Published: April 24, 2006

MSU to present 'A Conversation With Legendary Motown Founder Berry Gordy' May 4


 “A Conversation With Legendary Motown Founder Berry Gordy”


6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 4 (Gordy also will give the keynote address at undergraduate convocation at 1 p.m. Friday, May 5, at the Breslin Center at the corner of Kalamazoo and Harrison on the Michigan State University campus.)


Pasant Theatre, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Wilson Road at Bogue Street, Michigan State University


Free and open to the public. Free parking available at Wharton Center.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The sounds and insights of Motown music will be part of the May 4-5 visit to Michigan State University by Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records.

Gordy will be the keynote speaker at undergraduate convocation at 1 p.m. Friday, May 5, at the Breslin Center, where he will receive an honorary doctor of humanities degree. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

In addition, MSU is hosting “A Conversation With Legendary Motown Founder Berry Gordy” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 4, in the Pasant Theatre at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts.

Rodney Whitaker, associate professor of music, will join Gordy in discussion of the social, cultural and musical impacts of Motown. Michael Mazzeo, associate dean of the Eli Broad College of Business, will be on hand to talk about the business aspects of Gordy’s achievements.

The evening will begin with a special performance of Motown music by the MSU Professors of Jazz, led by Whitaker. A question-and-answer session will follow the conversation.

Admission and parking at Wharton will be free. For a map, directions and other visitor information, go to

“Motown music provided an unmistakable soundtrack to an era of monumental change in our country, indeed internationally. But the story of Motown goes far beyond its historic role in pop culture; it is a saga of entrepreneurship and music’s ability to reflect and create social change,” said Terry Denbow, vice president for university relations. “MSU wanted to extend to the public the discussion of Motown’s contributions, and to offer a public performance of a special faculty-produced musical salute to Gordy and to Motown. Gordy is eager to share his story and his advice at the convocation and the Thursday evening event.”


Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 15 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.


From the archives