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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Entertains Sold-Out Crowd at Kent State

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Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks with Kent State students in
the planetarium at Smith Hall during his Kent State visit.

Neil deGrasse Tyson brought his rock-star charisma and passion for science to Kent State University on Wednesday, Sept. 25, with a freewheeling lecture calling for greater scientific literacy and more national emphasis on research.

Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, was the first Presidential Speaker on campus this academic year. The speaker series brings world-renowned experts to the university to spark discussion about world issues. Tyson has received 18 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal; he hosts science programs for PBS but is also a frequent, bantering guest on The Colbert Report.

In his Kent State talk, he called himself “a vessel for the universe to express itself,” as he corrected popular misconceptions about science and provided his perspective on how “An Astrophysicist Reads the Newspaper,” the title of his talk.

“He’s reaching out to people who never thought they’d like science,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton in his introduction of Tyson.

Tyson poked fun of recent media accounts about the Harvest Moon, such as a headline reading, “How to See the Full Moon on Sept. 18.” 

“Do you really need help to find the full moon?” he asked.

And he deflated breathless reports about the “super moon” last summer and pending catastrophe stories, such as alarming reports about asteroid strikes and “close encounters” that miss Earth by 600,000 miles.

“There are always asteroids coming near us,” he said.

The danger of these reports, he said, is that “they will run out of adjectives for the one that’s really going to hit Earth,” the Apophis asteroid that could give Earth a “buzz cut” in 2029 and could hit near Santa Monica, Calif.,  in 2036.

“We have plans to deflect it,” he said, adding, “This all works on paper – no one has funded it yet.” Even so, the tsunamis and damage that would result are predictable by scientists: “You can calculate this. No one has to die,” he said.

He urged greater attention toward finding engineering solutions to pending problems and focusing the national attention on science. Too often, our “national hubris” or scientific illiteracy prevents us from seeing that science and technology can provide solutions, he said.

Showing a map of the world that inflated the size of countries based on the number of peer-reviewed scientific articles they publish, Tyson pointed to a bloated United States, Japan and Western Europe. But the trend line, from 10 years ago to today, shows a shrunken United States and a burgeoning Western Europe, China, Japan and Brazil.

“The writing is on the wall,” he said of the latter. “This is a map of economic strength.”

Padding around the stage in his socks (he likes to be nimble when he speaks, he said), Tyson engaged an enthusiastic audience, wading into the aisles to take questions and polling it for information. Earlier in the day, he held a question and answer session with students at the Kent State Planetarium.

His passion for science prompted an art major at the lecture to tell him that he looked beautiful when he responded to a question about the best image he’s seen, out of his many observations of the solar system:  “I want to see a quark; I want to see an electron,” he answered, reaching out to the questioner.

Citing the late Carl Sagan, who called the Earth “a lonely speck in the great cosmic dark,” Tyson underscored our need to cherish the Earth, deal compassionately with each other, and learn.

The Tyson lecture was co-sponsored by the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs and the College of Arts and Sciences. The next talk in the Presidential Lecture Series, on Nov. 14, will be by authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

Posted Sept. 30, 2013 | Cindy Weiss

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Kent State’s Vice President for University Relations Selected for Fulbright Award

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Kent State University’s Vice President
for University Relations Iris E. Harvey
has been selected for a U.S.-France
International Education Administrators
Seminar award by the J. William Fulbright
Foreign Scholarship Board.

Kent State University’s Vice President for University Relations Iris E. Harvey has been selected for a U.S.-France International Education Administrators Seminar award by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The board is made up of 12 members appointed by the president of the United States. With this award, Harvey joins the ranks of other distinguished Fulbright alumni who have participated in the program since its inception more than 60 years ago.

The Fulbright International Education Administrators seminars provide selected senior administrators with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about the host country’s higher education system as well as to establish networks of U.S. and international colleagues. Grantees return home with new relationships, deeper understanding of other higher education systems and the enhanced ability to serve international students and encourage prospective education-abroad students.

Harvey oversees Kent State’s global branding initiatives and directs university communications, marketing and media relations, regional engagement and corporate affairs. She, along with 11 other selected administrators from across the United States, will spend three weeks in October in France with stops in Bordeaux, Paris, and Strasbourg where they will visit with 12 universities, meet with French and European Union officials and attend events with industry and U.S. Embassy representatives.

“It’s a great honor to receive a Fulbright grant, and I am appreciative of Kent State’s support of this recognition,” Harvey said. “In addition to the incredible opportunity to dialogue with officials from a dozen universities in France, I am also excited about meeting and learning about how my counterparts at these institutions are developing public-private partnerships and helping to transform their regional economies. That’s something extra I can bring back to Northeast Ohio.”  

