Readers Respond

Fall/Winter 2020-21
Squirrel Search Winner Claire Pressler

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Claire Pressler, BA ’15, Lakewood, Ohio, who applied to the KSU Fall 2020 ABSN (Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, so she was back in school fall semester, taking two classes online and two hybrid. (Kent State’s accelerated second degree BSN for non-nurses is created for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and leads to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in as few as 15 months.)

She wrote, “The package made my day! I love everything. The card is staying on my desk all semester for good luck.” We wish her all the best as she prepares to help meet the huge need for nurses. 

The three black squirrels in the spring/summer 2020 issue are found in the top photo on page 9, greeting the Golden Flashes at the Tropical Smoothies Café Frisco Bowl; page 33, hanging out on Tom Batiuk’s drawing board; and page 36, attending the Kent State Men’s Soccer Alumni Reunion. Thanks to all who entered!


via Mail

Reflecting on May 4, 1970
I was at Kent from the fall of 1962 until the summer of 1970. (Although I was out of town on May 4, 1970.)

As I read John Mensch’s letter [spring/summer 2020, “Readers Respond,” page 2], I could not help but think that he and I attended different Kent States. He wrote of “a few sit-ins” and “a few demonstrations.” And he alluded to at least some by non-students.

I beg to disagree. The first demonstration against the Vietnam War was in the fall of 1964, and they were held weekly from then on. Maybe he didn’t remember that ROTC cadets were no longer required to wear their uniform once a week. They were getting too much criticism and comments from other students. Also, the weekly ROTC cadet assemblies had to be moved to the football stadium to avoid threatened actions by the SDS.

Or maybe he didn’t remember Bernardine Dohrn running around the Williams Hall lecture room topless, shouting SDS propaganda. Or Jerry Rubin’s speech of “Up Against the Wall ^%#+”

Mr. Mensch may have been gone when we had the major march in October 1969 with thousands of students and professors. (I was there.)

I remember Kent as a very politically active campus during the eight years I attended. And do not even get me started about the antagonism between the Kent police force and the students. It was not pretty.
Richard Schroer, BS ’66, PhD ’70
Colfax, NC

How can you devote the majority of a magazine on the May 4 Shootings without mentioning the “heroic” actions of Dr. Glenn Frank and the other professor who was with him? They stepped out in front of the Guard and kept them from firing a second volley. Many lives were possibly saved. Their actions should not be forgotten.
Noel Egensperger, BA ’65, MA ’71
Euclid, Ohio

Your spring/summer 2020 issue on May 4, 1970 was very good. Tragedies like the Kent State Shootings can only be made meaningful if they are remembered and used to further our understanding of ourselves and our world, no matter how difficult or painful that process may be.

After the Kent State Shootings, I knew that if I went to college, I would go to Kent State. I attended Kent State from 1976-79. I attended demonstrations to commemorate May 4 and protest plans to build a gym on Blanket Hill where the National Guard fired from. But I noticed that there were no demonstrations about millions of Indochinese being mass murdered, tortured, imprisoned, driven into desperate flight, denied basic freedoms. In [late December 1978-1979], when the Viet Cong invaded Cambodia, Chinese communists invaded Vietnam, Soviets mobilized and we stood on the brink of a nuclear war—no demonstrations.

It is important to remember that there are always things that we don’t know, that we might not even be able to know. It is important to always ask questions.

One thing I learned from your issue was that protesters didn’t fear that the National Guard would shoot or would shoot blanks. . . . Were the guardsmen more afraid of the protesters than the protesters were of the guardsmen? If the students had been wiser, they would not have been surprised at the shootings or when many people supported the guardsmen and sent hate mail to the wounded. Their parents were members of “The Greatest Generation.” They had not only survived two World Wars and the Great Depression, they had helped spread democracy and prosperity, end colonialism and segregation, built businesses, universities, etc. They were facing nuclear annihilation from two rampaging communist superpowers. They were indulgent and tolerant of their kids’ immaturity and misbehavior, but they could be pushed too far, and they would fight to preserve what they had built. The Silent Majority’s anger may have helped many kids look at themselves more honestly and think about the consequences of their actions.

