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Special Collections and Archives

May 4 Memorial: Chronology of Events

This chronology provides a list of major events that occurred in the process of establishing a memorial of the Kent State shootings on the Kent State campus. More detailed information can be found in the collection of records relating to the May 4 Memorial Design Competition.

Year  Month/Day  Event 

1982

 

The May 4 Task Force approached Kent State University President Brage Golding with the idea of building a memorial to the four students killed and nine others wounded.

1983

 

Kent State University President Dr. Michael Schwartz received a petition requesting a physical memorial from students and agreed to take the issue to the Kent State University Board of Trustees.

1983

Dec. 9

The Kent Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of a May 4th Memorial Committee. The charge of the Committee was to determine the meaning of the events of May 4, 1970, to the University and to propose a suitable permanent memorial, if the Committee deemed that appropriate.

1984

Feb. 22

Kent State University President Dr. Michael Schwartz appointed 10 members to the May 4th Memorial Committee. Members included two faculty members, two alumnae, the mayor of Kent, a Kent resident, a graduate student, a member of the May 4 Task Force and two administrators.

1984

Mar. 21

The May 4th Memorial Committee held its first meeting.

1984

July 18

The National Secretary of the 37th Division of the Veterans Association wrote Ohio Governor Richard Celeste objecting to the placing of the May 4 Memorial on state property. The 37th Division includes all Ohio veterans.

1984

Dec. 13

The May 4th Memorial Committee held its final meeting.

1984

Dec. 21

The May 4 Memorial Committee presented its unanimously endorsed report to President Michael Schwartz.

1985

Jan. 23

The Kent State University Trustees accepted the May 4th Memorial Committee's report which recommended the development of a "physical memorial" to commemorate further the May 4, 1970, tragedy at the University. After passing a resolution that formally accepted the Committee's report, the Trustees directed President Michael Schwartz "to initiate an appropriate competition" for the design of "a physical ... memorial in keeping with the philosophy and recommendations contained in the report."

1985

Feb. 3

Dr. Bernard Spring, President of the Boston Architectural Center and Consultant for the National Endowment for the Arts, met at Kent with President Michael Schwartz and Dean Harry Ausprich, to discuss the basic issues of design competitions.

1985

Feb. 6

Dr. William E. Shelton, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, sent a three-page letter to 15 of the largest foundations in the nation requesting an appointment to discuss the May 4 Memorial project in order to determine their possible interest in supporting the construction of the Memorial.

1985

Feb. 14

President Michael Schwartz wrote Walter Cronkite asking him to serve as chairperson for the national jury. Cronkite declined.

1985

Apr.

President Michael Schwartz requested that James Dalton, Director of the School of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent, develop a grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts for partial funding of a national design competition for a suitable memorial to the events leading up to and including May 4, 1970.

1985

Apr. 28

Paul D. Spreiregen of Washington, D.C., a fellow at the American Institute of Architecture and the professional adviser for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Competition, was retained as the professional adviser for Kent's design competition.

1985

May 4

United States Senator Howard Metzenbaum gave the keynote address for the annual May 4 commemoration activities.

1985

May 9

Vice President William E. Shelton sent a letter to the National Endowment for the Arts outlining the strategies planned for securing funding for the construction of the Memorial.

1985

Sep. 3

A formal announcement of the national design competition was made. Registration deadline was set for Nov. 30, 1985.

1985

Sep. 27

Kent State University received notification the its $85,000 matching grant proposal for the May 4 Memorial design competition was accepted by the National Endowment for the Arts.

1985

Oct.

A nationally recognized jury of architects, landscape architects, artists and an environmental author was chosen to review and judge entries submitted to the memorial design competition.

1985

Oct. 2

Competition description booklets were printed that contained the official registration forms for the design competition. These booklets were mailed to all inquirers.

1985

Oct. 17

A press release was sent from University News and Information announcing the $85,000 grant received by the National Endowment for the Arts as partial funding for the national design competition for the Memorial.

1985

Oct. 21

Vice President William E. Shelton wrote Tom Hayden in response to his letter indicating a willingness to visit with Dr. Shelton concerning the May 4 Memorial. Shelton specified several meeting dates when he would be available to meet with Hayden in California.

1985

Nov. 5

President Michael Schwartz wrote the members of the competition jury thanking them for their participation and telling them of their responsibilities, schedule and honorarium.

