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Kent State Tradition: The "Rock"

Posted by [email protected] on August 31, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (1)


In an article printed in the Daily Kent Stater on January 25, 1979, the “Rock” made its first appearance in 1922. Cecil Bumphrey (a retired heating engineer) said, while on his way to classes at Kent High School, he noticed a few men prepping to bury the rock. The rock had previously been uncovered by a maintenance crew during a campus cleanup. A few moments later, he witnessed KSU President John McGilvery emerge from his office and tell the men, “they weren’t going to bury the rock.” The boulder was then moved in front of Moulton Hall. The rock remained in that location until it was transferred 100 feet from the street onto the grass in the mid-70s.

It was fraternities and sororities who first adopted the “Rock,” racing to paint their Greek letters to alert students of their presence on campus! But the rock belongs to no one, as it has become a bit of a “free for all” as student groups rush to cover it in eye-catching hues, while highlighting upcoming concerts, football games, to breast cancer awareness.

However, the “Rock” is not without controversy. It was covered in derogatory comments about Vietnam in 1968, anti-gay graffiti in 2001, offensive images targeted at Delta Lambda Phi sorority, and a swastika in the wake of a Black United Students led protest pertaining to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Yet the “Rock” will remain an important piece of Kent State history and tradition for many generations, serving as a symbol of unity, pride, protest, celebration and remembrance. I look forward to seeing the power of the “Rock” this year!


Kent/Blossom Music Festival

Posted by [email protected] on May 7, 2015 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

By: Payge Reynolds


The Kent/Blossom Music Festival is an advance training institute for professional music training operated by Kent State University in cooperation with The Cleveland Orchestra and Blossom Music Center presenting public performances by distinguished artist faculty and talented young musicians.The event, which is hosted by the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music, is among the most respected summer professional training festivals in the country. The 2015 season of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival will run from June 28th through August 1st.


 Photograph of a concert at Blossom Music Center, possibly the Cleveland Orchestra performing. Photograph dated 1975.


The program has also released their own CD, titled Summer Sounds Opus 1, which was recorded live at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival in 2012, and features a collection of classical pieces such as Mozart’s String Quartet No. 14, K 387a, and Rathbun’s Phases.

A vocal/instrumental chamber music coaching session at the Blossom Festival School. Photograph taken during the late 1970’s.


May 1st, 1970: 3 Days Before May 4th

Posted by [email protected] on April 8, 2015 at 11:05 AM

By Payge Reynolds

May 1st, 1970: A beautiful spring day. Many students spent the afternoon attending classes, while other students congregated at the Victory Bell located behind Taylor Hall, listening to those addressing the crowd, and protesting the Vietnam War by burying the Constitution. The United States had been in “conflict” with Vietnam since 1965, which angered many Americans. Anti-War sentiments ran high across the country, but college campuses nationwide were fertile soil for political unrest and student protests.

Students, Professors, and reporters attend demonstrations held on the student commons. Photograph taken May 1st, 1970.

Kent State was no different. On the Commons, a rally took place where a number of speakers made emotionally-charged calls in solidarity to bring an end to the war and to criticize Nixon’s presidency. Some students watched, listened; others participated and gave speeches themselves. It was this sort of student activism seen around the country that gave the 60s its reputation, and it was also these events and demonstrations that in three days’ time, would make Kent State University a school known around the world.

A closer view of protestors, including speakers on the Victory Bell adressing the crowd on May 1st, 1970.

A large group photo of the students attenting the demonstrating at the student commons on May 1st, 1970.


April 28th, 1970: 8 Days Before May 4th

Posted by [email protected] on April 8, 2015 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

In the April 28th issue of the Daily Kent Stater, an article was published about a silent protest, which happened the previous day, organized and held by Black United Students (BUS). The protest started from the old Ward House and ended at the Administration Building . The BUS organization in addition to Students for Democratic Society (SDS) was one of the most politically active groups on campus in the late 60s and early 70s. 

BUS organizes a march in response to unfair treatments of Black students on campus in November, 1968.

With the tensions surrounding the Vietnam War across the country, Kent State was a hotbed of political activity and protest during the months of April and May, 1970. BUS’s march to the Administration building and their demands to provide a cultural center and enroll five-thousand Black students by the fall semester only added to high tensions around campus.


Kent State Shootings and their Aftermath: Through the Media's Lens

Posted by [email protected] on March 21, 2015 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

On October 15, 1969, approximately 3,500 individuals marched through Kent State University and into downtown Kent, to support the National Moratorium on the Vietnam War. Protesters sung “Give Peace a Chance,” while holding banners and signs that read, “Stop the War Machine,” and “Bring All the Troops Home.”