The students didn’t die in vain. Most Americans have learned to get along better despite our many differences. KSU is now officially a “Military Friendly Campus.” There are many veterans in the Class Notes. When I attended Kent 1976-79, even though I was a hawk, veteran and in the ROTC, I made lifelong friends with people who weren’t.

In 1976, KSU ROTC felt safe enough to take rock screens off the ROTC bus windows. In 1977-79, controversy about building a gym on Blanket Hill caused tension, disruption and tumult. Some students deliberately trespassed on the gym site so they would get arrested, but the arrests were without incident and the trespassers were released. At a protest I missed, tear gas was used, but this was rare. Christian jocks who wanted the gym and Christians like me who wanted to preserve our history and honor the dead got together to pray for peace. But tensions never escalated to the extent they did in 1970.

I hope that our personal and collective quests to understand will never end. Thanks for a very good issue that helps us understand better. God bless you, me, Kent State, America, Vietnam, Cambodia, Earth.
Raymond P. Opeka, BBA ’79
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Many Memories
I just finished the spring/summer 2020 edition, which I thought was amazing. Just for the fun of it, I wanted to share my KSU memories.

At the end of April, my wife and I headed north on Route 43 to Kent. It was a route I’ve traveled quite often. We knew the campus would be deserted (how rare) and we could take a leisurely tour. 

I showed her where I was when John Glenn orbited the Earth and when John Kennedy was killed. We drove by the Hub where we commuters hung out. I showed her where the ROTC building was that got burned; I had an elementary ed class there. We also checked out the hill where the shootings took place. I walked that hill often going to the phys ed building and to music appreciation. 

I hadn’t planned to go to college. I graduated from Massillon Washington High School, and I got a good-paying job on an assembly line for Ecko products making pots and pans. After a year, I got laid off. 

I was standing on the corner in downtown Massillon with three friends. We were discussing what we wanted to do, and someone said, why don’t we go to college? Someone else said, we could go to Kent. So we did; we hopped in a car and headed to Kent. When we got [to the university] we went to the Office of the President and asked the secretary if he was busy. He wasn’t. [President George A. Bowman] invited us into his office and told us what Kent had to offer. 

I started in the elementary ed program that fall. A college education was very affordable. The cost for a quarter was less than $100 and commuting made it work. It was a wonderful experience.

I began teaching in December 1963. I was not on campus when the shootings took place. My fellow teachers included two WWII veterans. I kept my feelings to myself. 

I’m sending along [a check] for the scholarship fund. I just wanted to share my story. Thanks for listening.
Rich Converse, BS ’64 
Canton, Ohio

 


via Email

Memorial Mention
I have not been back to Kent State since 1983 so I have not seen your memorial. My thought is, if not already done, that the names of all the Americans that died in Vietnam be included. They are the reason our four students lived and died. The names could be like crowns around the memorials of Allison, Jeffrey, Sandra and William. Their heart-wrenching biographies are actually reflections of the biographies of all who died overseas. In fact, this “micro war scene” of young people dying on their homeland reflects the pain of the Vietnamese and their horrific day-to-day life.

Thank you for all who have dedicated so much time in order to not let our country forget. Maybe, maybe we will not make the same mistake again.
RoseAnn Stroebel, MA ’83
Mentor, Ohio

Editor’s Note: The war deaths were memorialized by 58,175 daffodil bulbs planted on the hillside site to symbolize the number of US losses in Vietnam, so they are not forgotten. And their names are listed in the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

With the Passage of Time
Fifty years have passed since the 1970 shootings. As an eventual alumni of Kent State University who was 14 years old and living in Akron when the tragedy occurred 20 miles away, what I have seen over the years is the original events with a valuable time factor added that has yielded many developments over the years, some good, some not so good but all interesting and worth noting.

