Jerry M. Lewis May 4 Lecture Series

A lecture series has been created to honor the legacy of Jerry M. Lewis Emeritus Professor of Sociology and advance the scholarship of May 4, 1970 and the Vietnam War era. We are currently accepting applications for our 2024 Jerry M. Lewis lecturer. 

Dr. Jerry M. Lewis professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State University

Dr. Jerry M. Lewis, professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State University, and witness to the events of May 4, 1970. He is pictured with the pagoda and Taylor Hall in the background in 2010.

Photo by Gary Harwood Courtesy of Kent State

Jerry M. Lewis became an Emeritus Professor of Sociology in 1996 and actively taught at Kent State University from 1966 until 2013. Serving as a faculty marshal in 1970, he witnessed the May 4, 1970 shootings firsthand, and has since devoted time to researching, memorializing and lecturing on the events of May 4. He remains an active leader and voice for legacy and study of May 4, 1970.

A defining accomplishment of his career was “Kent State and May 4: A Social Science Perspective”, a volume edited with Thomas Hensley, professor of political science at Kent State. The book stresses the importance of social science theory and methods in the study of May 4. Professor Lewis is an author (or co-author with Raymond Adamek) of several of the articles in the edited volume, which is now in its third edition.

He comments that “the Lewis lectures will allow the Kent State faculty member the opportunity to present his or her scholarship results in a supportive environment."

The lecture series honoring Dr. Lewis was made possible through a generous donation from Michael Solomon, ’74.

Read the full press release

Call for Proposals - Deadline extended to February 2, 2024

We welcome proposals from Kent State University faculty members to give a public lecture on their research or scholarship about May 4, 1970 and the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

  • Proposals may come from full-time Kent State University faculty members from any department at Kent State University.
  • We ask for proposals for a 45-minute lecture to occur during the spring 2024 semester.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of faculty and administrators led by the Dean of University Libraries.
  • The selected lecturer will receive an award of $2,500.
  • Submit your proposal by completing the Jerry M. Lewis May 4 Lecture application.
  • Proposals will be accepted until 5 pm February 2, 2024.
  • Questions can be directed to the Dean of University Libraries.

Proposals will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Applicant(s) are full-time faculty members (9 or 12-month contract) at Kent State University.
  • The proposed lecture must report on ongoing or completed research/scholarship about or related to about May 4, 1970 and the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
  • The degree to which the research/scholarship made use of resources of the May 4 Collection and other archival resources within Special Collections and Archives or the May 4 Visitors Center.
  • The degree to which the research/scholarship advances or makes new contributions to the existing body of May 4, 1970 research/scholarship.

Submit your proposal for the Jerry M. Lewis Lecture Series here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply jointly with my collaborators?

Faculty members may apply together if their research/scholarship is/was collaborative. The monetary award would be split equally with participants.

Does my research need to include the Vietnam War?

Research/scholarship involving May 4’s relations to the Vietnam War is welcomed, but not required. The work must relate to May 4, 1970 or its aftermath.

I am an artist. Is my work welcome?

Yes, all forms of scholarship, including creative works are welcomed.

Will the lecture be recorded or streamed?

Yes, the lecture will be recorded, made publicly accessible and archived through Special Collections and Archives. Depending on programming needs, the lecture may be live streamed as well.