Special Tributes


Dr. Tom Hensley

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.

Dr. Hensley joined Kent State in 1969 as a full-time professor, where he inspired countless students and colleagues during his career. “Dr. Tom,” as he was known by his many adoring students, devoted much of his academic career to the events and lessons of May 4, 1970, publishing four books and numerous topics on the topic.

His long-time friend, colleague and collaborator Dr. Jerry Lewis described Dr. Hensley’s impact as enduring and powerful. “Dr. Thomas Hensley was a member of the Political Science Department at Kent State University, and my colleague for 52 years.  An expert on Constitutional Law, Dr. Hensley worked extensively on the legal aspects of the May 4 shootings that took place on the campus in 1970. His lectures about May 4 and its legal ramifications were organized, analytical and insightful, and he used illustrations that allowed students and general readers alike to understand very complex legal issues associated with May 4.”   

In 1979 Dr. Hensley and Dr. Lewis co-founded the May 4 course, which focused on a range of issues surrounding May 4. The success of the class continues under the tutelage of various Kent State faculty, said Dr. Lewis.

Dr. Hensley was the recipient of many awards during his time at Kent State, including the Distinguished Teacher Award, the Ohio Teacher of the Year, and the President’s Medal. The Dr. Tom Hensley Endowed Scholarship was created in his honor. To contribute to this scholarship please, visit the Dr. Tom Hensley Endowed Scholarship giving web page