Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center Presents the 2014 Symposium on Democracy

The lineup of guest speakers includes Ken Burns, famous documentarian.

Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center will present the 2014 Symposium on Democracy from April 22-24. The symposium is a three-day event featuring multiple speakers and events.

“This year’s Symposium on Democracy, ‘Voices of the American Experience,’ will bring together three key national figures, including celebrated American documentarian Ken Burns, to engage participants around issues of democracy, civic discourse and voice,” said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center and co-chair of the symposium.

Burns will give the keynote address, “Sharing the American Experience,” at the symposium on April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center as part of the Kent State Presidential Speaker Series. 

“Ken Burns is perhaps the most celebrated documentarian of our time,” Hassler said. “His body of work explores the American experience through the timeless lessons of history.”

Events on April 23 will feature a legislative theater workshop with Katherine Burke, a student poster exhibit and panel, a lecture by Shannon E. French, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University, and a dramatic reading of the play “May 4th Voices” by Cleveland actors in the Kent Student Center Kiva. On April 24, there will be a lecture and a reading by poet Martín Espada and an art exhibit of selected works from the May 4 Collection, curated by Victoria Bocchicchio, director of academic programs for the Honors College at Kent State.

The tragic events of May 4, 1970 at Kent State University had a profound impact on the university, the nation and the world. The Symposium on Democracy is part of Kent State’s commemoration of the May 4, 1970, events. The purpose of the Symposium on Democracy is to honor the memories of the four students who lost their lives on that day – Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder – with an enduring dedication to scholarship that seeks to prevent violence and to promote democratic values and civil discourse.

“I think that everyone – but students especially  – will be engaged on both an intellectual and emotional level throughout the symposium, and will be challenged to think about various key issues and the practice of democracy in our society,” Hassler said.

For more information and a complete schedule of this year’s symposium, visit


# # #

Photo Caption:
Filmmaker Ken Burns speaks at Kent State University on April 22 as part of the 2014 Symposium on Democracy and Presidential Speaker Series. (Photo credit: University of Texas at Arlington) 

Media Contacts:
David Hassler,, 330-672-1769
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Monday, April 14, 2014 04:35 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM
Emily Vincent