• Lowry's bill

    May 19, 1910 - State Rep. John Lowry's bill establishes funding for two teaching schools in northern Ohio.

  • Kent woos state delegates

    Sept. 27, 1910 - Kent aggressively pursues one of the normal schools. Although there are many missteps, the city seals the deal with the now infamous Bluegill Dinner.

  • City leaders score victory

    Nov. 25, 1910 - The City of Kent beats out 20 other Northeast Ohio communities and lands one of the state schools. Kent Normal School is named after William Kent, who donates his farm land to build the new training school.

  • McGilvrey becomes first president

    July 17, 1911 - The Board of Trustees appoints John E. McGilvrey, a professor at Western Illinois State Normal School, as the university's first president.

  • Groundwork laid for Regional Campuses

    1912 - Ironically, Kent State's first classes are not in Kent. Extension classes are offered in more than 20 centers throughout Northeast Ohio. Some become the basis of Kent State's Regional Campus system.

  • A full academic year

    September 1913 - The first full academic year commences with 144 students enrolled at the Kent Campus.

  • Growth accelerates

    Spring 1914 - Extension course enrollment surpasses 1,600 and Kent Campus reaches 1,378.

  • First graduating class

    July 29, 1914 - Gov. James M. Cox delivers the address at the first commencement where 34 students graduate.

  • McGilvrey's 'Master Plan'

    1917 - President McGilvrey drafts his "Fifty-year Master Plan," transforming Kent Normal School into a university with colleges beyond education.

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  • Flying high

    1920 - Kent State airport opens to the public under the name Stow Aviation Field.

  • Football kicks off

    1922 - Professor Paul G. Chandler coaches the first football team.

  • Begun, this 'credit war' has

    1923 - Ohio State launches a "credit war," refusing to honor transfer credits from Kent State. The Ohio State president is upset over President McGilvrey's battle to get Kent State equal funding with southern schools (i.e. Ohio State and Ohio University) and his campaign to transform the normal college into a university.

  • DeWeese champions health

    1924 - Dr. Arvile C. DeWeese arrives and organizes the Health Services and Health and Physical Education departments.

  • Founding father forced out

    1926 - McGilvrey is ousted, largely in response to the "credit war" and other politics.

  • Cluff Hall?

    1926 - What is now Franklin Hall was once the William A. Cluff Teacher Training School. Cluff, a Board of Trustees member, left the university under controversy. The building's pediment still bears his name.

  • Transitioning from normal school

    1929 - The Ohio General Assembly approves the addition of colleges of liberal arts and the awarding of degrees in arts and sciences at Kent State. Kent State Normal College becomes Kent State College.

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  • 'Bachelor Hall'

    1930s - "Bachelor Hall" houses up to 10 needy students during the Depression. The farmhouse is a remnant of the old Kent Farm and is eventually demolished for Terrace Hall, which, in turn, is torn down for a parking lot. One alumna waited tables at the Robin Hood for 15 cents an hour.

  • Legislature's 'crazy' idea

    May 4, 1934 - With falling state revenues, the Ohio House makes an expedition to Kent State to decide if it should turn the college into a hospital for the mentally ill. Massive protest from school and local officials scraps the idea.

  • Kent State becomes a university

    1935 - Gov. Martin L. Davey, who helped bring a normal school to Kent, signs a bill that adds a school of business administration and graduate programs to Kent State. With this, Kent State College becomes Kent State University. Former President John E. McGilvrey is present at the signing.

  • McGilvrey gets a hall

    1939 - McGilvrey Hall becomes the first new classroom building in 12 years. The Work Progress Administration project comes late due to President James O. Engleman's scorn for President Roosevelt's New Deal.

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  • Kent State enters WWII

    1940-1943 - Enrollment drops from 2,707 in 1940 to 777 in 1943 as students head to war. The faculty population goes from 131 in 1941 to 92 in 1943.

  • War affects campus life

    1942 - Varsity football is suspended after the 1942 season. A howitzer that stands on North campus as a memorial to the World War I dead is donated in a scrap metal drive.

  • University plans for war's end

    1944 - A university committee plans for the postwar boom. Indeed, this boom would come from rapid growth in student population and buildings, shifting the center of campus eastward over the course of 30 years.

  • GIs return

    1945 - The GI Bill of Rights sends more than 10,000 World War II veterans to Kent State.

  • Ritchie makes history

    1947 - Upon joining the Department of Sociology, alumnus Dr. Oscar Ritchie becomes the first African-American appointed to a faculty position at any state university in Ohio.

  • Student Union opens

    1949 - The Student Union opens its doors to students, offering pool tables, a bowling alley, cafeterias, lounges, a book store and a faculty dining room. The building is later renamed in Dr. Ritchie's honor.

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  • 'Atomic Era' classes

    1950s - The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II ushers in the Atomic Age. "Great Atomic Issues" courses grapple with the ability of humanity to control physical forces for great destruction.

  • WKSU signs on

    1950 - The Federal Communications Commission grants Kent State a construction permit for WKSU-FM, which signs on the air for five hours a day at 10 watts and a frequency of 88.7.

  • Bell rings in

    1950 - Erie Railroad donates the Victory Bell, placing it on the Commons near Blanket Hill. An architecture student designs the surrounding brick structure.

