Year in review, lata 2006!

Remember Y2K, that fateful myth of 1999?

Sometimes it seems like just yesterday we were stockpiling water and canned goods, contemplating building bomb shelters in our basements and freaking out about computer crashes. But it’s been almost seven long years since the start of this millennium. With 2007 fast approaching, we found it only fitting to reflect on 2006 before it too is relegated to cobwebs and almanacs.

University administrators rang in the new year with President Carol Cartwright’s retirement at the forefront of their minds. After a rigorous — and highly secretive — selection process, finals week in May saw the announcement of Kent State’s 11th president, former Tulane Provost Lester Lefton. The new president started fall semester relatively slowly, meeting with campus constituents and sending weekly e-mail updates to the entire Kent State community. Lefton’s biggest decision to date came last week when he announced he’d condense commencement ceremonies into one larger May celebration, but negative student response caused him to quickly reverse the decision. We’ll wait to see how the president finishes out his first year and breathe sighs of relief at getting our graduation ceremonies back.

Sept. 11, 2006, marked the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. TV specials and big-screen reenactments had everyone’s memory hurtling back to that fateful day half a decade ago when terrorists shattered our sense of safety. Five years later, we have rebuilt both homes and hope, but we may never recover entirely.

Even though it wasn’t a presidential election year, the midterm elections kept our attention for much of the summer and fall. The Buckeye State, (in)famous for going red in 2004 and helping grant George W. Bush another four years of presidency, and the U.S. House and Senate did a U-turn and went blue after November’s election. Ohioans, including many college students, also turned out to ban smoking and raise the minimum wage.

Entertainment ruled in 2006 — YouTube blasted onto the online scene, allowing do-it-yourself cameramen and would-be celebs (including the Stater‘s own Ben Breier) to post every ridiculous idea on the Web for all of America’s viewing pleasure. In September, students banded together to protest Facebook’s “news feed” feature, demanding Mark Zuckerberg respect our right to privacy — and succeeded. TomKat and Brangelina popped out kids, K-Fed became Fed-Ex, and celebutante Paris Hilton tried to be more than just a pretty face by releasing an album.

Kent State sports gave us something to cheer about, too — our basketball team won the Mid-American Conference Championship and made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament, even though ultimate victory eluded them. The football team broke an 11-game losing streak to finish the season 6-6, 5-3 MAC. Tailgating returned, and so did our school spirit.

All told, 2006 was a year of change and growth. It was a period of rebuilding for some and starting fresh for others. The year may be ending, but we still have much to look forward to in the coming months. Sayonara, 2006, and may 2007 give us even more to write about.

The above is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.