Redirect - Democracy Symposia

Learn About The History Of May 4

The tragic events of May 4, 1970, had a profound impact on Kent State University, the nation and the world. In the ensuing years, Kent State's learning community has honored the memories of Allison KrauseJeffrey MillerSandra Scheuer and William Schroeder with an enduring dedication to scholarship that seeks to prevent violence and promote democratic values from public service to civil discourse.

The university's national leadership role in promoting nonviolence and other democratic values extends to 1971, when the Center for Peaceful Change was established to generate research, teaching and community outreach focused on nonviolent conflict resolution. The center has since been renamed the School of Peace and Conflict Studies. The May 4 Resource Center, established in 1973 in the library, houses materials documenting May 4 and serves as a public reading room and memorial. 

Students and scholars are encouraged to read "The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy" by Dr. Jerry M. Lewis and Dr. Thomas R. Hensley.

The university hosts a biannual symposium on democratic values to commemorate the events of May 4, 1970. 

Scholarships named to honor the four students were established in 1990 and are awarded to students in Kent State's Honors College. On May 4 each year, classes recess from noon until 2 p.m. as part of an official Day of Remembrance.

A university committee, established in 1984, recommended that a permanent memorial be built and indicated "the site should present the visitor with the opportunity to inquire into the many reasons and purposes of the events that led to the killing and wounding of students on May 4, 1970, and to encourage a learning process to broaden the perspective of these events."

A national design competition was initiated in 1985, and the design of Chicago architect Bruno Ast was selected for the memorial. The memorial was dedicated on May 4, 1990. Ast said, "It is my hope that this memorial will provide visitors with an opportunity to rekindle memories of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder and to reflect on the impact of these events beyond the Kent State Campus. We learn from the past with hope for the future." In 1999, permanent markers were placed in the Prentice Hall parking lot to designate where the students fell. Find out more about reflections on the events of May 4, 1970, on the Kent State University Campus by visiting thememorials and observances page.

The Kent State University community welcomes visitors to the historic site of the events of May 4, 1970, and invites all who visit our campus to inquire into how such a tragedy could occur; to learn the lessons of nonviolence, tolerance and civility; and to reflect on ways to create a more peaceful, more just world.

A public May 4 Visitors Center, located in the former offices of the student newspaper, the Daily Kent Stater, and within the May 4, 1970, site and steps away from the memorial, opened in 2012.  Read more about the May 4 Visitors Center.

To find individuals with expertise in areas such as wars, nonviolence, or additional information on the subject of May 4, 1970, search the online guide to experts.

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