Doug Howard, a longtime music industry executive, recently announced his retirement as dean of Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, effective Aug. 31. Howard, who has held the role of dean since January 2015, is a proud Belmont alumnus and a shining example of the entertainment industry success the Curb College fosters.
Belmont President Dr. Greg Jones said, “This news is certainly bittersweet. Doug Howard has always represented this University well as an alum, serving as a transformational leader during his decades in the music business. For the past seven years, he brought that same passion, energy and creativity to developing students who can forge their own paths in a variety of entertainment and media ventures. I’m grateful for his service and his leadership and wish him all the best in a well-deserved retirement.”
The former senior vice president of A&R for Lyric Street Records/Walt Disney Company, Howard graduated from Belmont College in 1979 before receiving an MBA from Vanderbilt University and JD from the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C. His history in the Nashville music scene began as a song plugger and studio manager for the Welk Music Group. Following law school, Howard served as vice president and general manager for PolyGram Music Publishing for five years before becoming the senior vice president of A&R for Disney owned Lyric Street Records. In addition, he served as senior vice president and general manager for Disney Music Publishing/Nashville.
His tenure as Curb College dean has been marked by the college’s significant growth, a deepening of industry connections, the opening of a state-of-the-art facility and consistent national acclaim. Through the generosity of Mike and Linda Curb and the Curb Family Foundation, the presence of the Curb College has continued to grow on Nashville’s famed Music Row through facilities like the Quonset Hut and Columbia Studio A (34 Music Square East). Thanks to an in kind Curb Family Foundation donation, these historic spaces—the birthplace of countless legendary hits from artists such Bob Dylan, Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and more—now serve as a resource and inspiration for a new generation of industry leaders. Music production and audio engineering students are able to gain hands-on experience in the classic recording studios, and the 34 Music Square East facility also houses Curb College’s renowned songwriter program, which is celebrating its 15th year.
Consistently recognized by Billboard and Variety as one of the top schools in the country for music business and film studies, the Curb College has grown from just under 2,000 students to more than 2,500 during Howard’s tenure, while moving into the $87 million Milton & Denice Johnson Center. The building boasts $3.6 million in technology resources and specialized equipment to serve students majoring in Curb College fields: audio engineering technology, creative & entertainment industries, emerging media, film & TV writing, journalism, media production, music business, songwriting, motion pictures and publishing. Of particular note, the facility is equipped with Dolby Atmos Rendering Unit (Dolby RMU) that allows faculty to teach the process of creating and compiling movies in full Dolby Digital, 7.1 and the Atmos DCP formats. Belmont’s Motion Pictures program was the first university-based film program in the country capable of not only showing commercial films, but also teaching the process of developing and producing theater-ready films in the Atmos format.
“Since I first walked across campus in the fall of 1975 to interview with music business program founder Bob Mulloy, I have loved Belmont, and I will always love Belmont,” Howard said. “While I’m excited and ready for this next phase of life, I must express how grateful I am for the support I received from Belmont’s senior leaders and share my sincere appreciation for the great work of our amazing faculty and staff. Their combined efforts have allowed the Curb College to provide world-class programs for our students and to build upon the strong foundation created by Mr. Mulloy and so many others across the university.”
Howard will continue to maintain his Belmont ties by returning to serve as a member of the Curb College Advisory Board this fall.
Belmont Interim Provost Dr. David Gregory added, “As dean of the Curb College, Doug has continuously demonstrated his commitment to our students by providing them exceptional learning experiences in and out of the classroom. He achieved this through tireless support of his faculty and staff, while his deep connections and strong reputation in the industry opened doors to tremendous opportunities for the entire college. I’m thankful to call him a colleague and friend. The good news for us is this isn’t a goodbye—rather, we’re grateful his impact will still be felt through his contributions to the Curb College Advisory Board.”
Dr. Sarita Stewart, associate professor of creative & entertainment industries, has agreed to serve as the interim dean for the Curb College as Belmont launches a national search this fall for Howard’s successor.