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Honoring Mothers, Mentors and Muses

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The Women’s Center at Kent State University will hold the
annual Mothers, Mentors and Muses Scholarship Fundraiser
reception on March 6.

On Tuesday, March 6, the Women’s Center at Kent State University will host the annual Mothers, Mentors and Muses Scholarship Fundraiser reception. The event will take place at the Kent Student Center Ballroom at 5 p.m.

The event looks to honor women nominated as any of three roles: a mother – someone who has helped “birth” new ideas and thoughts in others and has also served as an overall nurturing individual, a mentor – an individual who has been both a role model and a trusted counselor to others, or a muse – an individual who has inspired both creativity and academic enthusiasm in others.

Previously, 88 Kent State women have been nominated and honored. This year, 2011 honoree, Randi Schneider, Ph.D., will speak at the event.

The Women’s Center, which was established in 1996, has been focused on advancing women in their academic careers. Funds raised at the event will fund $500 scholarship awards for two Kent State University female students. This scholarship has benefitted 16 students since its introduction in 2003.

Registration to attend the event deadline is Feb. 29. Early bird registration ends Feb. 20.

For more information or to register for and donate to the scholarship fund, visit

Posted Feb. 20, 2012 | Jessica Smeltz

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Kent State University to Sponsor Youth Honors Band Series on Campus

The School of Music will host an onsite music clinic for area youth music groups

Kent State University’s Hugh Glauser School of Music will continue to sponsor the Fab Friday series in collaboration with the Division of Bands and the Department of Music Education at Kent State. Each event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon, and includes an ensemble warm-up and introduction by the group’s conductor, a session led by music education students, program rehearsals and one-on-one instruction with applied music faculty.

The series will continue on Friday, Feb. 24, with the South Euclid Lyndhurst Memorial Middle School Honors Band.

Fab Friday programs offer the opportunity for young students to bring instrumental music groups to the School of Music to work with the conducting staff, applied faculty, graduate assistants and music students. The 2011/2012 Series will serve four more area bands and orchestras, ranging in experience from elementary to high school levels.

“Not only do these students get the opportunity to refine their playing skills and prepare for concert or large group adjudicated events, but it also introduces hundreds of students to our students, faculty and campus,” says Marcus Neiman, assistant professor of music education at Kent State and coordinator for the Fab Friday program.

In addition to the South Euclid Lyndhurst Memorial School Honors Band, the following schools will also participate:

  • Beachwood City Schools Strings (Lisa Katz, conductor), March 3
  • Green High School Wind Ensemble (Amy Rach, conductor), March 30
  • Crestwood High School Wind Ensemble (Kate Ferguson, conductor), April 13

Fall 2011 Fab Friday ensembles included Bedford High School Orchestra (Shawn Nichols, conductor), Akron Garfield High School Orchestra (Alissa Fullen, conductor), Cleveland Heights High School Concert Orchestra (Dan Heim, conductor), and Bedford Middle School Band (Jennifer Shauf, conductor).

Posted Feb. 20, 2012

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The Kent State School of Theatre and Dance Continues Season With Ragtime

A story that personifies societal change during early 20th-century America through character relationships

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Ragtime personifies societal change
during early 20th-century America
through character relationships.

Kent State University's School of Theatre and Dance, in collaboration with the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music, presents the emotionally-charged musical, Ragtime, based on the novel written by E. L. Doctorow in 1975. Directed by Eric van Baars, the show will run from Feb. 17-26, at the E. Turner Stump Theatre in the Music and Speech Center at 1325 Theatre Dr. This concert version follows the original story with the addition of a scaled-down orchestra, which is under the musical direction of Jonathan Swoboda, musical director for the School of Theatre and Dance, and Kerry Glann, director of Opera for the School of Music.

Ragtime is an epic tale of three families struggling to protect the ones they love. The music packs an emotional punch,” says van Baars. “Bring tissues — it will be the best cry you’ll ever have!”

