Mass Comm’s ‘Wall of Fame’ grows by 5 distinguishe...

Mass Comm’s ‘Wall of Fame’ grows by 5 distinguished names

Three accomplished alumni and a pair of “Friends of the College” have been added to the growing roster of the College of Mass Communication’s Wall of Fame at MTSU.

Carrie Dierks

Dean Roy Moore announced April 20 at a special ceremony that alumni Carrie Dierks, Luke Laird and Mikki Rose will be honored with plaques and photos installed on the northwest interior wall of the Bragg Mass Communication Building.

Also being recognized are Friends of the College Dale and Lucinda Cockrell of the University’s Center for Popular Music.

The Wall of Fame began in 2000 as a way to both honor successful mass-communication graduates and inspire current students to continue working toward their goals. Each year, each of the college’s departments solicits nominees from faculty, chooses an honoree and submits his or her name to the dean. The Wall of Fame ceremony then becomes a part of the college’s annual Awards Day for students.

Making special note of this academic year’s developments, which included the launches of MTSU’s new $1.4 million Mobile Production Lab and new Center for Innovation in Media, Moore told attendees at today’s event that “the students in this college have seen it change and grow in wonderful ways.

“And thanks to private giving (from alumni and others) to the college, we will be able to award 68 students more than $35,000 in scholarships,” the dean added.

After recognizing students from across the college for academic and professional accomplishments, the Wall of Fame honorees were introduced.

Luke Laird

Dierks (B.S. ’99), an alumna of the School of Journalism and a Chattanooga native, graduated magna cum laude from MTSU and worked in sports publishing, marketing for a Fortune 150 company, and media design before becoming vice president for B2B operations for True North Custom Media, a full-service media-marketing firm.

Laird (B.S. ’01), an alumnus of the Department of Recording Industry and a native of Conneaut Lake, Pa., is the writer of nine No. 1 Billboard country hits, including Carrie Underwood’s “So Small,” “Last Name,” “Temporary Home” and “Undo It, ” Blake Shelton’s “Hillbilly Bone,” Sara Evans’s “A Little Bit Stronger,” Rodney Atkins’s “Take a Back Road,” Eric Church’s “Drink in my Hand” and Chris Young’s “You.” He was named Billboard’s No. 3 Hot Country Songwriter of 2011.

Mikki Rose

Rose (B.S. ’05), a Murfreesboro native and an alumna of the Department of Electronic Media Communication, earned dual undergraduate degrees in mass communication and computer science at MTSU.

She began working in technical animation in Los Angeles, contributing to “Alvin & the Chipmunks,” “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and the Academy Award-winning “The Golden Compass” before joining Sony Pictures Imageworks to work on “Alice in Wonderland,” “Arthur Christmas” and “Hotel Transylvania” as cloth and hair technical director.

Lucinda Cockrell and Dale Cockrell sit with a mosaic of items from the Center for Popular Music's archive collection. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The Cockrells, the 2012 “Friends of the College,” have loved, preserved and shared music for decades via Dale’s doctorate in musicology and Lucinda’s degree in historic preservation.

In addition to their work as director and assistant director, respectively, of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, the Cockrells founded, own and operate Pa’s Fiddle Recordings LLC, a recording, scholarly and educational project built around the great American music embedded in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

One of the largest communication programs in the nation, the MTSU College of Mass Communication offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas—ranging from journalism to digital media and media management to recording industry management—and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

— Gina E. Fann (