A resident of Stow, Ohio, Harvey has been with Kent State since 2008. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and Master of Business Administration in international marketing from the University of Southern California, as well as an education specialist degree from George Washington University. Before joining Kent State, Harvey held senior marketing positions in higher education at Wright State University and the University of Maryland University College; was the CEO of an international consulting firm she founded and operated in Japan for nearly a decade;  and held a vice presidency positions at Citigroup Global Consumer Bank Group.

For more information about Kent State’s Division of University Relations, visit

For more information about the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program, visit

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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Longtime WKSU Supporter Honored on Station’s 63rd Anniversary

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Kent State University has named Oct. 2, 2013, Lee Irving
Day at the university, in honor of Irving who was a longtime
supporter of WKSU.The station marks its 63rd anniversary
on that day.

Kent State University has named Oct. 2, 2013, Lee Irving Day at the university. That day also marks WKSU’s 63rd anniversary. The station began broadcasting in 1950 from a single ring antenna mounted on a 50-foot pole attached to a chimney on the roof of Kent Hall. Irving, who died earlier this year, was a longtime supporter of WKSU and past chair of the station’s Community Advisory Council (which he joined in 1996). Irving retired in 2006 from KeyCorp, where he served in several capacities, including 10 years as treasurer and 12 years as chief accounting officer.

WKSU called on Irving to use his management skills to assist in refining the structure of the volunteer Community Advisory Council in securing gifts during WKSU’s Endowment Fund Campaign, and again when he co-chaired the station’s Sound of the Future capital campaign with former Kent State President Carol Cartwright. He and his wife, Linda, were true friends to staff and vital cheerleaders for the station and public radio as WKSU expanded its signal to reach listeners in 22 counties in Northeast Ohio, growing to have the largest radio broadcast area in the state. Although Irving is and will continue to be missed, his legacy with WKSU will remain for decades to come.

For more information about WKSU, visit

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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Artistic Director of Historic Karamu House Named Director-in-Residence at Kent State’s African Community Theatre

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Terrence Spivey, artistic director of the
Karamu House, a historic performing arts
center in Cleveland, Ohio, has been named
director-in-residence at Kent State’s African
Community Theatre.

With plans for two entertaining and inspirational performances this academic year, the Kent State University African Community Theatre (ACT) recently welcomed its Director-in-Residence Terrence Spivey, artistic director of the Karamu House, a historic performing arts center in Cleveland. Spivey’s work seeks to “educate, inspire and entertain diverse audiences in thought-provoking ways,” he says.

“My vision for ACT is for it to be a collegiate theatre program to be reckoned with in Northeast Ohio and beyond to the highest standards of professionalism,” Spivey says. 
At Karamu House, Spivey also currently serves on the board of trustees as second vice chair for Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. Founded in 1915 and originally named “Settlement House,” Karamu House is the oldest African-American theatre in the United States. Many of Langston Hughes’s plays were developed and premiered at the theatre, and many notable actors got their start there, including Bill Cobbs, Minnie Gentry, Robert Guillaume, Dick Latessa and Ron O’Neal.     

Spivey is a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Scholarship Committee and recently became board member for AUDELCO Awards in New York City. He was honored in 2011 with a proclamation by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and a resolution by Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell for his contributions to the arts locally, regionally and nationally.

The fall 2013 production of No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs, written by John Henry Redwood, will be directed by Spivey and runs from Nov. 21-24 and Dec. 6-8 in Ritchie Hall on the Kent Campus.  The play is set in Halifax, N.C., where the Cheeks family, Rawl and his wife, Mattie, and their two daughters, makes its home. The year is 1949, and the title refers to signs commonly posted in the region in that era. The Cheeks are visited by Yaveni, a Jewish scholar from Cleveland, who is researching the effects of prejudice on both blacks and Jews, and by Aunt Cora, a mysterious local black woman who wanders around, wrapped in a black garment, and has a dark secret. Rawl takes off for Alabama to work as a gravedigger. While he is gone, Mattie is raped, and after his return, she tells Rawl she's pregnant. What happens next displays the strength and determination one woman was able to hold on to during that time in America.

Established in 1970, the Kent State African Community Theatre brings awareness and appreciation of the experiences of people of African descent as illustrated through theatrical performances. The African Community Theatre welcomes community participation regardless of gender, sexuality, race, class and/or ethnicity.

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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Last Chance to Share Your Feedback About Kent State's Website

You have until Tuesday, Oct. 1, to give your feedback on the Kent State University website by taking a five-minute online survey. Feedback from the survey will be used to make future website enhancements. All participants will be entered into a drawing for one of five $15 Starbucks gift cards.  Follow this link to the survey.

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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Kent State Women’s Center Offers Mammograms, Oct. 8-10

The Kent State University Women’s Center will offer mammogram screenings to qualified Kent State employees, spouses and students on Oct. 8, 9 and 10. Registration is required by Oct. 3.