1985

Nov. 30

The deadline for submission of all competition registration forms, which included a $20 registration fee.

1985

Dec. 2

The date the competition program was mailed out to all individual competitors and design teams.

1986

Jan. 6

All design competitors' questions had to have been received by this day.

1986

Feb.

A page-two article appeared in the KENT alumni magazine that was sent to all 85,000 graduates announcing the jury selection for the Memorial.

1986

Mar. 1

All designs for the competition had to have been received by this day. Approximately 698 entries were submitted from all over the country.

1986

Mar. 30

The design competition jury convened and elected Grady Clay, an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects, as its chair. The jury also visited the site for the proposed memorial.

1986

Mar. 31

The jury began to review each of the 698 designs submitted to the competition.

1986

Apr.

The cover story of the KENT alumni magazine was about the winning Memorial design. This issue went to dues-paid alumni.

1986

Apr. 3

The jury finished deliberations and reached its conclusion. The winner of the competition would be announced during a news conference the following day.

1986

Apr. 4

A news conference was held to name the team of Ian F. Taberner of Michigan and Michael G. Fahey of New York as the winner of the national design competition. First prize in the competition was $20,000. A second prize of $10,000 was awarded to Bruno Ast of the firm of Ast and Dagdelen in Chicago, the team leader. The other team member was Thomas J. Rasmussen, a designer with the firm. Three Chicago architects who submitted an entry jointly were winners of the $5,000 third prize. They were Michael J. Wilkinson (team leader), Kevin A. Kemp and Scott D. Bernhard.

1986

Apr. 4

After the news conference, Michael G. Fahey of New York, who along with Ian Taberner had submitted the winning entry to the May 4 Memorial competition, was declared the winner. Taberner announced later that day that he hadn't read the first rule of the competition requiring the competitors to be citizens of the U.S. Taberner was a Canadian citizen at the time of the competition.

1986

Apr. 8

Dr. Michael Schwartz sent a letter to all faculty urging them to contribute to the May 4 Memorial.

1986

Apr. 11

President Michael Schwartz sent a letter to all registered competitors in the Memorial Design Competition telling them of the winners, the disqualification of Ian Taberner due to rule violations and the record-keeping process of their design entries.

1986

Apr. 16

Vice President William E. Shelton wrote Wyman Balfour, Director of Development, with the University's priorities for private fund raising. The May 4 Memorial was listed second of seven priorities.

1986

Apr. 18

Michael Fahey refused the prize. The University consulted the American Institute of Architects, the University's attorneys and the Board of Trustees in an effort to resolve the matter.

1986

Apr. 28

Karl Rohrer Associates, Inc., presented a conceptual design estimate of $660,000 on the Kent May 4 Memorial design of Ian Taberner.

1986

May 5

President Michael Schwartz met with Karl Rohrer to further discuss the feasibility of building the design.

1986

May 10

Vice President William E. Shelton informed the Kent Alumni Board that there were 698 entries in the competition, that Ian Taberner would be paid as a consultant, that Taberner's partner had refused the first-place prize money and that private funds were being raised for the construction of the Memorial.

1986

June

A page-one story appeared in the KENT alumni magazine announcing Robert P. Beck, Director of Legal Affairs, as the person responsible for raising the private funds to construct the Memorial and telling graduates how and where to send their contributions. This issue went to dues-paid alumni.

1986

June 16

Paul Spreiregen wrote President Michael Schwartz that he believed the University's interests were fully protected by the rules of the competition and that he believed Ian Taberner's design could still be used. Mr. Spreiregen outlined three alternatives: sue Taberner; negotiate with Taberner for the use of the design; or drop Taberner's design and use the second-place design.

1986

June 19

President Michael Schwartz went to New York City to meet with a New York financial consultant about possible funding for the May 4 Memorial and the display of the model in New York City.

1986

July 2

The Kent State University Board of Trustees unanimously affirmed the disqualification of the entry submitted by Ian Taberner. At the same meeting, the Board unanimously designated a design submitted by Bruno Ast and Thomas J. Rasmussen as the winning entry in the May 4 Memorial Design Competition. The entry had received second place. The Trustees also moved up to second place the entry submitted by Michael J. Wilkinson, Kevin A. Kemp and Scott D. Bernhard. That entry had received third place. The jury was polled and chose the submission of Peter Lindsey Schaudt for third place.

