On Saturday, June 10th, we celebrated the graduation of our very first cohort of students in the Society Room of historic Detroit music venue, Saint Andrew’s Hall. Before the ceremony, graduating students processed from DIME through the streets of Detroit, alongside faculty and staff. They were welcomed at the doors by their families and guests before heading to the Saint Andrew’s stage for photographs.
The ceremony began with speeches from DIME Detroit’s Managing Director, Sarah Clayman, and President, Kevin Nixon. Kevin noted DIME’s commitment to the recognition of popular music in academia: “We’ve got many mountains to climb to see modern music academically recognized for the brilliance that it delivers. Let’s not wait until we lose heroes like David Bowie and Prince for the world to respect them for the work that they’ve done. Today we have 9 new professionals who will go out into the world and stand shoulder to shoulder with us on that quest.”
DIME’s Head of Education, Dr. Paul Schauert, reminded the graduates: “Make music that has an impact, make music that says something about the world in which we live. Make music that changes our world for the better. If you do this, you will certainly make your mark.” He concluded his speech by acknowledging the significance of DIME’s first graduating class. “You have forever made your mark on this institution, and now it’s time to make your mark on the world.”
Professor Geoff Smith, who is the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of DIME’s validating partner, Falmouth University, was also in attendance to present awards. During his keynote speech, Geoff praised the dedication of the students, and commended Kevin and Sarah’s “amazing lifelong commitment to helping young, creative talent make it’s mark.” He also celebrated DIME’s presence in the city of Detroit. “The institute is already part of the creative wave that’s spreading here, street by street, kickstarting the city’s creative rebirth.” On DIME students joining the Falmouth creative community, he said “Our alumni have built high-profile and rewarding creative careers around the world, and from today, we will be proud to count you amongst this company of our creative, connected, and courageous graduates.”
DIME valedictorian, Kiara Jackson, centered her speech around the theme of fearlessness: “From time to time, I receive messages from students and other Universal college reps asking me about my method or mindset to approaching certain things. The mindset is simple: Be fearless.” She continued, “In this industry you need to go for you want, and be unapologetic.” Kiara also thanked key members of the DIME faculty and staff, before making the highly anticipated announcement that she has accepted a position in New York City with Republic Records. A division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, Republic is home to an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning legends and superstar artists such as Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande, Florence + the Machine, among many others.
Institute Manager, Karl Middleton, concluded the ceremony by reminding the graduates that they are, “lifelong members of the DIME creative community. We are committed to supporting your continuing development as artists, performers and industry professionals beyond graduation.” He continued, “It has been our privilege to work with you over the last 3 years, and I look forward to seeing many of you return to DIME in the future as masterclass guests, instructors, and headline performers on The Underground stage.”
We are immensely proud of this group of young musicians, songwriters and entrepreneurs, who were the first students to begin their DIME journey when we opened in Capitol Park, 3 years ago. During their time at DIME, these students have blossomed into accomplished professionals, who are confident, experienced, and well prepared to embark on their careers in the music industry.
We will be in frequent communication with our alumni, and look forward to sharing their successes with the DIME community!