Kent State Receives State Historic Preservation Award for Preserving May 4 History and Site

The events of May 4, 1970, placed Kent State University in an international spotlight after a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the Ohio National Guard ended in tragedy with four students losing their lives and nine others being wounded. From a perspective of nearly 50 years, Kent State remembers the tragedy and leads a contemporary discussion and understanding of how the community, nation and world can benefit from understanding the profound impact of the event. Those efforts to preserve the history and site of May 4 have been honored again.


The Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office Awards has recognized Kent State with a 2018 Public Education and Awareness Award. Along with the university, the award recognizes seven members of the Kent State community who were instrumental in placing an Ohio Historical Marker at the May 4 site, the development of the May 4 walking tour of the site, the creation of the May 4 Visitors Center, and the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark nominations. The seven individuals recognized are Laura Davis, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English and founding director of Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center; Mark Seeman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Anthropology; Bradley Keefer, Ph.D., associate professor of history; Mindy Farmer, Ph.D., director of the May 4 Visitors Center; Lori Boes, assistant director of the May 4 Visitors Center; Jerry M. Lewis, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sociology; and Carole Barbato, Ph.D. (honored posthumously), Professor Emerita of Communication Studies.


“The Public Education and Awareness Award recognizes Kent State University’s important efforts to respect, interpret, foster greater public awareness and understanding, and preserve the history and site associated with the May 4, 1970, Kent State Shootings,” says Barbara Powers, department head for inventory and registration at the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office. “While the tragic events of May 4, 1970, are a distinct moment in history, the preservation and educational activities accomplished by Kent State University can serve as a model for other organizations and communities, by illustrating how to recognize and interpret history in a dignified manner, particularly for a history that may be difficult or uncomfortable to remember and convey.”


Dr. Farmer was among those who traveled to the Ohio History Center in Columbus, on Nov. 10 to accept the award.


“While the events of May 4, 1970, made international news, here in Ohio it is still a local story,” Dr. Farmer says. “That’s why it is such an honor to be recognized for our work by our peers at Ohio History Connection and the Ohio Preservation Office. And, on a more personal level, it is great to be among such amazing company as Mark, Jerry, Laura, Lori, Brad and the late Carol Barbato.”


Plans are already underway at Kent State for the 50th commemoration of the events of May 4, 1970, with a yearlong observance that will begin the fall of 2019 and continue until May 4, 2020. For more information about the 50th Commemoration of May 4, visit


The Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office is Ohio’s official historic preservation agency. It identifies historic places in Ohio; nominates properties to the National Register of Historic Places; reviews federally assisted projects for effects on historic, architectural and archaeological resources in Ohio; certifies local government historic preservation programs and administers grants to them; consults on conservation of older buildings and sites; and offers educational programs and publications.


The Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, is a statewide history organization with the mission to spark discovery of Ohio’s stories. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization chartered in 1885, the Ohio History Connection carries out history services for Ohio and its citizens focused on preserving and sharing the state’s history. This includes housing the state historic preservation office, the official state archives and the local history office. The Ohio History Connection also manages more than 50 sites and museums across Ohio. For more information about the Ohio History Connection, visit

POSTED: Friday, December 7, 2018 01:00 PM
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 16, 2024 10:46 AM