Residents cite May 4 as top Ohio event in last 75 years

Sara Scanes

Ohioans choose the Kent State shootings in a newspaper poll

With a memorial in place outside Taylor Hall, lighted markers in the Prentice parking lot and a visitor center in the works, it is obvious Kent State has not forgotten about the shootings of May 4, 1970.

The event made the front page in 1970, and stories still revisit the topic today.

To Roseann Canfora, adjunct professor and witness to the May 4 shooting, the event is more than just a striking headline.

“I can’t think of another moment in Ohio that was so instrumental in changing the course of human events,” Canfora said.


1. Kent State May 4 shootings of 1970.

2. Neil Armstrong of Wapakoneta walks on the moon in July 1970.

3. Ohio mourns the death of President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in Nov. 1963.

4. Jesse Owens, who attended Ohio State University, wins four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games.

5. The blizzard of Jan. 1978 buries most of Ohio.

6. Ohio contributes to the war effort after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

7. The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 kills all seven crew members, including Judith Resnik of Akron.

8. Tornado destroys Xenia, Ohio, in April 1974.

9. The Cleveland Indians win the 1948 World Series against the Boston Braves.

10. Ohio struck by the nation’s worst blackout in August 2003.


According to the Ohio Newspaper Association’s poll on, Ohio residents agree with Canfora.

The Ohio Newspaper Association named the May 4 shooting at Kent State the top Ohio news story of the last 75 years, after Web site visitors voted on a list of 75 major events.

Over the three months the poll was active, 317 votes were cast. The poll was limited to Ohio residents only, which accounted for the low number of votes, said Frank Deaner, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association.

As of yesterday, the Web site has had 5,510 unique visitors since it was activated Oct. 4, Deaner said.

Alan Canfora, director of the May 4 Center and one of the nine students injured during the shooting, said he was not surprised to hear the shooting topped the list.

“It has always been my feeling that it was the number one event,” he said. “Nothing comes close.”

The May 4 incident had a historical impact as well, Roseann pointed out.

“It was an extraordinary student movement that stopped the war in its tracks,” she said. “Six weeks later, Nixon withdrew troops.”

The shooting also helped trigger the only nation-wide student strike, Alan said.

“It was a historical rebellion,” he said.

Freshman criminal justice major Matthew Bloom agreed with the Canforas, as did freshman accounting major John Flood. Both students felt the incident was important enough to top the ONA’s list.

“Everyone should know about it so it never happens again,” Flood said.

Sophomore English education major Kevin Mulvany disagreed somewhat.

“I believe it is the top moment in Kent State University history. However, I do think there have been more important events in Ohio history,” he said.

According to the ONA press release, the site will remain active through February, which will mark the association’s 75th anniversary.

Contact general assignment reporter Sara Scanes at [email protected].