The shootings started out as polarized and divisive, with barely a place to hold a discussion without a public fight, but fifty years later the Kent State administration has made “May 4” part of their agenda. They are at last on board with an acknowledgement of these significant events.

It took a long time, but the end result is that some justice has been done. The families’ decades of pain have been acknowledged. The wounded are listened to, not as much as some parties would like and more than others would like but, unlike the early annual May 4 events, at least this is no longer a matter of convincing the administration of the school or the State of Ohio that what occurred was an unnecessary tragedy. It deserves and finally has received acknowledgement and continued analysis by the university. We have nothing to thank but the passage of time for that. . . . But I don’t think it is a reach to state that there are things that we still need to learn from the shootings at Kent State.
Mark Bloch, BA ’78 
New York, NY

Unforgettable Campus Tour
I graduated Kent in June 1979 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army shortly upon graduation. My story at Kent State did not begin in the fall of 1975 as an incoming freshman. My 6th grade class at Captain Arthur Roth Elementary School in Cleveland toured Kent on May 3, 1970. I was 12 years old. My mom attended the tour as a chaperone. It was her first time setting foot on a college campus and she, too, enjoyed the experience.

While my classmates and I thought the large gatherings of students were normal and sadly tried to process the shootings the next day, I was inspired to attend college at Kent State and accelerated through high school to get there early.

I am not sure if other Cleveland inner city schools did the same at that time, but I am grateful for the experience to this day. There were quiet demonstrations of the shootings each year I was there. I understood more then, and my experience at Kent State was great.
Carmen (Turner) Powell, BA ’79
Reston, Va.

 


May 4 Guardsmen2003 reunion of the 1970 graduating class of architectural students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not a Pagoda

I enjoyed the article on remembering May 4, 1970 [spring/summer 2020, “Memorials of May 4,” pages 14-17]. I did, however, want to bring one small point to your attention. Regarding the concrete structure outside of Taylor Hall on Blanket Hill, the first time it was mentioned in James Michener’s book [Kent State: What Happened and Why], he referred to the structure as a “pagoda.”  Then, in the magazine story on page 16 I saw that the structure was again called a pagoda. 

I’m not sure where that term came from, but this structure is not a pagoda. Based on a definition, “a pagoda is a Hindu or Buddhist temple or sacred building, typically a many-tiered tower, in India and East Asia.” I have been to Japan and seen several pagodas, and this structure is not by definition nor by architectural design a pagoda. 

For reasons of clarity, I wanted to let you know that the structure is in fact a “thin-shell (2 inches thick) steel-reinforced concrete structure, designed with four inverted hyperbolic paraboloids that form a 10-foot square.” The concrete foundation, located 36 inches below grade, is exactly the same structure as above ground. 

Not sure this will be of any value, but I just thought after 51 years I could help clarify the matter. I know this information because I designed, engineered and constructed the structure with another architecture student, Robert F. Gressard, BArc ’70 [Streetsboro, Ohio], in the fall quarter of 1969, just months before the shootings took place on May 4, 1970. I was on my way to an architectural class that day, soon after the shots were fired.
James Donald Janning, BArc ’70
Charlotte, NC

Editor’s Note: Over the past 50 years, the now iconic concrete structure on the Kent Campus has been referred to as the “pagoda” in multiple places, including when it was listed as a “contributing object” in the nomination for the National Historic Landmark designation for the May 4, 1970 Kent State Shootings Site. Excited to learn the names of the structure’s designers, I asked Jim Janning for more details. The following is an edited excerpt of our phone conversation:

“I designed that structure with fellow classmate Bob Gressard as a project for a fifth-year structures course with Professor Robert Shively. He looked at the design and thought it would work with wind loads, snow loads, etc. Another professor, Conrad McWilliams, got a hold of our drawings and calculations, and he said, ‘That thing will never last.’ So they bet against each other as to whether our design would work or not. 

“We were supposed to install our projects around Taylor Hall, so one night Bob and I were up on Blanket Hill, drinking beer and digging a three-foot deep, ten-foot square hole for the foundation. 

