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. 

President Warren's Message

Beginning in the fall of 2019 and continuing through May 4, 2020, Kent State University will observe the 50th commemoration of the tragic events that occurred on May 4, 1970. The impact of those events continues to affect and influence generations.

It is with deep regret that I share the news that I have accepted the resignation of Associate Professor Stephanie Smith as chair of Kent State's 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee. While I respect her decision, I regret that we will not have the benefit of her insightful leadership. Stephanie inspires her students and the Kent State community through her advocacy for and commitment to our core values of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas.

It is my sincere hope that Stephanie's resignation reminds us all of the importance to engage with one another across differences through respectful dialogue and a commitment to the strength of civility in our discourse. During this 50th Commemoration year, I am confident that our community will come together to set a positive example of the importance of civility and respect even when we vehemently disagree, continually highlighting the dangers of polarization and the powerful impact of reconciliation.

I have asked President-elect Todd Diacon to address the leadership of the Commemoration Advisory Committee as he assumes his new role on July 1.

With warm regards,
Beverly J. Warren

- Posted May 22, 2019

  • For so many individuals, the events of and surrounding May 4, 1970, remain a vivid memory nearly 50 years later. We invite you to discover a diverse collection of stories, poems, personal reflections and some class projects that help us all to inquire, learn and reflect on that day.

  • Below are some recent updates, news articles and stories published by Kent State University about the 50th commemoration.

  • Receive updates or volunteer to help with this very special historic event. There are numerous ways you can help including providing programming ideas, participating on committees, helping at events and more. We also need your help in raising national awareness for the 50th commemoration. Please click the link below to sign-up to help.