1986

July 10

Kent President Michael Schwartz issued the statement, "The Ohio Unit of the American Legion seriously misunderstands the purpose of this memorial. The purpose of the memorial is simple. It's a place for peace, reflection, and learning. A device to teach of the past to educate for the future. It is not to memorialize rioting or anything illegal. It's to talk about people and ideas."

1986

July 11

President Michael Schwartz met with Bruno Ast about his design.

1986

July 12

The Ohio Unit of the American Legion considered passing a resolution opposing the construction of the May 4 Memorial.

1986

July 15

Akron Beacon Journal cartoonist Chuck Ayres portrayed the Ohio American Legion as destroying the May 4 Memorial "dedicated to peace and understanding" while blindfolded. This is one of numerous editorial cartoons, editorials and columns by journalists across the country responding to the American Legion of Ohio's resolution.

1986

July 16

President Michael Schwartz mailed Bruno Ast his first-place prize money for the design competition.

1986

July 18

President Michael Schwartz mailed Michael Wilkinson the remainder of his second-place award. President Michael Schwartz went to Washington, D.C., and met with Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum and Representative Dennis Eckart looking for advice and leads on raising the needed construction funds for the Memorial.

1986

July 30

The Fraternal Order of Police in Ohio passed a resolution similar to the one considered by the American Legion.

1986

Aug. 12

State Representative Lynn R. Wachtman (80th District) wrote President Schwartz that his constituents disfavored the Memorial being built on campus and suggested that the site be moved to a park not owned by the taxpayers of Ohio.

1986

Sep. - Dec.

Legal Affairs Director Robert Beck held a series of meetings with the May 4 Task Force to discuss possible student involvement in the Memorial fund raising. Various ideas were proposed for on- and off-campus projects.

1986

Oct. 3

Rock singer Joe Walsh stated at a news conference that he intended to assist in the fund raising for the May 4 Memorial by organizing a benefit concert. The news conference was part of the alumnus' return to campus to perform during Homecoming activities.

1986

Oct.

The Homecoming coverage in the KENT alumni magazine included the announcement that Joe Walsh planned to help raise funds for the Memorial through a benefit concert.

1986

Oct. 8

Bruno Ast signed the standard form of agreement between owner and architect for the building of the May 4 Memorial and its site development. Assistant Alumni Director Harry Tripp followed-up with Joe Walsh to see how the University could help with the benefit concert.

1986

Nov. 7

Bruno Ast sent Lowell Croskey, former Director of Facilities Planning and Design, who is currently Vice President for Facilities Planning and Operations, prints of the preliminary site layout for the Memorial.

1986

Nov. 20

Vice President William E. Shelton wrote Joe Walsh confirming the University's pleasure that he is still interested in coordinating a benefit concert for the May 4 Memorial project and telling him that James R. Watson, Assistant Director of Legal Affairs, would be the University's contact person on the concert. Walsh never contacted the University.

1986

Nov. 24

Lowell Croskey, Director of Facilities Planning and Design, wrote Bruno Ast in response to Mr. Ast's request for information on soil borings, building codes, State Architect's Handbook, University standards and bidding documents.

1986

Nov. 25

The American Institute of Architecture Students adopted a policy statement and recommendation on the attribution and development of architectural design at their annual meeting. Through this statement, the AIAS advocated Taberner's design and advised that the sponsor and architect continue to seek a mutually acceptable contract.

1986

Dec. 3

Robert F. Stamps, one of the students wounded on May 4, 1970, wrote President Michael Schwartz of his anger over Ian Taberner's lawsuit which could jeopardize the Memorial.

1986

Dec. 4

Attorney Ralph Oates wrote President Michael Schwartz that he had been retained by Ian Taberner to pursue his various claims against the University, Board of Trustees and the President for damages as a result of the violation of his civil rights, breach of contract and possible defamation of his professional standing.

1987

Jan.

Robert Beck, Director of Legal Affairs, designated as the chief fund raiser for the May 4 Memorial.

1987

Feb.

KENT alumni magazine featured a story and picture announcing the fund-raising campaign to the 33,000 Kent alumni from the classes of 1968-78. This issue went to all 85,000 graduates.

1987

Feb. 8

Alumni held a jazz concert in the Kent Student Center KIVA to benefit the May 4 Memorial Fund which raised $163.

1987

Feb. 14

Vice President William E. Shelton informed the Kent Alumni Board of Legal Affairs Director Robert Beck's coordination efforts in the fund raising for the Memorial and that a mailing would be sent to alumni from 1968-78 in March asking for contributions.

