May 4 Memorial ChronologyPrepared for the Internet by Mikhail Slobodinski and Jennifer Schrager
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.
Dec. 9, 1983
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, 1984
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.
March 21, 1984
The May 4th Memorial Committee held its first meeting.
July 18, 1984
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.
Dec. 13, 1984
The May 4th Memorial Committee held its final meeting.
Dec. 21, 1984
The May 4 Memorial Committee presented its unanimously endorsed report to President Michael Schwartz.1985
Jan. 23, 1985
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."
Feb. 3, 1985
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
Feb. 6, 1985
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
Feb. 14, 1985
President Michael Schwartz wrote Walter Cronkite asking him to serve
as chairperson for the national jury. Cronkite declined.
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.
April 28, 1985
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
May 4, 1985
United States Senator Howard Metzenbaum gave the keynote address for
the annual May 4 commemoration activities.
May 9, 1985
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.
Sept. 3, 1985
A formal announcement of the national design competition was made. Registration
deadline was set for Nov. 30, 1985.
Sept. 27, 1985
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.
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.
Oct. 2, 1985
Competition description booklets were printed that contained the official
registration forms for the design competition. These booklets were mailed
to all inquirers.
Oct. 17, 1985
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.
Oct. 21, 1985
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.
Nov. 5, 1985
President Michael Schwartz wrote the members of the competition jury
thanking them for their participation and telling them of their responsibilities,
schedule and honorarium.
Nov. 30, 1985
The deadline for submission of all competition registration forms, which
included a $20 registration fee.
Dec. 2, 1985
The date the competition program was mailed out to all individual competitors and design teams.1986
Jan. 6, 1986
All design competitors' questions had to have been received by this
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.
March 1, 1986
All designs for the competition had to have been received by this day.
Approximately 698 entries were submitted from all over the country.
March 30, 1986
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.
March 31, 1986
The jury began to review each of the 698 designs submitted to the competition.
The cover story of the KENT alumni magazine was about the winning Memorial
design. This issue went to dues-paid alumni.
April 3, 1986
The jury finished deliberations and reached its conclusion. The winner
of the competition would be announced during a news conference the following
April 4, 1986
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.
April 4, 1986
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
April 8, 1986
Dr. Michael Schwartz sent a letter to all faculty urging them to contribute
to the May 4 Memorial.
April 11, 1986
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.
April 16, 1986
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.
April 18, 1986
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.
April 28, 1986
Karl Rohrer Associates, Inc., presented a conceptual design estimate
of $660,000 on the Kent May 4 Memorial design of Ian Taberner.
May 5, 1986
President Michael Schwartz met with Karl Rohrer to further discuss the
feasibility of building the design.
May 10, 1986
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
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.
June 16, 1986
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
June 19, 1986
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.
July 2, 1986
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.
July 10, 1986
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."
July 11, 1986
President Michael Schwartz met with Bruno Ast about his design.
July 12, 1986
The Ohio Unit of the American Legion considered passing a resolution
opposing the construction of the May 4 Memorial.
July 15, 1986
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.
July 16, 1986
President Michael Schwartz mailed Bruno Ast his first-place prize money
for the design competition.
July 16, 1986
The Akron Beacon Journal reported that an Arizona man planned
to include the names of the four students killed at Kent on May 4, 1970,
on his monument honoring all demonstrators killed during protests related
to the Vietnam War.
July 18, 1986
President Michael Schwartz mailed Michael Wilkinson the remainder of
his second-place award.
July 18, 1986
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.
July 30, 1986
The Fraternal Order of Police in Ohio passed a resolution similar to
the one considered by the American Legion.
August 12, 1986
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
Sept. - Dec. 1986
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.
Oct. 3, 1986
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.
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
Oct. 8, 1986
Bruno Ast signed the standard form of agreement between owner and architect
for the building of the May 4 Memorial and its site development.
Oct. 8, 1986
Assistant Alumni Director Harry Tripp followed-up with Joe Walsh to
see how the University could help with the benefit concert.
Nov. 7, 1986
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.
Nov. 20, 1986
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.
Nov. 24, 1986
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
Nov. 25, 1986
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.
Dec. 3, 1986
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.
Dec. 4, 1986
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
Robert Beck, Director of Legal Affairs, designated as the chief fund
raiser for the May 4 Memorial.
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.
Feb. 8, 1987
Alumni held a jazz concert in the Kent Student Center KIVA to benefit
the May 4 Memorial Fund which raised $163.
Feb. 14, 1987
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.
Feb. 25, 1987
The May 4 Task Force invited Bruno Ast to be a guest speaker at the
annual May 4 commemoration requesting his reply by March 15.
Feb. 27, 1987
Ian Taberner filed a $2 million lawsuit against the University alleging
a breach of contract and violation of civil rights.
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.
March 19, 1987
The May 4 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.
March 23, 1987
Lisa Sanders, President of the May 4 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.
March 24, 1987
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.
March 27, 1987
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.
April 1, 1987
Director of Facilities Planning Lowell Croskey wrote Bruno Ast that
there was not suitable Ohio granite or marble for the monument.
April 17, 1987
A formal solicitation was mailed to all Kent faculty and staff asking
them to donate to the May 4 Memorial.
April 22, 1987
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.
May 6, 1987
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.
May 8, 1987
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.
May 30, 1987
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
June 15, 1987
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.
July 6, 1987
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.
July 17, 1987
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.
July 27, 1987
A scholarship fund representative wrote to Vice President William E.
Shelton that the Trust was unable to support the construction of the Memorial.
July 30, 1987
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.
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
April 13, 1988
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.
April 27, 1988
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.
Nov. 15, 1988
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.
Dec. 8, 1988
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."
Dec. 22, 1988
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, 1989
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.
Jan. 25, 1989
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.
Feb. 1, 1989
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.
Feb. 5, 1989
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.
Feb. 8, 1989
The May 4 Task Force and the former faculty member voluntarily asked
the court to dismiss the case.
May 11, 1989
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.
Sept. 21, 1989
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.
Sept. 25, 1989
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
Oct. 26, 1989
Kent President Michael Schwartz sent the Commission its formal charge.1990
Jan. 18, 1990
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.
Jan. 26, 1990
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.
Numerous meetings were held with individuals, corporate heads and foundations by University officials over a five-year period to try to raise private funds to build the Memorial.