“The campus police came by and asked us what we were doing, and we told them the truth. But they arrested us and took us to the campus jail. We said we had a right to make a phone call, so we called Shively and told him where we were. He talked to the police and they escorted us back to the project, where we continued to dig. 

“The afternoon we were pouring the concrete (Bob Gressard knew someone who had a concrete truck), Shively drove up in a station wagon filled with extra rebar he got at the library project that was under construction at the time. So there’s extra steel in the structure because Shively didn’t want to lose his bet with McWilliams. 

“The main structure is only 2 inches thick; the strength comes from it being a paraboloid, because curves are stronger than straight lines. (My mother was a math teacher and would make mathematical models out of string or cardboard, so she was probably my inspiration for the design. I minored in math, physics and art.)

“We finished it up about three months before the shootings. [On May 4, 1970], I had parked across from Taylor Hall and was heading to a 1 p.m. class. I probably arrived about 10 or 15 minutes after the shootings, and I saw broken glass and pools of blood. People were running around screaming, and some girl cried, ‘What should I do? What should I do?’ I said, ‘Get the hell out of here.’

“I drove home, grabbed my wife and left. Within two weeks I had a job in Cleveland and finished up my courses by mail. When I saw that photo of the structure in Life magazine (photo top left) that’s when it really hit home. The shootings took a lot out of me.

“When I went back to campus for the first time in 2003 for an architecture class reunion (photo top right), it felt strange being there. I thought things would be more familiar to me, but it felt very different—until we got to Taylor Hall and I saw it still there. 

“I don’t think we had any idea that structure would last this long, and I don’t know what kind of shape it’s in now. Anyway, it was built as an inverted hyperbolic paraboloid. Somehow it got the title of ‘pagoda.’ If you want to call it an ‘umbrella structure,’ that’s fine.”

“Leading up to the 50th commemoration, the university hired a structural restoration consultant to make recommendations for some needed repairs and to review the structure as a whole to ensure its physical integrity, notes Jay Graham, interim executive director in the Office of the University Architect. “We will continue to maintain the structure, as it has historical importance for the university.”

 


Starner Victory Bell
For Whom the Bell Tolls
My wife and I enjoyed reading the spring/summer 2020 edition of Kent State Magazine. We would like to call to your attention that on page 15 there is an incorrect description of the Victory Bell. The last sentence reads: “The bell is now rung during May 4 Memorial remembrances—and also for athletic triumphs.”  

As stated in the article, the bell was removed after May 4, 1970, but was returned later. However, it was no longer used for “athletic triumphs.” My wife and I talked with President Cartwright to see if it could be placed on a trailer and used at individual athletic events. She indicated that it was to remain on the Commons as part of the historic site. 

In 2011 we purchased and donated a trailer and another Victory Bell to the university to be used by the athletic department. The bell is stationed at most athletic events and is rung by the Kent State team if they win.  It is also available at KSU graduation ceremonies for those graduates who want to ring it.
Buzz, BS ’67, & Marilyn, BS ’71, Starner
Jackson Township, Ohio

Editor’s Note: As the Starners, who have been supporters of Kent State Athletics since 1969, clarify above, there are now two Victory Bells: the original one that is permanently placed on the Commons and the Starner Victory Bell, which they donated along with a trailer. It was dedicated in 2011 and is taken to most athletic events, as well as Commencement (since 2016). 
     
We learned of the passing of Lowell “Buzz” Starner on November 28, 2020. He and his wife recently created an endowment for the Pep Band and HUGS (Helping Undergraduates Gain Success) for Nurses, a scholarship for senior nursing students.
     As it says in his obituary, “Giving back to Kent State was his way to touch the future.”

More to the Story
As a Kent State alumna, I remember being indoctrinated with the KSU version of events. But context matters and there is more to the story: The rioting and breaking of store windows that went on beforehand. The burning of the ROTC building. A state of emergency declared. The rioting by students when firemen tried to put out the fire. Events that resulted in the National Guard being called in. These were not peaceful protests. Students were told to disperse. They were throwing rocks and debris at the soldiers.

