Readers Respond


Thanks for a fun [squirrel search] contest in a great issue! I had the chance to go to China with a group of CCI students, and it changed my life. I became very excited about traveling internationally. My daughter [Taylor Kopunovitz, BBA ’12, BS ’12, MS ’14] and I have traveled to London and Portugal so far, and we have a trip planned to Copenhagen this December and Croatia the following September. And there are many other countries on my list!
Alice Kopunovitz, BM ’80
Special assistant, Department of Biological Sciences
Kent Campus


Great fall/winter 2022-23 issue of the magazine. I have known Pacifique [Niyonzima] for some time. I very much enjoyed the article about our partnership with the University of Rwanda ["Shared Learning in Rwanda”]. And I love the squirrel search. Thanks for the good read and fun exercise.

Chris Jenkins
Assistant chief of Police Services
Assistant director of Public Safety
Kent Campus

Jerry O'Ryan's dog Oliver
Oliver Wendell Holmes


My dog, Oliver Wendell Holmes, is a squirrel sniffer. He even has a special outfit to wear for the occasion.

Jerry O’Ryan, MPH ’17
Centerville, OH


I really took my time reading this issue. So good to see Kent State has a thriving program internationally. I was an Air Force officer and learned a lot about other countries as I was stationed in Europe.

The pandemic course story [“Perfect Time for A Course on Pandemics,” fall/winter 2022-23] brought back memories of military courses on the effects of pandemics in history.

Keep up the good work.

William Maki, BA ’67
Cuyahoga Falls, OH


First off, let me thank you for sending the fall/winter 2022-23 edition. I am also a dinosaur who likes a printed copy. Please keep sending them. Kent State made me the person I am today, and I will be a Flash Forever!

Thomas Hauner, BSE ’67 
Saint Clairsville, OH


I really enjoyed the story about Brigitta and Stephen Hanzély and their immigrant success and love story [“A Walk Down Memory Lane,” fall/winter 2022-23]. I didn’t know English professor [W. Leslie] Garnett, but my father, A.E. Schroeder, professor of German and chair of the foreign languages department, was equally welcoming and mentoring to foreign students.
Since Brigitta majored in German, she was one of his students. I’m proud that Kent State continues to welcome foreign students and encourage the study of foreign languages.

Richard Schroeder, BA ’64
Washington, DC


I enjoyed reading this magazine, especially since my daughter is currently in Florence with Kent State University. Thank you for a job well done!

Lynne Breitenstein-Aliberti, BA ’92
Shaker Heights, OH


Boy, it’s been 50 years already?? I was in that first group to study in Florence back in 1972 [“50 Years of Florence,” fall/winter 2022-23]. It was a trip. It changed my life.

I realized how to study, understand and follow architecture with the masters—seeing the works of Le Corbusier, Mies van Der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Gaudi.

That first group gave us some liberties and boy did we expand them—but we learned a heck of a lot. It changed our consciousness of design.

Form really follows function. Less really is more. I became a better student. I became a better architect.
Since 1972 I have returned to Europe countless times to further expand my horizons. Revisited some, discovered more.

My Florence experience never ends.

Gary Gologorsky, BArc ’73
Myrtle Beach, SC


Pictured (left to right): Bert, Caitlin and Carol Drennen in Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy
Pictured (left to right): Bert, Caitlin and Carol Drennen in Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

We enjoyed your issue on Growing Global [fall/winter 2022-23] and especially the “50 Years of Florence” article. Our daughter, Caitlin Drennen DeSouza, spent a semester abroad in Florence (2009), which gave us an excuse to return to that beautiful city, this time with a personal guide. 

Caitlin had already made scheduled class trips to London, Paris and Milan, and weekend trips to Dublin, Munich and Pisa, so she knew enough Italian to make train travel easy and to order from a waiter in remote areas. While we were there, she took us for weekend trips to Lake Como and Venice, and we made day trips to Pisa and Cinque Terre while she was in class. She also took us to her favorite pizza place and cooked dinner for us in her small apartment. 

For those two weeks we walked miles and really got to know Florence. We wonder how many other Kent parents visited their students during their semester abroad.

Bert Drennen | Carol Drennen
(Carol is a retired director of nursing and allied health at Kent State Ashtabula)
Broadview Heights, OH


In reading the article, “50 Years of Florence,” I wanted to relate two stories that I think illustrate the value and impact of this program.

I have been an architect for nearly 50 years. When I retired from the private architectural firm where I was a partner and principal, I discovered architects don’t retire, they redesign themselves. In building my career path, I came to appreciate that we are the legacy of those who came before us, who provided us an example and shaped our lives.