1987

Feb. 25

The May 4th Task Force invited Bruno Ast to be a guest speaker at the annual May 4 commemoration requesting his reply by March 15.

1987

Feb. 27

Ian Taberner filed a $2 million lawsuit against the University alleging a breach of contract and violation of civil rights.

1987

Mar.

More than 33,000 letters requesting donations to construct the May 4 Memorial at Kent were mailed to Kent alumni. The letters, accompanied by a brochure describing the proposed memorial, were sent to graduates from the years 1968 to 1978.

1987

Mar. 19

The May 4th Task Force overwhelmingly voted to end their position of neutrality and to endorse Ian Taberner and his Memorial design. A press release was issued by the Task Force.

1987

Mar. 23

Lisa Sanders, President of the May 4th Task Force, wrote Bruno Ast to inform him of the group's disappointment that he did not respond to their invitation to speak at the 1987 May 4 commemorative events and to inform him of their decision to publicly support Ian Taberner and his design.

1987

Mar. 24

Bruno Ast wrote Lisa Sanders that he was declining her invitation to speak at the May 4 commemoration ceremonies because he saw himself as an agent in the process, not a speaker on the subject.

1987

Mar. 27

Bruno Ast wrote President Michael Schwartz requesting that his letter of refusal to speak at the commemoration ceremonies be publicized explaining that he was in Los Angeles and could not meet Sanders' March 15 deadline.

1987

Apr. 1

Director of Facilities Planning Lowell Croskey wrote Bruno Ast that there was not suitable Ohio granite or marble for the monument.

1987

Apr. 17

A formal solicitation was mailed to all Kent faculty and staff asking them to donate to the May 4 Memorial.

1987

Apr. 22

Wyman Balfour, Director of Development, met with Sociology Professor Jerry Lewis about may 4 Memorial donor prospects. The list of 20 individuals and foundations was shared with Robert Beck and Vice President Shelton.

1987

May 6

U.S. District Judge John Manos in Cleveland granted the University permission to release the terms of a settlement reached the prior week in the case of Ian Taberner versus the University. Details of the agreement were to remain confidential. Because of misunderstandings resulting from Taberner's remarks to the media about the settlement, Manos said he would permit Kent to make its own statement that the University settled the claim for $15,000.

1987

May 8

The Daily Kent Stater reported that Ian Taberner was awarded $15,000 in settlement of his $2 million lawsuit against the University in U.S. District Court.

1987

May 30

Vice President William E. Shelton informed the Kent Alumni Board that the construction appeal for the Memorial had 320 responses of $13,000 in cash and $8,000 in pledges. He reminded them that $500,000 was needed for the construction.

1987

June 15

Legal Affairs Director Robert Beck, Legal Affairs Assistant Director Jim Watson, and Director of University News and Information Janet Graber met with the publicity director and station manager for radio station WMMS in Cleveland for direction and advice concerning the promotion of a benefit concert in Dix Stadium and the possibility of the radio station's support with publicity. The station indicated the University must arrange for all the details, and take the financial risks. The station also indicated it would consider advertising the event.

1987

July 6

Vice President William E. Shelton sent letters to David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame as a follow up to Mr. Nash's conversations during his Spring appearance on campus concerning interest in the May 4 Memorial project. An invitation is offered for the gentlemen to visit the campus during their summer performance at Blossom Music Center to view the working model and to advise on the feasibility of assisting the University in securing artists also interested in the project.

1987

July 17

Vice President Shelton wrote to 19 foundations across the country which listed peace as one of their areas of interest asking them for financial support for the Memorial construction.

1987

July 27

A scholarship fund representative wrote to Vice President William E. Shelton that the Trust was unable to support the construction of the Memorial.

1987

July 30

Vice President William E. Shelton received a letter form a foundation expressing regret that they could not be of financial assistance in constructing the may 4 Memorial.

1987

Aug.

Letters were received from two other foundations notifying Vice President William E. Shelton that they were unable to consider funding for the May 4 Memorial.

Vice President William E. Shelton and Legal Affairs Director Robert Beck also spoke to numerous student and civic organizations about the May 4 Memorial over the past two years.

1988

Apr. 13

The Memorial Benefit Committee, a new student organization at Kent State University, sponsored an "Evening of Jazz" to raise money for the proposed May 4 Memorial. Approximately $369 ($368.88) was raised.

