51st Commemoration

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired on Kent State students during an anti-war protest, killing four students and wounding nine other students. Due to the global pandemic, the May 4 Commemoration and Candlelight Vigil were held virtually. 

Logo for May 4


The virtual commemoration featured a video that premiered at noon on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 that focused on the nine wounded students: Alan Canfora, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Donald Mackenzie, James Russell, Robert Stamps and Douglas Wrentmore. The video features the new markers that have been installed on the May 4 site to indicate where wounded students were located when hit by gunfire.

These new markers join the existing four markers that were installed in 1999 in remembrance of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, the four students killed on May 4, 1970. The new markers for the wounded students display the names of the students and their distance from the Ohio National Guard.


The virtual commemoration remembered and recognized Alan Canfora, who died in December 2020 at the age of 71. Over the past 50 years, Canfora was the primary voice of May 4, never allowing the shootings and the four killed to be forgotten. To honor his life and legacy, the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship has been created.
“We are committed to the legacy of May 4, 1970, sharing the lessons learned and the importance of this date in history,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “We remember and honor those who were lost and those whose lives were never the same. The impact of May 4 reverberates beyond our campus, reaching those across the country and around the world.”


Kent State University and the May 4 community lost a beloved expert and advocate with the death of Dr. Thomas R. Hensley, professor emeritus, on April 7, 2021.


Watch the presentation and Q&A discussion with Ethan Lower and Olivia Salter, co-chairs of the May 4 Task Force, a student-led organization at Kent State.