  • Enrollment grows

    1955 - The postwar boom continues with student population growing to 6,000.

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  • Black squirrels come to campus

    February 1961 - The superintendent of grounds and a former Davey Tree Expert Co. executive import 10 black squirrels from Canada.

  • McGruder's firsts

    1963 - Robert McGruder, the first black editor at the Daily Kent Stater, graduates. During his career, he works at newspapers in Dayton, Detroit, Akron and Cleveland, where he becomes the first black reporter. He earns the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1984 and passes away from cancer in 2002.

  • Chimney swift flies onto new Kent State seal

    Chimney swift1964 - The bird is chosen to symbolize the university's future as a research institution.

  • Liquid Crystal Institute founded

    1965 - Chemistry professor Glenn H. Brown establishes the Liquid Crystal Institute. Two years later, an institute scientist invents the nematic liquid crystal twist cell, which paves the way for liquid crystal display technologies.

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  • Enrollment reaches new heights

    1970 - Enrollment across all programs hits 21,000.

  • Tallest building in Portage County

    1970 - The new 12-story Library building opens.

  • Tragedy strikes

    May 4, 1970 - Four Kent State studentsexternal site are killed and nine wounded during a demonstration protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The Center for Peaceful Change, now the Center for Applied Conflict Management, is established a year later as a living memorial to the students.

  • The Rock moves to Hilltop Drive

    1972 - As Main Street is widened, workers move the Rock from the devil strip along Main to its present location on Hilltop Drive.

  • Department of Pan-African Studies founded

    1976 - The Department of Pan-African Studies, an academic program structured to provide in-depth study of African cultures, as well as exposure to important issues facing African-Americans, is founded.

  • Phi Beta Kappa membership

    1977 - Nation's oldest and most prestigious honor societyexternal site establishes a chapter on campus.

  • University joins fight against poverty

    1978 - Kent State and several community groups combine forces to build the King Kennedy Community Center in a blighted Ravenna neighborhood.

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  • Flash sprints to victory

    1984 - Former Kent State track star Thomas Jefferson takes a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

  • University School closes

    1982 - The University School, a teachers' training school for many years, closes. Several years later, the building reopens as the Schwartz Center.

  • Moving on out

    1988 - President Michael Schwartz moves into a new off-campus home. The historical Curtiss House, the official residence of presidents since the 1940s, begins its transformation into Williamson Alumni Center.

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  • Cartwright inaugurated

    1991 - Carol A. Cartwright becomes the first woman to serve as president of a state university in Ohio.

  • High honor achieved

    1994 - Kent State joins the ranks of the nation's top institutions of higher learning when it receives a Research University II designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Moulton reopens

    1998 - Moulton Hall reopens after an extensive renovation as the Learning Technologies Center.

  • Rec center

    1999 - The Student Recreation and Wellness Center opens.

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  • New halls for a new generation

    2002 - Centennial Court residence halls open, offering private bathrooms and other amenities modern students expect.

  • Curtis wins Open

    2003 - Kent State alumnus Ben Curtis wins the British Open.

  • Board names Lefton leader

    May 9, 2006 - Lester A. Lefton becomes the 11th president of Kent State.

  • Franklin's converged journalism

    2008 - Franklin Hall renovations are completed, putting TV, radio and print journalism into the same building for the first time.

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  • University Celebrates Centennial

    2010 - Kent State celebrates its centennial year with a range of events and the most successful fund-raising campaign in university history.

  • Regional Academic Center Opens

    2012 - The university opens the state-of-the-art Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg, Ohio, making a college education more accessible to the citizens of Northeast Ohio.

  • College of Podiatric Medicine Acquired

    2012 - The university establishes the Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine in a friendly acquisition of Ohio's only podiatric medicine college. It is one of just nine accredited colleges of podiatric medicine nationwide.

  • Major Expansion Underway

    2012 - The university embarks on a historic, physical transformation of the flagship Kent Campus known as "Foundation of Excellence: Building the Future." The major, multi-faceted initiative comprises new buildings and revitalized classroom, laboratory, studio, performing, living and studying spaces.

  • May 4 Visitors Center Opens

    2013 - The university opened a world-class, multimedia May 4 Visitors Center that places the events of May 4, 1970, in historical, political and social context.

  • Rising Town

    2013 - With the addition of a world-class hotel and conference center; new options for living, dining, shopping and parking; and with a scenic walkway that connects the city of Kent and the Kent Campus for the first time, Kent has earned a reputation as a rising college town – one of America's most vibrant and attractive destinations for students, visitors, businesses and area residents alike.

  • Warren Named New President

    2014 - Beverly J. Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D., FACSM is named as the university's 12th president. Dr. Warren brings more than 25 years experience in higher education leadership.

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Kent State: Through the decades

  • Credits

    Many points on this timeline would not have been possible without the invaluable A Book of Memories: Kent State University 1910-1992, edited by William H. Hildebrand, Dean H. Keller and Anita D. Herington.

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  1. 1910
  2. 1920
  3. 1930
  4. 1940
  5. 1950
  6. 1960
  7. 1970
  8. 1980
  9. 1990
  10. 2000
  11. 2010
  12. Credits
See background