I am NOT in any way justifying students getting killed. It was a tragedy. What is frustrating is the lack of context. How much of this was exacerbated by drinking? How many residents of Kent were terrorized by students breaking windows and rioting downtown? How many residents of Kent feared for their lives? Didn't they have a right to live in their own city in safety? People should know the whole story.
Anna (Bonacci) Costanzo, BM ’83
Cleveland

I do not understand why you commemorate a horrible event like the Kent State riots and shootings. You seem to make heroes of the rioters and say nothing of the losses the National Guard sustained. I didn’t see where you identified those rioters as not students at KSU. I didn’t read about the burning of the ROTC building and the cutting of fire hoses by the rioters. You presented a biased, one-sided article about student riots and violence. I think you will fit right in with the left-wing media and selective reporting. Sorry Kent State produces such a bias.
Fred Gemlich, BS ’68
Portage, Mich.

There is a part of the story that everyone ignores or chooses to forget. May 4 was the conclusion that began with a lawless fire on May 2. I stood with my neighbor and friend, gymnastics coach Rudy Bachna as the old wooden classroom burned. I often wonder if the outcome of May 4 would have been different if the lawlessness of May 2 had not occurred.

It is quick and easy to blame the National Guard to find a conspiracy, but have you ever stood before an angry protest and wondered what’s next? There is a picture I saw after May 4 but cannot find now of a National Guard major banging his troops on their helmets with his weapon trying to get them to cease fire.
Thom Lakso, BS ’71 
Knoxville, Tenn.

Editor’s Note: There is a lot more to this tragic story than we were able to cover in a couple pages in a magazine. Over many years, the university began the long, slow process of memorializing the event and learning how to deal with diverse opinions without dismissing them.
     I would encourage you to explore some of the resources now available through Kent State that provide a more complete picture of what was going on at the time. For example, the Oral History Project invites stories from all perspectives.
    Those diverse perspectives have been used to inform several recent projects, which we tried to highlight in the magazine, including the Mapping May 4 app, which includes voices from Kent shop owners and residents. Also see the Armed With Our Voices Digital ExhibitMay 4th Voices Radio Play, and the Augmented Reality Experience.

Maybe Next Year
I was a freshman at Kent State on May 4, 1970. So glad the issue that had so much about the 50th anniversary was available in print, as it will certainly be valuable to keep. We had our plane tickets, concert tickets, all ready to come back to Kent for the commemoration, when everything was canceled. I was bitterly disappointed. I am hopeful the university will be able to plan something for next year.
Mike Wilt, BS ’73 
St. Helena Island, SC

Prior Events
I graduated from KSU School of Business in June 1968 and was hired by General Electric Company. I have fond memories of my days at Kent State. Most of my classes were in Franklin Hall. I lived in an apartment on West Main Street and took the Campus Bus Service to and from classes. 

The shooting on May 4, 1970 was truly a tragedy! What I don't understand, is why no one talks about the events that led up to the tragedy? The night before the students burnt down the ROTC Building on the campus. I am sure there were outside agitators that stirred up the students to protest the Vietnam War. Then there was the large crowd of students who gathered downtown and started marching toward the campus. This is when the KSU president called the governor and requested the Ohio National Guard to protect the campus. 

Then the tragic event happened! The National Guard on top of the hill and the students marching toward them with some throwing stones. No one knows for sure, but I could see a few members of the National Guard get frightened and shoot. It was all over in a few minutes. In hindsight, the National Guard should have used rubber bullets and this tragedy would not have happened.

