Kent State Presents the 2010 Events Marking 40th Anniversary of May 4

Kent State University is presenting a wide range of events to mark the 40th anniversary of May 4, 1970.  On that date, a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the Ohio National Guard on the Kent State campus ended in tragedy when guardsmen shot and killed four and wounded nine Kent State students.

Walking tour marker 2010The following are some of the notable events planned for the 40th commemoration of May 4, 1970. The complete schedule of commemoration events is available on the official university Calendar of Events

May 3

Dedication of National Register of Historic Places Plaque and New May 4 Walking Tour
Kent State Board of Trustees Chair Pat Mullin and President Lester A. Lefton invite the campus and community to the 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. Following a brief program in 214 Oscar Ritchie Hall, the dedication will proceed to the plaza behind the hall for a ribbon cutting. Seating is limited.

  • 3 p.m.
  • 214 Oscar Ritchie Hall, 225 Terrace Dr.
  • This event is free and open to the public.
May 3

2010 Democracy Speaker Program Featuring Rep. John Lewis: "Coming Full Circle: Democracy, Engagement and Social Change"
A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District, John Lewis has been called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced." He has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America.  A private reception, open to the media, will follow the talk.

  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Kent Student Center Ballroom, 2nd floor of the Kent Student Center 
  • This event is free and open to the public. The event will be streamed live via
May 3 – 4

40th Annual Candlelight March and Vigil
Participants assemble on the Commons at 10:30 p.m. on May 3 and walk the perimeter of campus in candlelit silence beginning at 11 p.m. Following the march, a silent vigil the four students fatally shot is kept on May 4 from midnight until 12:24 p.m., the time that members of the Ohio National Guard fired.

  • 11 p.m. (march), midnight - 12:24 p.m. (vigil)
  • Commons (begin march) and Prentice Hall parking lot (vigil) 
  • This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the May 4 Task Force at
May 4

May 4th, 1970 - The Reporters Who Were There
The Press Club of Cleveland and the Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication present an interactive session with reporters and photographers who covered the events of May 4, 1970.

The panel includes:

  • John Filo, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer of the iconic photo of Mary Vecchio and slain student  Jeffrey Miller
  • Chuck Ayers, former editorial cartoonist for the Akron Beacon Journal and former photographer for the Daily Kent Stater
  • Michael D. Roberts, former Plain Dealer reporter and co-author of "Thirteen Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State" 
  • Janet Leach, Kent State journalism professor and former editor of the Akron Beacon Journal


  • Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Program at 8 a.m.
  • Kent Student Center Kiva
  • This event is free and open to Kent State students, faculty, Press Club members and the media. For more information, contact Ed Byers of the Press Club of Cleveland at 330-507-9590 or at
May 4

Remembrance Day Observation and Ringing of the Victory Bell
The annual commemoration speakers program is organized by the May 4 Task force. Speakers include Gerald Casale of DEVO; former Black Panther Bobby Seale; photographer John Filo; May 4 eyewitness Mary Vecchio; and Florence Schroeder, mother of William Schroeder, one of the students fatally shot on May 4, 1970.

  • Remembrance Day Observation, Noon - 2 p.m.; Ringing of the Victory Bell, 12:24 p.m.
  • Commons 
  • This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the May 4 Task Force at
May 4

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Comes to Kent: " . . . Next Stop Is Vietnam: The War on Record"
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will present a special program on music and the Vietnam War. The program includes video, audio and a content-rich PowerPoint presentation. Included on the panel will be singer-songwriter Country Joe McDonald, a veteran and an activist against the war, and Dr. Hugo Keesing, curator of a CD box set of Vietnam War-era music that will be released by Bear Family Records later this spring. Dr. Keesing is a professor at the University of Maryland and a popular culture scholar.

  • 7 p.m.
  • Kent Student Center Kiva
  • This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the 40th anniversary of May 4, including news updates, photos, videos, commemoration events and university resources, visit Kent State’s online May 4 newsroom at

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Photo Caption:
The new May 4 Walking Tour at Kent State University will be dedicated on May 3 at 3 p.m. The walking tour includes interpretive panels installed at seven stops along the walk on the historic site with each trail marker focusing on different key aspects and events from May 4, 1970.

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

**Notes for the Media**

Campus Map: A map of the Kent State campus is available at

Parking: Media parking is available in the Music & Speech Center (off of Theater Drive) lot and in any of the lots in the areas near the May 4 historic site. For TV media with heavy equipment, parking is available in the Prentice R-3 lot (from Midway Drive, make a right onto Theater Drive to enter lot). For information on satellite truck parking, contact Emily Vincent or Bob Burford. Please note that the Prentice Hall parking lot in front of Taylor Hall will not be available for parking due to commemoration activities.

Credentials: We are not issuing media credentials for May 4 commemoration events, but if you do plan on attending or covering the 2010 Democracy Speaker program featuring Rep. John Lewis, please R.S.V.P. to Emily Vincent or Bob Burford. A media reception will follow his talk.

Media Room: Room 146 in Taylor Hall will be set aside for use by the media from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 4.

Television Media: Kent State’s TeleProductions offers complete video services, including live satellite uplink facilities.  For more information contact Mark Warzinski at 330-672-2810 or

TV Stand-Up Area: The university prefers for live and taped stand-ups on May 4 to occur on the eastern side of the Prentice Hall parking lot (with Taylor Hall in the background) in order to preserve the solemnity of the vigil.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 3:14pm