But nearly seven months later, on May 4, 1970, Kent State University gained international attention when thirteen students were shot, four of them fatally, by Ohio National Guardsmen during a rally against the U.S invasion of Cambodia. This event, along with the killings at Mississippi’s Jackson State just days later, sent shockwaves around the world and would have long-term effects on American culture, the student protest movement, and other social justice movements in the following years. Legal battles related to the shootings would ensue as well as protests about the meaning and physical management of the site where these young students were wounded and killed by representatives of their own government.

In honor of the 45th commemoration of the Kent State Shootings, the Department of Special Collections and Archives’ feature exhibit examines the media’s coverage and interpretation of the anti-war movement beginning with the National Moratorium on the Vietnam War in the fall of 1969, to the Kent State shootings, the Scranton Commission, through the controversy surrounding the building of the gym annex in 1977.

So, feel free to visit the Department of Special Collections and Archives on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1-5 p.m and Wednesday from 1-8 p.m. Or, take time to go through the May 4th collection to learn more about this transformative period in American history, with historical documents that include eyewitness accounts, photographs, newspaper clippings, artifacts, memorabilia, and so much more.

We Shall Never Forget!

Special Note: We will be commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the Kent State Shootings all through April and May with posts highlighting the university’s anti-war activity in the months leading up to May 4 and ending with the Gym Annex controversy.

She Got Game!

Posted by [email protected] on January 11, 2015 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Girls in bloomer pants and high-collared sailor shirts led the way for Women’s Basketball at Kent State!

Intercollegiate athletics did not arrive at Kent until the 1930s; therefore students participated in intramural sports as a means of competition. However, female athletes were forced to play under modified conditions, such as half court play and only three dribbles of the ball at a time. The women athletes competed under a cloud of stereotypes (such as being frail and weak), which infiltrated how they were allowed to compete. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm of the sport continued to spread amongst many of the women at Kent, as teams bore names such as: Red Terror, Lucky Strikes, Blockheads, and the Whippets! 

This squad of eight women modestly dressed in high-necked blouses with sailor collars, and bloomer pants, were one of the earliest all-female basketball groups created in 1914!

Women’s Basketball at Kent State has generated a roster of phenomenal athletes over the years, including Mary Bukovac, who landed the title of MAC Player of the Year in 1989 and won first team all-conference honors twice!

If you are a sports enthusiast or want to learn more about Kent State Women's Basketball, review the following resources in the Department of Special Collections and Archives, on the 12th floor of the Kent State library, Go Flashes!

Gilgenbach, Cara and Theresa Walton. Kent State University Athletics. Images of Sports series. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2008. 128pp

Basketball (Women). Kent State University Libraries. Special Collections and Archives

Flash in Time: Kent State Airport

Posted by [email protected] on November 5, 2014 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Did you know the Kent State University's Andrew W. Paton Field was the first airport in Summit County.

As open houses continue for public feedback on the future of the Kent State University airport, it seemed like a perfect time to do a brief "flash in time," on the history of aviation at Kent State University! 


The Kent State University's Andrew W. Paton Field opened in 1920 under the name of Stow Aviation Field. However, before Kent State University purchased the aiport in 1943, it saw quite a bit of turbulence! The field was created by The Ohio Flying School and Transport Company, and $100,000 worth of stock was paid out.  A portion of that money was used to lease thirty acres of farm land from Fred Smith and to construct a hangar to house the school's four Jenny airplanes. But in 1921, The Ohio Flying School and Transport Company went bankrupt, and it would face bankruptcy again after being purchased by Joseph Ash.

In 1925, A.T. Simmons and Hugh Robbins formed the Robbins Flying Service, which built a small hangar in 1930 after the original hangar burnt down in 1927. Though this field had its share of ups and downs, aviation legends such as Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacher, and Floyd Bennet were known to have used the field. However, financial woes hit again in the early 1930's, forcing the Robbins Flying Service to suspend operation.


Soon there was a new operator by the name of Frankie C. Renner, who formed Stow Flying Field, Inc. This made her one of the first, if not the first, female airport operators on record. In 1939, Rudy Van De Vere purchased the 78 acre farm from Smith and the airport became known as Stow Field. By 1940 three sod runways were in use. In 1945 Van De Vere built the terminal building and then in 1947 he erected the large army surplus hangar on the field. The University purchased the airport from Van De Vere in 1943 and renamed it the Kent State University Airport. In 1966, the name of the field was changed to Andrew W. Paton Field to honor the professor who taught the University's first aerospace course in 1947.


