A college in Tennessee is getting a new dose of musical talent after Grammy Award-nominated recording artist and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard recently joined the staff.
Studdard, who famously won the second season of the hit singing competition TV show, has been hired to lead a series of musical master classes during the 2022 spring semester at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, according to a news release from the school.
"This is an opportunity to share all the wisdom that I've gained with young people and I'm so looking forward to it," he said. "I understand the importance of 'See it, be it,' and there are a lot of young people that want to be involved in the music industry that are music majors or theater majors or just in the arts, in general, and they really don't know what that looks like in a real way."
His journey to teaching began when he sang a rendition of the National Anthem before a UTC football game in October, News Channel 9 reports. During his trip to the city, he had dinner with a group that included Stuart Benkert, the head of the Performing Arts department, who eventually offered him a chance to teach students more about the industry.
"As head of the department, how could you not want to bring in somebody like him to work with our students? I realized that he has the heart of a teacher and it would be a shame not to let that become part of who he is," said Benkert. He added, "This will be a really good way for him to start working with our students. He has a lot of traditional training, and he'll be able to teach a wide range of styles."
According to the university, Studdard's new role will also include working with the UTC Singing Mocs, a group that specializes in contemporary singing styles like vocal jazz and a cappella.
"In my opinion, this is the first part of a long-lasting relationship," said Benkert. "We're just going to take it one step at a time."