May 4 2022 Commemoration

Kent State Remembers May 4, 1970, With Annual Commemoration

May 4, 2022 - The Power of Our Voices graphic

For the first time since 2019, Kent State University remembered May 4, 1970, with an in-person, annual commemoration to honor the four students who were killed, the nine students who were wounded and the countless others whose lives were forever changed when the Ohio National Guard fired on Kent State students during an anti-war protest. 

The May 4, 2022 Commemoration theme is "The Power of Our Voices" in recognition of the many people throughout history who have used their voices to effect meaningful change.

Sunday, May 1

The May 4 Commemoration kicked off on Sunday with an outdoor music festival on Manchester Field. Visitors gathered and connected with old friends and enjoyed delicious BBQ from Brooks Homestyle BBQ. Students from the May 4 Task Force and Students for a Democratic Society were in attendance promoting May 1-4 programs throughout the afternoon. Guest enjoyed some of the area’s best music by MagpieHarvestThe TwistOffs and Alex Bevan

In keeping with this year’s theme, our May 4 Film Series kicked off in downtown Kent at the Kent Stage with free screenings of Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple’s documentary "Shut Up & Sing" at 7:30 p.m. 

Monday, May 2

Kent State honored the faculty marshals of May 4, 1970, with a luncheon and special recognition at the inaugural Jerry M. Lewis May 4 Lecture Series. Tammy Clewell, Ph.D., professor in Kent State’s Department of English, gave the inaugural lecture with her presentation "Remembering the Contested May 4 Memorializing Process."

Kent State's School of music presented a special concert, "Stories of Peace, Protest and Reflection" at Severance Music Center in Cleveland. 

Tuesday, May 3

Dean Kahler joined President Todd Diacon in addressing attendees at the dedication of the markers ceremony for the engraved plaques that permanently mark where the nine wounded students were located when hit by gunfire.

View the Dedication Ceremony

The May 4 film series included a screening of "The War at Home" followed by a Q&A session with the director Glenn Silber and Kent State President Todd Diacon. Danny Miller’s "Fire in the Heartland" included an interactive Q&A with the director and principal figures featured in the film about the Kent State shootings. 

The evening concluded when campus and community members gathered for the annual Candlelight Walk and Vigil

Wednesday, May 4

The campus community and visitors gathered at noon on the May 4 site at the Kent State Commons to commemorate the moment that gunfire erupted 52 years ago. The program opened with a performance by the Kent State Chorale and officially began with Tom Grace ringing the victory bell for each student killed and wounded at Kent State and the two who were killed at Jackson State. Remarks were given from President Diacon, Student Leaders, Advisory Committee Chair Chic Canfora and special guest speaker Jon Meacham.

View the Commemoration

The evening concluded with Kent State’s Presidential Speaker Series, featuring presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham. Meacham brought his unique perspective and provide historical context to the issues and events impacting our daily lives.

View the Speaker Series

Kent State Student Organizations 

Special events and programs hosted by student organizations included a screening of "Fire in the Heartland", a panel discussion organized by the May 4 Task Force with former leaders and several programs were held by Students for a Democratic Society throughout the week.