This is my understanding of what happened. Is this correct? Are these the events that led up to the shooting?  
Roger Freibott, BBA ’68
Macedonia, Ohio

Editor’s Note: If you want to fact check your understanding, we recommend you read “The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy” by Jerry M. Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Thomas R. Hensley, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, which can be found here.
     For another concise account, you could read: 
This We Know: A Chronology of the Shootings at Kent State, May 1970 by Carole Barbato, Laura Davis and Mark Seeman. According to that account (and Lewis and Hensley’s account), it was the mayor of Kent, Leroy Satrom, who in consultation with Kent’s police chief, declared a state of emergency and called the governor requesting help. You can obtain a copy through your library or at The Kent State University Press
     If you’re interested in reading more about the events from various perspectives, there are many books written about May 4, some from firsthand accounts. You can find a recommended reading list and an annotated bibliography of all the major publications written on the event.

Cover Kudos
May 4 Cover Design

The cover art for your spring/summer 2020 Kent State Magazine was exceptional. [See cover image at right.] As a proud graduate of the KSU Graphic Design program (now called VCD), I was awed by the elegant and poignant art.

The tree with deep roots ties all Kent State graduates together. The nine gray leaves in the tree represent the nine wounded. And the four leaves fluttering to the ground pay tribute and remind us of those we lost.

Bravo, John-Noall Reed, BA ’98. Your cover design resonated deeply.   
Monica Silver, BFA ’80
Cleveland

What an absolutely fitting cover design. I will keep this forever.
Jerry O’Ryan, MPH ’17
Centerville, Ohio

Extra Credit
First, thank you and everyone involved in the virtual commemoration for yeoman efforts under such stressful circumstances. I noticed that the writeup about Robert Stamps [spring/summer 2020 “Where the Nine Wounded Are Now,” page 20] is very short and Robbie deserves more, even though the writer couldn’t talk to Robbie since he died some years ago. I would ask, however, that someone beef up his writeup with a point I’d like to offer, because he deserves more space and more credit in helping the university. 

As Kent State’s executive director of communications for the 25th anniversary commemoration of May 4, I was the primary contact working with Robbie, so I can attest to this addition: Robbie, as his friends called him, remained a staunch supporter of the university. During the 25th anniversary of the shootings, he was one of the primary contacts available to reporters, anchoring a media speakers bureau, determined to communicate the truth about May 4. 
Paula Slimak, BA ’68, MA ’71
Cleveland

Editor’s Note: We added this additional information about Robert Stamps to the digital edition of the spring/summer 2020 issue and have included it here, as well.

Worth All the Work
Thank you so much for emailing me [the links to] the May 4 commemorative edition of the magazine. Having been there that day, it means a lot to me that you not only wrote and produced this thoughtful edition, but that you emailed it to me. It arrived in my inbox exactly when I needed it. Thanks especially for letting us know the stories of the nine wounded. 

My wife and I (we met at KSU) are now 3,000 miles away, far off-the-grid in Belize, ‘stranded’ due to the coronavirus. Not such a bad place to be, really. Peaceful. But we had planned on being there today, in Kent, for the 50th anniversary with you and so many of our old friends. I am beyond sad that it will not happen. Life-changing events do continue to happen, don’t they?

Perhaps the print edition of the Kent State Magazine is waiting for us on our kitchen table in Minnesota. We’ll read it when the airports open and we return. But this digital edition is magnificent. Upon receiving my BFA from KSU, the 20th-century half of my career was in book design and the publishing industry. I certainly remember tight publication schedules. 

I am quite impressed with the way you have worked the words, the stories, the people and the images into digital media for such beautiful results, in a periodical, and got it into my email inbox in a Central American jungle, through a tenuous third-world 3G cellular system, during a world-wide pandemic, on May 4. You have gone beyond the physical and design excellence needed in publications—and penetrated the heart and soul of a powerful subject. And you brought a tear to an old man’s eye in the jungle.
Mark Stratman, BFA ’73
Tonka Bay, Minn. and Gales Point, Belize

Not Bound
Roses for Kent State sharing these essential stories [spring/summer 2020, “Where the Nine Wounded are Now,” pages 18-20]. Thorns for using the archaic, inaccurate, idiotic “wheelchair-bound” instead of “uses a wheelchair for mobility” in describing the device that liberates (not confines) Dean Kahler.
I expect more out of my alma mater. It would be resignation-worthy to print something saying an African American is “bound to black skin” or a person of the Jewish faith is “Jewishness-bound.”

