arts.

The MSUFCU gift will advance the Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence (EMAR) program and its mission to support a culture of entrepreneurship within the College by providing music majors the opportunity to learn from and network with successful, progressive artists. Cutting-edge, crossover artists and ensembles will come to MSU for multiple-day residencies to engage with students through master classes, workshops, public concerts and special performances. Students across campus can also participate in activities and learn entrepreneurial skills.

“The generous support of the MSUFCU makes it possible for us to continue to advance our forward-thinking career readiness initiatives by providing opportunities for students to engage with high-caliber guest artists and educators who are innovative in the marketplace,” says James Forger, dean of the College of Music. “The Credit Union’s generosity further strengthens our priority to give students a running start toward their careers by equipping them with the entrepreneurial skills they need to navigate music careers in the 21st century.”

Entrepreneurs in the making

Director of Career Services and Music Entrepreneurship Christine Beamer agrees that MSUFCU’s support is key to strengthening and sustaining the College’s entrepreneurial vision. The endowment, she says, will enable faculty and staff to attract leading artists and arranging vibrant residencies that complement the Running Start music entrepreneurship program.

“This program has the potential to be a game-changer for the MSU College of Music and our community,” she says. “The concerts and performances associated with the program will further define Greater Lansing as a hub of cultural activities, and connect us to surrounding communities.”

The EMAR program, Beamer says, will take the shape of immersive experiences where students can learn from artists and thought leaders whose innovative careers are redefining relationships between musicians, communities, the music industry and audiences. Students, too, will have the chance to examine and explore career choices by performing, interacting and networking with visiting artists.

“Ideally, the residency program will be integrated into all our curriculum so students from any musical discipline can participate,” Beamer says. “We’re also looking at ways to build partnerships so students from other colleges and communities can attend workshops, too.”

Beamer foresees the College bringing in one to two nationally recognized artists to campus each year. The defining characteristic, she says, are artists who have merged non-traditional and traditional elements to redefine musical experiences and careers.

“We want our students to see that an entrepreneurial mindset is of value whatever path you take,” she says. “The program is all about making the MSU College of Music synonymous with a place that fosters top-of-the-line talent, blazing new frontiers.”

Visionary support

This award is part of a $5.5 million donation to Michigan State University from the MSUFCU to support 10 University programs over the course of five years. Besides the College of Music, other areas benefitting from this gift include the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Broad College of Business, College of Arts & Letters, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, College of Social Science, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Science Gallery, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, and WKAR. 

“We’re proud to support the MSU College of Music as they prepare student musicians for successful, life-changing careers in the arts,” says April Clobes, president and CEO of the MSU Federal Credit Union. “All of us here at the MSU Federal Credit Union are committed to helping people achieve their dreams.”

The MSUFCU Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence program represents the second Empower Extraordinary Campaign gift from the MSUFCU to the College of Music. In 2013, the MSUFCU documented a $1 million commitment to establish the MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program. From its inaugural 2013-14 season through 2016-17, a total of 16 artists have participated in the residency delivering workshops, concerts, events and outreach to more than 27,332 students and adults in communities across Michigan.

To find out more about the MSUFCU Entrepreneurial Artist in Residence Program and other entrepreneurial, career-readiness initiatives through the MSU College of Music, contact Christine Beamer, Director of Career Services and Music Entrepreneurship at beamerch@msu.edu or 517-432-7371.

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