Koonce Hall remembers Judy Koonce

Judith Ellen Koonce is a significant icon in Kent State’s history and she holds a special place in the hearts of Koonce Hall’s staff and students. Judy Koonce was a 1957 Golden Flash graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science in Education becoming a teacher in Columbus at a junior high school after graduation. In the summer of 1958, Judy Koonce lost her life in a tragic accident. Judy was serving as a 4-H summer camp counselor when a child fell into the Little Miami River in Southwestern Ohio; Judy immediately and heroically jumped in as an attempt to rescue, but sadly the current of the river was too strong.

Judy Koonce’s memory lives on as the namesake of a residence hall in the Tri Towers complex at Kent State. Judith E. Koonce Hall, more commonly referred to as Koonce Hall, opened in 1968 and received a full renovation in 2014. Koonce Hall has the distinction of being the largest individual residence hall on campus as well as the only hall named in honor of a KSU student. Judy Koonce also received a Carnegie Medal for Heroism with a plaque displaying in the main Koonce Hall lobby and there is also a portrait of Judy gifted by Gamma Phi Beta which displays in the Koonce Hall staff office.

The Koonce Hall resident assistant staff, hall council members, and residents take a lot of pride in being a part of the Koonce community. The Koonce RA’s recently put on a birthday party celebrating Judy Koonce as she would have been 82 years old on April 17th, 2017. This birthday party was a big celebration as it was a time to not only celebrate Judy Koonce’s birthday, but also to celebrate the end of the year and a full year of living in Koonce Hall. Final exams are just a few weeks away, so this event was able to get residents out of their rooms, have a party, and reflect on the past year as a member of the Koonce community. This celebration included a birthday cake, balloons, sparkling juices, a photo booth, various activities, and treat bags of popcorn and M&M's. This was a well-attended event for the Koonce Hall community as numerous residents came to the Sky Lounge to celebrate Judy’s birthday and to celebrate the end of the year. Happy Birthday, Judy! The Koonce Hall community has had a wonderful year!