I will wager my life that you have never printed an article identifying a Toyota driver as sedan-bound. Why? Because that person is simply using a device of mobility efficiency. A Toyota gets them from a workshop in Cleveland to a class in Kent more quickly and efficiently than walking.

That’s all a wheelchair is—a device of efficient mobility. “Bound” is ableist (look it up, it's like being racist, only toward people with disabilities).
Steve Wright, BS ’87
Miami, Fla.

Editor’s Note: We ran the copy by Dean Kahler prior to publication and he did not object to the wording. Nor did the writer intend anything other than to concisely describe his situation; one which was the result of a bullet wound and not something he was born with. The story also notes that Dean Kahler ran races in his wheelchair. However, we acknowledge that the word choice is a cliché and could be offensive to others who use wheelchairs for mobility; we will avoid it in the future.

Pandemic Perspective
Thank you to Dr. Tara C. Smith, professor of epidemiology, for sharing her reflections on the initial days of the pandemic lockdown [spring/ summer 2020, “Perspective on a Pandemic,” page 4]. Her insights are just as meaningful more than six months into the crisis as they were at six weeks. As the parent of a current KSU student, I am glad the university is home to such a gifted and thoughtful humanist. I also heard her interviewed on the radio and she is a great representative of KSU. To me, Dr. Smith's comments really manifest the spirit of “Flashes take care of Flashes.” 
Timothy Puin
Cleveland

Dinks Redux
Just reading my Kent State Magazine, looking for the [hidden] squirrels, I ran across the dink debate [spring/summer 2020, page 2]. I still have my dink that I received at freshman orientation. The year was 1962. I likewise remember the possibility of cleaning the shield with a toothbrush for walking on it, as well as being caught without your dink. 
Keep up the good work. It is always nice to receive the magazine and relive old memories. (Because four years was just not enough.)
Bill Viancourt, BSE ’67
North Ridgeville, Ohio

As I entered Kent State Trumbull Campus for the first time during fall 1970, I was given a blue and gold skull cap with the letter “K” on the front. I was told it was a tradition. I never wore it.
Gerald J. Canton, BA ’79, MA ’98
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Small World
My wife and I recently attended our third Parent and Family Weekend at Norwich University in Vermont to mark the fifteenth year of our son’s graduation and commissioning ceremony. (Nicholas is a Lt. Col., US Army with numerous deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently stationed with his family in Hawaii.

Because of the light drizzle that morning, we decided to step into one of the campus buildings on the Upper Parade Ground before the cadets came out for review. We were greeted in the lobby by an instructor who informed us that the projects on display were the work of freshman architecture students. I mentioned that I, too, was (briefly) an architecture student at Kent State in the fall of 1964. She replied that her father was an instructor at KSU at that time. Well, guess what? Cara Armstrong’s father, Foster D. Armstrong, was my architecture instructor that semester!

So after driving 700 miles through three states, I discovered a connection between my college experience and Norwich University. We all had a good laugh and shared some warm memories. Go Flashes!
David M. Milkovich, BS ’68, MEd ’71
Akron, Ohio

For the Record
Victor Osagie Aimiuwu, PhD '76
It is confirmed that my father, Prof. Victor Osagie Aimiuwu, PhD ’76, Los Angeles, Calif., Xenia, Ohio, was the first Black / African / African-American to receive a PhD in physics at KSU. He graduated the same year I was born in Allerton Apartments, and he became a full physics professor in Ohio at Central State University and a NASA research consultant before he passed in November 2011. He was also a physics professor from the 1970s–1990s at Ahmadu Bello University and University of Benin, which are both in Nigeria, before returning to the United States. He is pictured as a Catholic Knight of Columbus in Xenia, Ohio.
Ehi E. Aimiuwu, MBA ’00, PhD
Atlanta, Ga.

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POSTED: Friday, December 11, 2020 - 1:45pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 5, 2021 - 10:17am