Kent State Alumnus Leads Planning for 50th Anniversary Commemoration of May 4, 1970

As the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings approaches, the work of developing a yearlong commemoration that honors the legacy of the past while setting a course for the future is in the hands of Rodney Flauhaus, Kent State University’s new May 4 Commemoration project manager.

Mr. Flauhaus, in many ways, has been preparing for the task for decades.

As a Kent State student, he joined the May 4 Task Force in 1983 and served as its president in 1985, when the university marked the 15th anniversary of the shootings that killed four students and wounded nine others.

During his time on the task force, the group played an instrumental role in lobbying former Kent State President Michael Schwartz and the Board of Trustees to approve the process for establishing the May 4 Memorial, Mr. Flauhaus says.

During the 1999-2000 academic year, Mr. Flauhaus, then a human resources and marketing consultant working in the Cleveland area, returned to campus to serve as a consultant for the committee planning the 30th anniversary commemoration.

Mr. Flauhaus says when Kent State advertised the job of a full-time project manager for the 50th anniversary, he felt called to apply for the position. 

“May 4th is an incredible event in history, and it’s very close to my heart,” he says.

The university hired Mr. Flauhaus as a full-time employee for the job, which ends in late 2020.

Mr. Flauhaus, 55, of Streetsboro, graduated from Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications in 1986. He later received a master’s degree from the University of Akron in organizational communications.

The May 4 Commemoration will take place over the 2019-2020 academic year, culminating in three days of speakers and programming from May 2-4, 2020, he says.

A Dover, Ohio native, Mr. Flauhaus, has been on the job since January, and he says he has spent past 11 months “planning, listening, gathering input and developing a framework for the overall plan for the 50th.”

For more information about the 50th Commemoration of May 4, visit

POSTED: Thursday, November 8, 2018 01:34 PM
UPDATED: Monday, May 27, 2024 09:29 PM
Lisa Abraham