Alumni across America

Lisa Davala

Credit: DKS Editors

Over the past 100 years, Kent State has affected many lives. The map above shows the number of Kent State alumni throughout the United States. Below, four alumni describe how Kent State brought them to where they are today.


Studying during the Vietnam War

Jim Walters graduated in 1969 with a degree in psychology and a minor in biology. That was the time when students were demonstrating against the Vietnam War, Tri-Towers were brand new and 18-year-olds were allowed to drink beer downtown.

Walters said Kent State helped him to overcome his shyness, become more self-confident and make new friends from around the country.

“Working with a psychology professor as a lab assistant allowed me to really get to know what psychology was all about,” Walters said. “I also got to know other psychology undergrads and graduate students. This spurred me on to want to go to graduate school in psychology.”

After being accepted to many grad schools, Walters chose Michigan State, where he completed his master’s and doctoral degrees. From there, he went on to Yale University to do a postdoctoral fellowship.

“I am still in the field which I decided to major in 42 years ago,” Walters said. “I have spent my entire career in psychology. Today, I am a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania.”


Experiencing May 4 and civil rights movements

Larry Pasquale graduated when Fraternity Circle was being constructed. He left Kent State in 1973 with a business administration and marketing degree and has gone far with it – literally, to California.

“Kent gave me opportunities to develop my skills,” Pasquale said. “I headed frat events, formed leadership as president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and was involved in the Student Affairs Council.”

Pasquale said the May 4 shootings and events surrounding them are some of the most vivid memories from his freshman year. He remembers “the students burning the ROTC building” and the “soccer and rugby field across the road.”

Pasquale was selected by Who’s Who Among Students during his junior and senior years.

“I was very active on campus,” Pasquale said. “With the fraternities, we were able to form common relations between the black and white frats. Although we were different races, we were still Greeks with a lot in common.”

Pasquale said Kent State has proven to be a great college, leading him to be an active alumnus in both the university and fraternity.


Living in the time of the typewriter and cable-free residence halls

Steve Shannon said the scene at Kent State during the ’80s included 25-cent slices of pizza at The Loft, cable-free residence halls, using a typewriter and the “coolest technological invention” for it: auto-correct tape.

He remembers one Kent State staple: Gyro Bob’s stand across from Ray’s – the same stand set up today for late-night binges.

Shannon, a Maryland native who currently resides in New Jersey, said Kent State was a fabulous place to get an education and midwestern experience.

“Kent gave me the ability to be an effective communicator. I learned to write clearly and concisely, and I am always complimented on my writing,” Shannon said. “I had a great professor with clever teaching techniques for Composition Writing 103, a class my dad made me take that ended up being worth the entire value of my tuition.”

A 1986 graduate, Shannon said he took his communications degree to Washington, D.C. to get sales experience at an office furniture store. After acquiring experience, he took a job at BurellesLuce, a media relations group, where he has worked his way up to become executive vice president of the company.


Watching Michael Schwartz move on to great success

Don Snyder was able to get a unique perspective of Kent State. As a student and faculty member, he said the connections he made were extremely fulfilling.

Snyder said he was able to get a lot out of the well-known higher education administration program, where he was able to take classes from influential people.

One impact for the 2002 graduate was the opportunity to take classes instructed by Michael Schwartz. Snyder said while he was working as a career specialist at Kent State, he was able to watch Schwartz gain more success as the president of Cleveland State University.

While he worked at Career Services, Snyder said he was able to gain experience that he took with him to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where he is currently a career counselor.

“I loved working with the staff,” Snyder said. “They are team-oriented, and it was an opportunity to work with people who cared about each other and the students.”

The opportunity to work with students, to watch them progress and move on to different areas was also a great experience, Snyder said.

When Snyder was not in class or working, some of his best memories include a standing noontime staff basketball game in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. He said it was a way to keep in shape but also keep in touch with other departments.

Contact alumni affairs reporter Lisa Davala at [email protected].