To that point, here’s a conversation I had with my son, who is also an architect [Brandon L. Kline, MArch ’07], when he was a student at Kent State’s Florence studio [in 2006].

He had just arrived there with his classmates and, after unpacking their belongings, they took a walk to become familiar with their new home. Finding  themselves at an interesting place, he wanted to share a unique observation with me. As I picked up the phone, he greeted me with, “Hi Dad, guess where I am?” I said, “Of course you’re in Florence. And as you just arrived, you are not likely out of money yet?”

He went on, “No, guess where I am standing?” Having been to Florence myself several times, I considered what might be the single most impressive and influential place to an architecture student. I responded, “You are in the Laurentian Library standing on Michelangelo’s stairs!”

“Right,” he said. “But now guess what I just realized? I am the legacy of this work and need to learn from it and pass it on to future generations.”

When I heard this, my first thought was, Who are you and what happened to Brandon? Then I told him, “That is what I hoped you would learn in Italy, and you got it on day one. Now, go absorb the details.”

My wife and I had hoped to visit our son while he was in Italy, but due to an illness in the family, we were unable to go.

However, 10 years ago we decided to take all our kids on a family trip to celebrate my wife’s 60th birthday. As both our son and daughter-in-law had attended the Florence program, we made it a point to visit the studio. We enlisted one of the professors, Rocky Ruggiero, PhD, to be our guide while in Florence. He was great.

One of the sites he took us to, the church of Santa Maria Novella, included a fresco painted in 1425 by the Renaissance artist Masaccio. I was so taken with Rocky’s illumination of the story behind it, that I incorporated it into my class lecture in the Arch 10001 course, Understanding Architecture, which I have taught for the last 10 years.

Judson Kline, FAIA
Adjunct professor, College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Orange Village, OH


Debbie and Joel Schackne
Pictured: Debbie and Joel Schackne wearing their KSU
Florence T-shirts

From 1965-1970, I attended Kent State University on a tennis scholarship, recruited by Karl Chesnutt. I was also a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. I was at the May 4, 1970, rally with my girlfriend, Sandy Scheuer, one of the four students killed that day. 

Kent State was an important part of my life in developing my values, making academic and social interactions, and leading me into a great teaching career. The illustrious mathematics professor Dr. Kenneth Cummins was a mentor to me. From 1970-2006, I taught high school mathematics in the gifted program, as well as advanced placement statistics at Miami Dade County Public Schools. In 1998-1999, I was MDCPS Senior High School Math Teacher of the Year.

My wife, Debbie, and I recently returned from a 17-day trip to Switzerland and Italy. From a previous issue of Kent State Magazine, I’d read of the Kent State Florence campus. As we were walking around Florence, we turned a corner onto Via Cavour and immediately saw the Kent State Florence Center. It was late Friday afternoon; we rang the doorbell and Giorgio Ridolfi, receptionist and student life coordinator, warmly greeted us. He showed us around the first floor of the building and suggested that we come back the next day.


Giorgio Ridolfi and Joel Schackne
Pictured: Giorgio Ridolfi and Joel Schackne at the Kent State
Florence Center

When we returned Saturday, Giorgio presented Debbie and me with a present—KSU Florence T-shirts [see photo].  After seeing more of the building, Debbie and I relaxed in the courtyard as we ate our lunch. Giorgio represents many great values that Kent State traditions have developed, especially respectfulness to other individuals.

Coincidentally, I just received the fall/winter 2022-23 Kent State Magazine, which  has an article, “50 Years of Florence.”  We loved Florence.

I am thankful for a great college education and a lifetime of continual connections around the world with Kent State University.

Joel Schackne, BBA ’69, BSE ’70
Davie, FL 


Thank you for a great magazine. So much in here to feel pride about.

Christina Kukuk, BA ’00
Ashland, OR


Congratulations to Dale Walter, BS ’73, MA ’85, San Diego, CA, the lucky winner of the random-generated drawing from correct submissions to the magazine’s Squirrel Search contest. He received a box of black-squirrel-themed swag from Black Squirrel Gifts in downtown Kent.

The black squirrels can be found in the fall/winter 2022-23 print edition on page 15 (on the Piazza del Duomo, listening to Fabrizio Ricciardelli, PhD, director of the Kent State University Florence Center), page 25 (in a tree overlooking sponsored students from Rwanda) and page 42 (hanging out with the Grand Marshals of the 2022 Homecoming Parade).


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POSTED: Friday, May 5, 2023 11:28 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 18, 2023 04:49 PM