Welcome Back Spring 2020

Kent State University

January 16, 2020

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,

Happy New Year!

We had a great fall semester. Our Giving Tuesday campaign shattered previous records, raising more than $1.6 million, and in December, I joined Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner as Kent State was awarded a $2 million Choose Ohio First grant to support computer science and related fields and to strengthen Ohio’s workforce. Critics raved about the Kent State production of the musical “Hair,” and Endicott College recognized our Division of Student Affairs for its program to help students who are parents. We moved up three spots on the U.S. News & World Report list of Top Public Universities, our field hockey team won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season title and first-year head coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer was named MAC Coach of the Year. Last but not least, the Kent State football team won the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, the first bowl game victory in Kent State history. Go Flashes!

50th Commemoration of May 4
This year will be a profound and distinct one for Kent State as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings.

The next five months will be filled with important and memorable activities culminating on the May 4 weekend when our campuses will feature more than 65 events, speakers and exhibits.

I strongly recommend everyone take part in as many of these activities as possible so that we all may play a role in transforming the tragedy of May 4, 1970, into a productive effort that will honor our past and set a course for the future in which we avoid political polarization, encourage peaceful discourse, practice the skills of empathy and compassion, and stay true to our core values of respect and kindness for all.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 
Our upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations will provide a fine launching point for our May 4 commemoration, as we know the civil rights movement of the 1960s gave birth to the anti-war movement of the 1970s.

To honor the legacy of Dr. King, I hope many of you will take part in our day of service on Monday, Jan. 20, and attend our Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Friday, Jan. 24, when television host, author and political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry will be our featured speaker.

These events provide the perfect lead-in for the observance of February as Black History Month, which was founded at Kent State by our university chapter of Black United Students, and first observed here 50 years ago — another slice of our history that makes Kent State such a special place to live and learn.

Helping Students Always
I know that today, there are so many faculty and staff members in our university community who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Kent State remains a vital institution of higher learning that promotes diversity, equality and inclusion and — most important — stands ready to help and support our students in every way possible.

I urge all students to take full advantage of the multitude of resources and services available on campus, whether it be academic advising and tutoring or counseling to maintain a healthy mental perspective. We want you to succeed, and we stand ready to make sure you reach your highest goals and potential from your freshman year until you don your cap and gown.

Flashes Forever
In closing, I remind everyone that you are part of our university family of students, faculty, staff and alumni. We share the collective experience of Kent State, and we remain ever mindful that "Flashes Take Care of Flashes." We are here for you, whatever your situation might be. Don’t hesitate to reach out — I promise your university family will respond.

And speaking of the Golden Flashes, don’t forget to show your school spirit by taking part in our Blue and Gold Fridays here on the Kent Campus, or other Blue and Gold days designated at our Regional Campuses.

Let’s make it a great semester!

With best regards, 
Todd Diacon