PR News Recognizes Kent State's 40th Commemoration of May 4, 1970

University earned a 2010 PR News' Nonprofit PR Award

The work behind this year’s 40th commemoration of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University earned the university a 2010PR News’ Nonprofit PR Award in the event PR category and an honorable mention in the website category.

The Nonprofit PR Awards are presented by the industry publication PR News and are judged by communications experts based on creativity, innovation, sound planning implementation and successful results.

The award-winning commemoration included a dedication ceremony for the May 4 site’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places in conjunction with the new May 4 Walking Tour and a Democracy Speaker program. 

“This year’s team orchestrated the 40th commemoration events to engage and educate the public,” said Tom Neumann, Kent State’s associate vice president of University Communications and Marketing. “The new programming and special events were created to aid the public’s understanding and provide meaning for today of this important moment in American history that occurred on our campus.”

Neumann added that the events also were a way to highlight what Kent State University is today. He accepted the award on behalf of the Kent State team at PR News’ Nonprofit PR Awards ceremony held Nov. 3 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The award-winning event included a ribbon cutting and speeches from Kent State faculty and administrators as well as Franco Ruffini, deputy state historic preservation officer at the Ohio Historic Preservation Office; Sen. Tom Sawyer, Ohio Senate; and Rep. Kathleen Chandler, Ohio House of Representatives. Event attendees included family members of the slain students, the students wounded on May 4 and their families, alumni, university employees, students, members of the community and visitors. 

The Democracy Speaker program featured U.S. Representative John Lewis, who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis talked about the dramatic cultural, social and political changes the nation was going through during the 1960s, leading up to the tragic events at Kent State, Jackson State and other parts of the country.

The dedication event attracted more than 300 people, and the speaker program brought in a standing-room-only crowd in the Kent Student Center Ballroom, which seats 900. 

In addition to the top award in the Event PR category, Kent State received an honorable mention in the website category for its work on the May 4 Newsroom, which was co-created by the university’s media relations team and student-PR agency, Flash Communications. The newsroom features releases, videos, photos and links to social media sites where people could engage in discussion.

More information on the events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State can be found on the May 4 Newsroom at, and information on the May 4 Visitors Center can be found at

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

POSTED: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 2:48pm