Tennessee's center of population is located in Murfreesboro. The city is sometimes called a suburb or exurb of Nashville, but its distance (35 miles away) and its population (86,693) are enough to distinguish Murfreesboro from its big city neighbor. One of the fastest growing cities in the country, the town's population grew by 50% from 1999 to 2000.
Murfreesboro is home to Middle Tennessee State University, the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee. MTSU is primarily known for its education and nursing programs, but has recently gained recognition for its Business, Aerospace, Mass Communication/Recording Industry, and Music/Music Business programs. The university is one of the top employers in Murfreesboro, second only to the Rutherford County government.
Notable sites in the city include the Stones River National Battlefield—the site of a fierce Civil War battle in which the Confederates ceded Middle Tennessee to the Union; the Stones River Greenway Arboretum, which contains flora species native to the area; and the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring—a nature center and wetlands boardwalk near downtown Murfreesboro.