BGSU in the Aftermath of the Kent State Shootings


“The next ten days will tell us more about the destiny of this University than anything that has happened before,” said Bowling Green State University President William T. Jerome from the steps of Williams Hall to a crowd of over 500 students. It was May 4, 1970, just four hours after the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of Kent State University students, killing four.

BGSU President William T. Jerome speaking to students after the Kent State shootings

Just under 150 miles to the west, Bowling Green was as far away from Kent as two Ohio cities could be, but when President Jerome ensured that BGSU became the only major Ohio institution to remain open in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, the two would be united by their significance in a particularly tumultuous period of United States and Ohio history.

This exhibit takes viewers through the images and documents of those tense ten days, from the student newspaper, to the posters student protesters used to rally support, to the correspondence dispatched by proud and outraged parents alike, and to the delicate decisions made in the wake of the crisis.


This exhibit was curated by Zack Burton, second-year graduate student in BGSU's History MA program, during the 2017 spring semester. Staff technical support was provided by Elizabeth Hertenstein, Cataloger and Metadata Librarian, and Nick Pavlik, Curator of Manuscripts and Digital Projects.
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