1929 - The College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts was created in 1929 after school superintendents, who were impressed with the teachers from Kent State, insisted that such a quality undergraduate education be available to their students who were interested in pursuing other careers. This resulted in a grassroots movement of service clubs, chambers of commerce, American Legion posts, and many civic organizations to bring a liberal arts college to northeast Ohio. The College was established with two objectives: to provide the opportunity for contact with a variety of fields of human knowledge necessary for general culture and to provide the opportunity for special study in the field of the student’s individual interest.

The Backbone of the University

Karl Leebrick, President of Kent State University from 1938-43, advocated that the College of Liberal Arts become, in his words, “the backbone of the university.” He reorganized the university into 3 colleges, liberal arts, education, and business, but insisted that the College of Liberal Arts hold the central position of the university.

1947 - Dr. Oscar Ritchie

In 1947, upon joining the Department of Sociology & Criminology, alumnus Dr. Oscar Ritchie became the first African-American appointed to a faculty position at any state university in Ohio.

1956 - The College of Arts & Sciences

In 1956, the College of Liberal Arts was renamed the College of Arts & Sciences and grouped into the Humanities, the Social Sciences, and the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Currently, the College of Arts and Sciences houses 16 departments and 3 schools.

1965 - The Liquid Crystal Institute

In 1965, chemistry professor Glenn H. Brown established the Liquid Crystal Institute. Two years later, an institute scientist invented the nematic liquid crystal twist cell, which paved the way for liquid crystal display technologies.

1971 - The Center for Peaceful Change

The Center for Peaceful Change, a response to the Kent State shootings of 1970, was established in 1971 "as a living memorial to the events of May 4, 1970." Now known as The School of Peace and Conflict Studies (SPCS), it developed one of the earliest conflict resolution undergraduate degree programs in the United States.

1976 - Department of Pan-African Studies

In 1976, the Department of Pan-African Studies, an academic program structured to provide in-depth study of African cultures, as well as exposure to important issues facing African-Americans, was founded.

1994 - Research University II

In 1994, Kent State joined the ranks of the nation's top institutions of higher learning when it received a Research University II designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Today it is classified as a Doctoral/Research University-Extensive.

Dr. Owen Lovejoy - Lucy and Ardi

Distinguished Professor of Human Evolutionary Studies, C. Owen Lovejoy, has helped reconstruct and analyze two of the earliest and most famous human ancestors, Lucy (Australopithecus) and Ardi (Ardipithecus). In particular, his work has traced the development of upright walking. By connecting the dots between that key physical change and shifts in social behavior and reproductive success, he overturned accepted theories of how humans got their two-legged gait.

2013 - May 4 Visitors Center

In 2013, the university opened a world-class, multimedia May 4 Visitors Center that places the events of May 4, 1970, in historical, political and social context.

Moving Forward

As we continue the next 85 years of delivering a liberal arts education, the College remains dedicated to the pursuit of human excellence. We continue to devote our lives to educating a person rather than training a worker. As a College, we take our role as the backbone of this university very seriously. We thank you for your interest in the College of Arts and Sciences.