From Ohio History Central
The Ohio General Assembly approved the charter for Kent State Normal School in 1910. During the Progressive era, reformers were placing increasing emphasis on education. Many teachers did not have advanced training, and normal schools were opened to provide training and professional development for teachers. Kent State was one of several institutions of this kind supported by the state of Ohio during this era.
Kent State Normal School was located on land donated by William S. Kent, the grandson of the original founder of the community of Kent, Ohio. Enrollment at the school grew rapidly, and soon the school was renamed the Kent State Normal College. When the college began to offer programs of study beyond education, it was renamed Kent State College. In 1935, Kent State began to offer graduate courses after the state granted it university status.
Kent State University was the first state university in Ohio to appoint an African American to a faculty position. One of the school's own alumni, Dr. Oscar Ritchie, became a member of the Sociology Department in 1947.
One of the things that the university is most known for is the tragic end to a student protest on May 4, 1970. Students were protesting the United States' bombing of Cambodia when Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire. Four students were killed and nine were wounded in the incident. Kent State received international attention and student photographer John Filo won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the aftermath. In 1971, the university established the Center for Peaceful Change, which is now known as the Center for Applied Conflict Management.
In 1991, Kent State University became the first state university in Ohio to appoint a woman as its president. President Carol A. Cartwright was also inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1992.
Today, Kent State is known as a Doctoral/Research University-Extensive. This designation places it among the elite public research institutions in the United States. Kent State University will celebrate its centennial in 2010.