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Festivities honor late Nashville Scene editor Ridl...

Festivities honor late Nashville Scene editor Ridley, endow MTSU memorial scholarship

A special music-, food-, film- and fun-filled celebration Friday, July 14, honored the late Nashville Scene editor and acclaimed MTSU alumnus Jim Ridley, while also raising roughly $10,000 in funds for a memorial scholarship for young journalism hopefuls, organizers said.

From left, MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, MTSU School of Journalism student and first Jim Ridley Memorial Scholarship recipient David Chamberlain, and Nashville mayor Megan Barry pose for a photo at the Friday, July 14, celebration fundraiser in Nashville to benefit Ridley’s scholarship fund. (Photo by Eric England/The Nashville Scene)

“Siren 2: A Special Evening of Film and Music Celebrating Jim Ridley” was held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at White Avenue Studio, located at 2517 White Ave. in Nashville’s Melrose neighborhood.

The evening featured rare 16mm film footage, a musical performance by Kurt Wagner of Lambchop, a silent auction, and special guests discussing Ridley’s impact on and legacy for the community. Among the special guests was Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

All proceeds from the event went to the Jim Ridley Memorial Scholarship in the School of Journalism in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. With Friday’s fundraising, the Ridley scholarship is now permanently endowed, said Abby White, CME development director and event emcee.

MTSU, which added Ridley to the College of Media and Entertainment’s “Wall of Fame” in April 2015, established a scholarship honoring him last fall, recognizing his enthusiasm for mentoring and hiring young writers. The inaugural Jim Ridley Scholarship winner, MTSU senior David Chamberlain of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, attended Friday’s event and was announced by CME Dean Ken Paulson.

In a surprise presentation, Ridley’s widow, Alicia Adkerson, was presented a key to the city of Murfreesboro by City Councilman Rick LaLance. Also in attendance were Ridley and Adkerson’s young children, Katharine “Kat” Dillon Ridley and James A. “Jamie” Ridley VI.

From left, Alicia Adkerson, Jim Ridley’s widow and an MTSU alumna, poses with the Key to the City of Murfreesboro along with the couple’s children, Kat and Jamie Ridley, during the Friday, July 14, celebration fundraiser in Nashville to benefit Ridley’s scholarship fund through the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment. (Photo by Eric England/The Nashville Scene)

Jim Ridley, 50, a Murfreesboro native who earned his MTSU journalism degree in 1989, was involved in the arts and his community from his youth, writing movie and book reviews for local newspapers by age 13. His talent led to a freelance film-reviewing job for the Nashville Scene and regular contributions to The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, Variety and other publications.

College of Media and Entertainment logoThe Scene brought Ridley on full-time in 1994, and he rose to the positions of senior editor and managing editor before he was named editor in 2009, earning national awards and using his platform most successfully throughout his career to urge community support for Nashville’s historic Belcourt Theatre.

Ridley died April 8, 2016, after suddenly falling ill in his office at the Scene. The community quickly moved to support his family — his wife and their young children; his brother, filmmaker Read Ridley, and their father, James “Jim” Ridley IV — and immersed them in praise and thanks for his many kindnesses and years of service to Nashville and to journalism.

The Belcourt named its newly expanded lobby for Ridley when it reopened last July 22 and paid tribute to him with a subsequent special series of some of his favorite films, “Jewels and Jim: Ridley’s Believe It or Not.”

For more information about or to donate to the Jim Ridley Memorial Scholarship Fund, visit this site or contact Abby White, CME development director, at abby.white@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU School of Journalism alumnus Jim Ridley (Class of 1985) accepts an award commemorating his addition to the College of Media and Entertainment's Wall of Fame during an April 2015 ceremony in the university's James Union Building. Ridley, editor of the Nashville Scene, is being honored Friday, July 14, at a special memorial scholarship fundraising event. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU School of Journalism alumnus Jim Ridley (Class of 1985) accepts an award commemorating his addition to the College of Media and Entertainment’s Wall of Fame during an April 2015 ceremony in the university’s James Union Building. Ridley, the late editor of the Nashville Scene, is being honored Friday, July 14, at a special memorial scholarship fundraising event. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Murfreesboro City Council member Rick LaLance, right, presents the Key to the City of Murfreesboro to Alicia Adkerson, Jim Ridley’s widow and an MTSU alumnus, during the Friday, July 14, celebration fundraiser in Nashville to benefit Ridley’s scholarship fund through the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment. (Photo by Eric England/The Nashville Scene)


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