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Kent State Announces Events for 43rd Annual Commemoration of May 4

Posted Apr. 29, 2013

Film Director Oliver Stone, PBS News Anchor Gwen Ifill to Help Dedicate Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center

Kent State University will hold its 43rd annual commemoration of May 4, 1970, with events taking place from May 2-5. The annual commemoration provides an avenue for the university community to come together to remember those lost and injured during the tragedy and also to reflect on the meaning of May 4 for today.

Photo from Kent State University's May 4 CommemorationScreening of May 4th Voices
A preview of the video production May 4th Voices will be held on Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at the Kent Stage in downtown Kent. The production will premiere on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO 45.1/WEAO 49.1) on Friday, May 3, at 10:30 p.m.

May 4th Voices is a play that was written by David Hassler, director of Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center, as part of an Ohio Humanities Council grant from 2009-2010.

“The play stemmed from the ‘Kent State Shootings Oral History Project,’” Hassler said. “There are more than 115 interviews with guardsmen, students, townspeople and politicians that document personal narratives and reactions of May 4 and its aftermath. The voices in the play were woven together anonymously to tell the human story and emotional truth of the tragic events.”

Speakers’ Program, Candlelight March/Vigil and Commemoration
The May 4 Task Force programs are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, in the Kent Student Center Kiva with a screening of the film "Fire in the Heartland." The May 4 Task Force Lecture Panel, featuring David Burstein, William Ayers and Tom Hayden, is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Kiva.

The annual candlelight march begins May 3 at 10:30 p.m. at the Kent State Commons. The march loops the campus and pays tribute to those wounded and lost on May 4, 1970. A vigil follows the march until 12:24 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, with people standing at the spots where the four students — Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder — fell.

The annual commemoration program, also hosted by the May 4 Task Force, occurs May 4 from noon-2 p.m. on the Commons.

Dedication of the May 4 Visitors Center
The commemoration continues with the dedication of the May 4 Visitors Center on May 4, featuring film director and producer Oliver Stone and PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill. Ifill, moderator and managing editor of PBS’ Washington Week and co-anchor of PBS NewsHour, will moderate a panel discussion on the “Historical Significance of May 4 and the Visitors Center,” from 4-6 p.m. in the University Auditorium at Cartwright Hall.

Following the panel discussion, Stone, an Oscar-winning director, producer and screen writer, will share his thoughts on “History and Memory in Film,” based on his films that depict ’60s-era events, from 7:30-9 p.m. Both events with Ifill and Stone are free and open to the public, with seats available on a first-come basis. A reception will follow Stone’s presentation at 9 p.m. in the atrium of Cartwright Hall.

Meet the Designers of the May 4 Visitors Center
An opportunity to “Meet the Designers of the May 4 Visitors Center” will take place from 11 a.m. to noon in the University Auditorium at Cartwright Hall. Cybelle Jones, principal and studio director, and Carl Rhodes, associate and senior exhibit designer, at Gallagher & Associates, will discuss their work on the center. They will talk about how the design helps realize the center’s vision and mission.

“I’m excited about all three events,” said Laura Davis, director of Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center. “People will be interested in hearing from these public figures the place that May 4th has in public memory and the course of American history.”

For more information about May 4, Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center and dedication events for the visitors center, visit For information about the May 4 Task Force and this year’s May 4 Commemoration events, visit

Please note that the following items are not permitted inside the May 4 Visitors Center and University Auditorium:

  • Animals – other than those used as a service animal
  • Baby strollers
  • Backpacks
  • Bags (larger than 14” x 14”) or sealed packages of any kind
  • Cameras, video recorders, audio recorders or other similar electronic devices
  • Umbrellas
  • Food and drink
  • Smoking only allowed outside 
  • Weapons of any kind

To watch a preview video of the dedication events for Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center, visit

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Photo Caption:
A Kent State University student stands vigil around noon on May 4 in the parking lot near Taylor Hall during last year’s May 4 Commemoration.

Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595