Currently, the university uses the airfied to support its Aeronautics Program, which is one of 32 accredited aviation education programs available worldwide.

For more on the history of the Kent State University aiport, visit the Department of Special Ciollections and Archives



Get on the Bus: Kent Campus Bus Services

Posted by [email protected] on July 30, 2014 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)


The beginning of the fall semester is around the corner and there will soon be groups of students shuttling back and forth, using the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority (PARTA)/Campus Bus Services (CBS).

Initially, the (CBS) was designed to alleviate parking and traffic problems at Kent State University. The CBS started with seven buses and a maintenance area in an open parking lot outside the old stadium, which is currently the student center parking lot. The Campus Bus Service now has a fleet of more than 30 buses.



Passengers and driver pose in an early convertible bus with a handmade sign, "Normal School Fair 5 cents." Kent's first dormitory, Lowry Hall was not ready for occupation and so students commuted to campus from Twin, Brady and Silver lakes

In the seventies, the bus system expanded its routes. The bus carried students and community members to every location on campus. Many buses in the CBS fleet also installed "state-of-the-art gilligs (power lift entrances to enable disabled students to ride all CBS routes)."

For more information of the history of CBS please visit the Department of Special Collections and Archives or read its interesting history in  A Book of Memories, edited by William H. Hildebrand, Dean H. Keller, and Anita D. Herington.

Kent/Blossom Takes Center Stage

Posted by [email protected] on June 5, 2014 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The sound of "sweet music" hit the Blossom Music Center for the first time on July 19, 1968, under the guidance of George Szell, the musical director of the Cleveland Orchestra.Coming in at a cool $6.5 million, it was touted as one the most ambitious cultural endeavors in northeastern Ohio history to be realized.

Under President Robert I. White, the Blossom Festival School emerged as a collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra's Blossom Music Center. The Kent State University faculty in conjunction with the Cleveland Orchestra musicians became a hot commodity, as students from all over the world competed for a chance to study under the newly created partnership.

By 1971, the Porthouse Theatre was created--thanks to a gift from Cyril Porthouse, an industrialist. Summer nights were soon filled with captive audiences, listening to musicals and enjoying a plethora of comedies and dramas!

Cartwright blazes trail in Ohio

Posted by [email protected] on March 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


In 1991, Carol Cartwright became the first female president to serve at a state university in Ohio. As the tenth president of Kent State, Cartwright decided her presidency would include remodeling scholarship and committing the university to cultural diversity. Members of the search committee were quoted, as being blown away during the interview process--her "can do optimism," was exactly what the committee hoped to have in a candidate. The Board of Trustees was rumored as having a mandate to cultivate corporate donors, a task Cartwright met effortlessly. Cartwright quickly established the Founder Scholars Program, which grew to $1 million dollars a year after her inauguration.

Cartwright was born in 1941 in Sioux City, Iowa. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and her master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Before arriving at Kent State University, she was the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of California at Davis. Cartwright also maintained leadership roles in a variety of other avenues, including the chair of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Higher Education and served on the boards of the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the American Association of Colleges and Universities and National Public Radio.

During her first year at KSU, Cartwright was diagnosed with breast cancer, and was faced with the challenge of requiring immediate surgery. However, within five-days she returned to her presidential duties and would become an advocate for breast cancer research! By 1992 Cartwright developed KSU’s Diversity Planning Committee, which overtime resulted in more staff posts held by members of historically underrepresented communities. Additionally, during Cartwright’s tenure, the campus saw a wide range of expansion projects, including the development of what is now called the Wellness Center, renovations to various departments, such as geography, anthropology, sociology and the creation of ultra-modern residence halls in the 90s.

Cartwright faced some challenges during her presidency, including a rancorous relationship with faculty during a 1999 “protracted collective bargaining” disagreement where there were issues surrounding salaries and faculty members intellectual property. In 1998, students protested the university’s plans to change the parking lots adjacent to Taylor and Prentice Hall, an area close to where the Kent State Shootings of May 4, 1970 occurred. Cartwright later decided to place commemorative markers honoring the four slain students.

After fourteen years of service, Cartwright announced her retirement in 2005, but by 2009 she became the President of Bowling Green State University. In 2002, KSU renovated the University’s Auditorium and renamed it in honor of Cartwright. 

Source: A Most Noble Enterprise: The Story of Kent State University, 1910-2010 by William H. Hildebrand