Mammograms take approximately 12 minutes and will be conveniently provided in the Tiffany Breast Care Center’s mobile mammography unit. The van will be located on the Kent Campus in front of the Women’s Center.

Each participant’s health insurance will be billed or participants may choose to self-pay.

For questions or to schedule an appointment, call the Women’s Center at 330-672-9230.

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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Important Information About Final Grading of Fall 2013 First Five Weeks (F1) Classes

Online final grading for Fall 2013 First Five Weeks (F1) courses meeting from Aug. 26 through Sept. 29 began Thursday, Sept. 26, via FlashFAST. Grading is also now available for any fall 2013 course section that was flexibly scheduled and has an end date no later than Sept. 29. The deadline for grading submission is midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Any final grades for Fall 2013 First Five Weeks (F1) courses not reported in FlashFAST by the grades processing deadline will have to be submitted using the Grade Change Workflow.

Incomplete Mark and NF/SF Grades:
The administrative mark of IN (Incomplete) may be given to students who are unable to complete the work due to extenuating circumstances. To be eligible, undergraduate students must be currently passing and have completed at least 12 weeks of the semester. Graduate students must be currently earning a C or better grade and are unable to complete the required work between the course withdrawal deadline and the end of classes.

The grade NF (Never Attended–Fail) denotes that the student neither attended one class session nor formally withdrew from the course. The grade SF (Stopped Attending–Fail) denotes that the student stopped attending the course and did not formally withdraw and must be accompanied by a date of last attendance in the course.

For complete information on university grading policies including Incomplete Mark and NF/SF grading policies, procedures and timelines, please visit the Grading Policies and Procedures section in the university catalog at

Grades Processing Tips and FAQ may be found on the Office of the University Registrar's website at Any faculty member needing personalized instruction on submitting their grades via FlashFAST should contact their campus Registrar's Office during normal business hours for assistance.

To access FlashFAST, login to FlashLine from (click FlashLine Login from top right menu bar) then click the Faculty & Advisor Tools tab. Locate the Faculty Toolbox, and select Final under the Submit Grades heading.

Troubleshooting TIP: FlashFAST is accessible from any Internet-capable computer that has the cookies function enabled. We recommend that you clean out your cookie and cache files regularly to help your computer run faster and to potentially restore and/or improve your access to FlashFAST and/or FlashLine by improving your connection to the server. Our Helpdesk is prepared to offer assistance with these issues. Please contact them at 330-672-HELP (4357) for one-on-one assistance and technical issues.

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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Kent State’s Net Impact Chapter Assembles Recycled Chairs to Promote Sustainability

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Kent State University student members of Net Impact
assemble recycled lumber chairs that were subsequently
placed at several locations around the Kent Campus. Net
Impact is a nonprofit organization that promotes

Graduate students from Kent State University’s Net Impact chapter assembled 14 Adirondack chairs made out of recycled plastic on Sept. 7. Net Impact is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability in the workforce. Kent State’s chapter, which consists of about 15 members, resides in the College of Business Administration.

The parts for the plastic lumber chairs, supplied by Campus Enhancement funds, were put together outside the Kent Student Center and then placed around campus.

“One of the goals of the project was to create awareness with Kent State and the student body,” says Stephanie Berry, president of Net Impact. “A lot of people don’t know much about sustainability, so projects like this get people interested and give us an opportunity to share what we do.”

“An organization can choose to do well by encouraging positive actions, and Net Impact is one of the organizations that are leading the way in that,” says Cathy DuBois, Net Impact faculty advisor.

This is the third year the organization is involved in the project. In all, they have assembled 38 chairs.

Net Impact has several events planned for the future, including business tours to the Great Lakes Brewing Company and Harry London, guest speakers, a sustainability conference and a fundraiser to support local businesses in downtown Kent.

For more information about Net Impact, visit

Posted Sept. 30, 2013 | Amanda lang

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Kent State’s Office of Global Education Offers New Language Series Program

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The Survival Language Series, sponsored
by Kent State University's Office of Global
Education, offers a crash course on basic
language skills.

Kent State University’s Office of Global Education is sponsoring a new event open to all students, faculty and staff at no cost. The Survival Language Series will offer a crash course on basic language skills every other week during the semester.

Each week’s session will be taught by a native language speaker, and each event will offer a different language. The next event of the semester will teach Mandarin Chinese and will take place Friday, Oct. 4, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room 206 of the Multicultural Center in the Kent Student Center. Hungarian language will be featured on Oct. 18 at the same time and location.

If you are interested in leading a class, have any questions or would like to RSVP, contact Alana Baudo in the Office of Global Education at For future Survival Language Series events, please refer to the International Student and Scholar Services calendar at

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

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