KSU launches $250M campaign

Allison Smith

Event begins centennial celebration

Students spoke of their experiences at Kent State between song and dance numbers at the end of the Centennial Campaign Launch and Celebration to commemorate the university’s first 100 years yesterday. Administrators are hoping to reach their fundraising g

Credit: DKS Editors

More than 400 people gathered to celebrate the launch of the public portion of Kent State’s Centennial Campaign.

Alumni such as Cindy Kurman Barrie, who owns her own public relations business, Kurman Communications, came back to help celebrate.

“There isn’t any day that I don’t do something that I learned at Kent,” Barrie said. “And I use it as a barometer when I’m interviewing people to see what they know versus what I knew at that time because I really knew a lot when I got out of school.”

Barrie said she resides in Chicago and is involved in the local alumni association.

“One of the people from Kent came in and was telling me about this event that we’re at right now,” Barrie said. “He asked me if I wanted to come, and I had really wanted to come and see the new communications school because I had been reading about it.”

The basketball courts of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center were transformed from a recreational facility to a fancy dining area. There were several large screens that speakers were projected on to, lights that changed colors and faux marble tile.

Ron Pizzuti is the Centennial Campaign chair and a 1962 Kent State graduate.

“I’ve watched with tremendous pride as the university has taken great strides forward and seen first hand what can be accomplished when the Kent State community comes together and works toward a common goal,” Pizzuti said.

The goal of the Centennial Campaign is to raise $250 million to go mostly toward scholarships and changes in physical aspects of the university.

According to the press release, more than 69,000 supporters committed more than $167 million toward the centennial campaign; two-thirds of the ultimate goal.

Roe Green was another alumna who attended the centennial event. Green made the largest capital donation in the university’s history. The money went toward the Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance.

She said she donated the money because the school needed it.

“I just love the people at the theater department and the dance department. I think they’re wonderful,” Green said.

Green received her graduate degree in theater from Kent State. She serves on the advisory board for the School of Theatre and Dance.

“I have a philosophy of life,” Green said. “I have five oranges, I eat one, I save one and I give the other three away. And you know what, everything I give away, it comes back ten fold.”

Students who participated in the Kent State University Gospel Choir performance last night said they will be affected by the new collaborative performing arts facility.

“I’m pretty excited about it because it gives the theater people a chance, a better place to perform,” said Kelsey Letourneau, a freshman early childhood education major.

Letourneau said the gospel choir performed a piece called “Be Blessed” and, in collaboration with theater students, a song from the musical “Rent.” Other acts included dance and spoken word. More than 100 students collaborated in the performances.

Iris Harvey, vice president of university relations, helped raise money for the Centennial Campaign and planned last night’s event.

“It’s wonderful. This is a fantastic night,” Harvey said. “I won’t say it exceeds our expectations because we have high expectations. We had a wonderful turnout. I’m seeing so many donors and friends and alumni.”

Barrie said she enjoyed seeing the new communications facilities.

“It’s very impressive, I mean, the building is impressive. All the technology is impressive,” Barrie said. “It was fun talking to the students today when we went in and talked to people.”

The event also included speeches by Barry Fetterman, Kent State University Foundation chairman and President Lester Lefton.

Contact administration reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].