May 4, 50th Commemoration

50th Commemoration of May 4

The annual May 4 Commemoration provides an opportunity for all to remember and honor the tragic events of May 4, 1970 that occurred on the Kent State University campus. It was on that day that members of the Ohio national guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam war killing four students and wounding nine others. The upcoming 50th May 4 commemoration in 2020 represents a significant and historic milestone not only for the university but for the country as well. Beginning in the fall of 2019 and continuing through May 4, 2020, Kent State University will honor the 50th commemoration with a year-long observance of educational programs and events in addition to the traditional commemoration activities. 


Chic and Alan Canfora discuss the impact of the university’s decision to assume responsibility for the annual May 4 Commemoration. Both were students who were present at the shootings; Alan is one of nine students who were wounded.

50th Commemoration Update

The 50th commemoration of May 4, 1970 represents not only an important milestone in the history of Kent State University, but also a landmark moment in the history of our country.

To date, more than 60 programs, exhibits, speakers and special events are planned for the year-long observance. These programs and events cover the wide range of perspectives relating to the history, legacy and education of May 4, 1970.

As we begin this historic year, it is important to remember that we have a great responsibility to use the lessons of the past to guide us and inspire us for the future. The 50th commemoration will not only remember and honor those who lost their lives or were wounded in 1970, but will continue to shape our commitment to the teachings of open dialogue and respectful civil discourse.

Todd Diacon
President, Kent State University

  • We are planning a weekend of meaningful, educational and commemorative events including panel discussions, films, speakers, music, art & photo exhibits, tours and more. Events will begin Friday afternoon (May 1) and continue through the end of the traditional noon commemoration on Monday, May 4, 2020 (including the annual candlelight walk and vigil).

  • At the start of this semester, all incoming freshmen had to read two books on May 4th, 1970. The Student Success Program and Design Innovation Initiative partnered to create a unique opportunity for students to creatively express their reactions to the Common Reading Experience.

  • Did you miss an event? You can now view videos from some of our featured events and speakers of the year-long observance of the 50th commemoration of May 4, 1970.