A blog from the desk of the University Archivist at Kent State University


 Kent State University Archives


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!


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