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Associate Professor Susan Taft’s first memory of teaching was as a doctoral graduate student standing in front of a class of students, trying to keep her knees from knocking and her hands from shaking. Now, after enthusiastically teaching at Kent State University for more than two decades, Taft has earned one of the 2011 Distinguished Teaching Awards, which is awarded to full-time tenure track faculty who demonstrate extraordinary teaching.

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What’s Your Favorite Ray’s Place Memory?

Posted Jan. 16, 2012 | Foluke Omosun

Kent State professor seeks memories of downtown Kent restaurant as it celebrates 75th anniversary

enter photo description
Memories of downtown Kent restaurant and pub Ray's Place
will be the subject of a book by Kent State Associate Professor
Patrick O'Connor. Ray's Place has been a popular hangout
location for the Kent State community for many years.

Do you recall going into Ray’s Place in downtown Kent, but never remember coming out? If you have similar stories or other fond, funny, sentimental or weird memories of Ray’s Place, you have the opportunity to share them in a book that commemorates the restaurant’s 75th anniversary.

Kent State Associate Professor Patrick O’Connor, School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies, is authoring a book that tells the story of Ray’s Place, a popular relaxation spot for the Kent State community. Having worked at Kent State for more than 25 years, O’Connor has been a witness to the changes that have occurred over the years in downtown Kent and sees the story of Ray’s Place as part of the rich history of the City of Kent and of Kent State.

“A lot of changes have taken place in downtown Kent, but here is one restaurant that has been here a long time and has been a magnet for alumni, staff and students,” O’Connor says. “I marvel at how popular Ray’s Place is, especially during Homecoming, and the tremendous loyalty of its customers. Sharing the stories of the restaurant’s employees and customers for the past 75 years is something unique and worth celebrating.”

The bulk of the book is going to be stories shared by employees and customers, and proceeds from the book will support the Ray’s Place Entrepreneurship Scholarship program for Kent State’s College of Business Administration.

Charles Thomas, owner of Ray’s Place and Kent State College of Business Administration alumnus, who gave his blessing for the book, said celebrating 75 years shows that the business has stood the test of time.

“For many years, Ray’s Place has provided Kent State students, faculty, staff and the Kent community a place they can go to for great food, drink and fun,” Thomas says. “It has also been a place where they can come back to after graduation. Kent State and Ray’s Place complement each other ... we both run a fine institution. Whenever Kent State officials travel around the country to meet alumni, often times, one of the first questions they get is ‘How is Ray’s Place?’”

O’Connor’s son is also involved in producing the book. Patrick O’Connor, a Kent State alumnus and former political cartoonist for the Daily Kent Stater for many years, will provide illustrations for the book.

Submissions for the book can be made via the Ray’s Place website. An option to submit memories anonymously is also available on the website and contributors have the opportunity to suggest a title for the book, which will be published in spring 2013 by Black Squirrel Books®, an imprint of the Kent State University Press.