1988

Apr. 27

Members of the Memorial Benefit Committee attempted to raise money for the May 4 Memorial through a radio station promotional contest. Their submission was not a winner.

1988

Nov. 15

After the University failed to raise the now-estimated $1.3 million - originally $500,000 - necessary to build the May 4 Memorial designed by Bruno Ast, the Trustees passed a resolution limiting the cost of the Memorial to approximately $100,000. Bruno Ast told the Trustees he would design the new Memorial. Funds for the Memorial would come from approximately $40,000 already raised or pledged for the project and some $60,000 to be advanced from University funds.

1988

Dec. 8

William B. Risman, chairman of the Kent Board of Trustees, issued the statement. "No other individual or organization is authorized to raise money separately for the Memorial, unless designated by the administration. Any representation to the contrary is inappropriate and unethical."

1988

Dec. 22

May 4 Memorial donors were mailed a letter indicating only $32,385 actual dollars had been raised for the Memorial. With additional pledges, the total exceeded $40,000. Donors were notified that the Kent Board of Trustees had asked Bruno Ast to design a new Memorial not to exceed $100,000. The letter further asked for additional support. If the donor could not support the memorial, the University would respect their position.

1989

Jan. 25

The May 4 Task Force and a former faculty member tried to block the groundbreaking for the construction of the proposed May 4 Memorial. They asked the Portage County Common Pleas Court to issue a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and a breach of contract complaint. The request for a temporary restraining order was denied.

1989

Jan. 25

A ground-breaking ceremony for a memorial to the events of May 4, 1970, was held on the future site of the memorial, next to Taylor Hall and overlooking the Commons area as the May 4th Memorial Committee recommended in 1985.

1989

Feb. 1

A letter was sent to donors notifying them of the ground-breaking ceremony and providing them with a sketch of the new design. Donations from the first letter represented cash or pledges of nearly $58,000. Donors were also notified that if they could not support the Memorial, refunds would be processed upon written request.

1989

Feb. 5

Attorneys for Kent State University asked the court to dismiss the preliminary injunction and the breach of contract case filed by the May 4 Task Force and a former faculty member.

1989

Feb. 8

The May 4 Task Force and the former faculty member voluntarily asked the court to dismiss the case.

1989

May 11

The Kent Board of Trustees authorized awarding a $149,900 contract to Carmen Construction of Tallmadge, Ohio, for construction of a memorial to commemorate the events of May 4, 1970. The company submitted the lowest bid of three firms that returned proposals.

1989

Sep. 21

At the request of University President Dr. Michael Schwartz, the Kent Faculty Senate appointed members to a commission to coordinate May 4 events in 1990 and plan the May 4 Memorial dedication ceremony.

1989

Sep. 25

The commission appointed by the Faculty Senate adopted the name May 4 Twentieth Anniversary Commission. Dr. Jerry Lewis, professor of Sociology, May 4 author and witness to the shootings, was named co-chair along with Myra West, assistant professor of Physics and chair of the Faculty Senate. Members of the Commission eventually included four faculty members, one emeritus professor, a member of the May 4 Task Force, the Undergraduate Student Senate, the Graduate Student Senate and an administrative staff member.

1989

Oct. 26

Kent President Michael Schwartz sent the Commission its formal charge.

1990

Jan. 18

A news releases was issued announcing former U.S. Senator and 1972 Democratic nominee for president George McGovern had agreed to speak as part of the May 4 Memorial dedication ceremony.

1990

Jan. 26

A news release was issued announcing the May 4 Memorial dedication would be held on May 4, 1990, at 11 a.m. As in past years, classes beginning at 12:05 p.m. and 1:10 p.m. would be canceled in remembrance of the tragedy. Because of the dedication of the Memorial, the president also authorized the cancellation of classes this year beginning at 11 a.m.

1990

May 4

The May 4 Memorial Dedication Ceremony was held. Governor Richard F. Celeste, George McGovern, Dean Kahler, and Florence Schroeder were special members of the platform party. Faculty and administratration speakers included Myra R. West, Henry L. Halem, Richard A. Bredemeier, Jerry M. Lewis, Michael Schwartz, and William B. Risman. The establishment of four student scholarships named in honor of the slain students was announced. Governor Celeste apologized to the families of the students who were killed and to those who were wounded.

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