Kent State Dedicates May 4 Site and New May 4 Walking Tour in 2010

As part of the university’s activities marking the 40th commemoration of the May 4, 1970, shootings, Kent State University will host a dedication ceremony for the historic May 4 site’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the opening of the new May 4 Walking Tour. The dedication will take place Monday, May 3, at 3 p.m. beginning in Room 214 of Oscar Ritchie Hall, located at 225 Terrace Drive in Kent, Ohio.

The event is free and open to the public. Those who are scheduled to make remarks include:

  • Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton
  • Franco Ruffini, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer at the Ohio Historic Preservation Office
  • Sen. Tom Sawyer, Ohio Senate
  • Rep. Kathleen Chandler, Ohio House of Representatives
  • Laura Davis, Kent State Professor of English and faculty coordinator for May 4 initiatives, who was a Kent State student on campus during the May 4 events
  • Patrick Mullin, Kent State Board of Trustees Chair, who also was a Kent State student on campus during the May 4 events  [Photo of pagoda on May 4 site]
  • Iris Harvey, Kent State Vice President for University Relations

A student sits under the pagodaThe National Register of Historic Places and the May 4 Walking Tour are two examples of how the university is marking the events of May 4 in an educational way. “We are going to recognize and pay respect to May 4, to the students who were lost, to the students who were injured,” Lefton said. “I think we’ve learned a great deal from May 4. We’ve gone beyond May 4, and what we are going to do is respect what happened in the past and try and put it in a historical context so that people recognize that our democracy grew stronger because of what happened on May 4 at Kent State.”

Mark Seeman, Carole Barbato and Jerry M. Lewis, Kent State faculty members who co-authored the submission for the National Register of Historic Places with Davis, will be in attendance. Invited guests also include family members of the four students who were killed and those students who were wounded on May 4, 1970.

Following a short program in Oscar Ritchie Hall, attendees will move outside to the historic site for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new May 4 Walking Tour. In addition to the seven markers, the National Register of Historic Places plaque will be displayed. Guests will be invited to take one of two tours of the historic site after the ribbon cutting: a self-guided site tour with audio or an expert-guided site tour with Lewis, Kent State professor emeritus of sociology, who was a faculty marshal on May 4, 1970, and an eyewitness to the events.

About the May 4 Walking Tour

The guided walking tour includes interpretive panels installed at seven stops along the walk on the historic site. The panels feature pictures, maps and written descriptions. Each trail marker focuses on different key aspects and events from May 4, 1970. A video documentary and audio complement the tour trail markers. Notable civil rights activist and NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond narrates the tour for the documentary and audio. The documentary will be demonstrated on handheld mobile devices on May 1-4. Information about these special tours will be posted at Visitors can listen to the audio narration at any time by calling 330-672-MAY4 (6294) via phone.

The walking tour is part of the Kent State May 4 Visitors Center, which will be located in Taylor Hall. Visitors may view the draft design in Room 101 of Taylor Hall from May 1-4 and follow progress at Fundraising for the Kent State May 4 Visitors Center is currently underway.

About the National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation, added the May 4, 1970, site at Kent State to its list on Feb. 23, 2010. Patrick Andrus, the reviewer with the National Register of Historical Places, commented that for a site less than 50 years old to be listed acknowledges the exceptional importance of the site at Kent State.

The May 4 site covers 17.4 acres of the Kent State campus, comprising the Commons, Blanket Hill, the Prentice Hall parking lot and the Practice Field. The site is an area where the Ohio National Guard, student protestors and an active audience of observers and/or sympathizers ebbed and flowed across a central portion of the campus, beginning at approximately 11 a.m. and ending at approximately 1:30 p.m., May 4, 1970.

For more information on the 40th anniversary of May 4 at Kent State, visit the May 4 Newsroom at A complete list of commemoration events is available on the official university Calendar of Events. Information about Kent State and the 40th May 4 anniversary are also available at

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Photo Caption: A Kent State University student sits at the pagoda on the May 4, 1970, shootings site. On May 4, 1970, the pagoda served as a focal point for the advance and retreat of the Ohio National Guard. The pagoda is part of the site that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and included in the new May 4 Walking Tour. The pagoda appears the same in 2010 as it was in 1970.

Media Contacts:
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595
Bob Burford,, 330-672-8516

POSTED: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 3:26pm