Ragtime is a story about life during Progressive-era America at the beginning of the 20th century. The show illustrates the issues of the time — from immigration, racism and politics to industrialization and social chaos — through the intermingling of characters and familiar historical figures. Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington and Henry Ford connect with the story’s characters in unpredictable settings to add an unusual literary component.

“Just as in Doctorow’s compelling novel, the historical figures ground the characters in the reality of the times,” says van Baars. “More importantly, the historical figures provide inspiration and spiritual guidance for the characters.”

An associate professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, van Baars teaches Movement and Acting. He has directed productions of Oklahoma, The Diviners, Lysistrata, On The Verge, Honk!, The Wild Party, and A New Brain. He also serves as assistant artistic director of Porthouse Theatre where he has directed Pump Boys and Dinettes and Dames at Sea and choreography for Once On This Island, Big River, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Fantasticks. He is a member of the Actors Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers.

Shows run Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. The box office is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. and one hour prior to each performance. For tickets or more information, call 330-672-2497 or visit The box office accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, checks and cash. Tickets are $8 students, $12 seniors (60+), $14 for faculty, staff and Alumni Association members, and $16 for adults. Groups of 10 or more are $7 per person.

Kent State students get 500-point FLASHperks day at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Posted Feb. 20, 2012

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Award-Winning Play Proof on Stage at Kent State Tuscarawas

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The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play Proof
will be performed at the Performing Arts Center at
Kent State University at Tuscarawas on Feb. 21. A scene
from the play is shown above.

(Photo credit: Bill Van Horn and Alex Keiper)

The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play Proof will be performed at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Everyone has parents and everyone aspires to be like them in some way. But what happens when there’s a distinct possibility that we may inherit their talent — and their madness? Written by David Auburn and performed by Walnut Street Theatre, Proof is a remarkable and luminous play about fathers and daughters, genius and insanity, legacy and truth.

Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Proof tells the story of Catherine, a young woman who has sacrificed college so that she could take care of her brilliant, yet mentally ill father. One of his former students, Hal, comes to visit in search of more proof of his math professor’s genius. He finds romance with the remote and introspective Catherine and, when her father dies, an astonishing mathematical proof is discovered. Is the proof real? Who is the author? Will Catherine find her way in life or will she continue to be haunted by her father’s past and by the shadow of her own future? This graceful, clever and often funny play is a delightful romance, a drama of finely-splintered family dynamics and a mystery about the true nature of genius.

Proof is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, funded by the national endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Ohio Arts Council, General Mills Foundation and Land O’Lakes Foundation.

Tickets are $19 to $28 and are now available at the Performing Arts Center box office, online at or by calling 330-308-6400. The box office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas is located at 330 University Dr. NE, New Philadelphia.

Posted Feb. 20, 2012 | Pamela Patacca

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Jewish Studies Program, Center for Entrepreneurship and Hillel Host Digital Media Producer and Indie Jewish Educator

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Executive Director and Producer of G-dcast
Sarah Lefton will visit Kent State on Feb. 20
to talk about her start-up company that is
dedicated to raising worldwide Jewish literacy.

Kent State University’s Jewish Studies Program has partnered with the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and Hillel at Kent State to bring Sarah Lefton, a successful businesswoman who turned her creativity into a career, to campus on Monday, Feb. 20. Lefton will talk about her start-up company that is dedicated to raising worldwide Jewish literacy.

Lefton is executive director and producer of G-dcast (, a nonprofit media production company, and an indie Jewish educator. Her G-dcast raises basic Jewish literacy with fresh, funny animation and games distributed online. She will speak on the topic of “Animating Torah: Why Bible Literacy Matters and How YouTube Videos Can Make an Impact” at 7 p.m. in Bowman Hall, room 137. The lecture is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a desert reception. This public lecture is sponsored by the university’s Jewish Studies Program and Hillel at Kent State.

A graduate of New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), Sarah left the glamour of New York publishing (The New York Times) and the fast pace of Bay Area tech marketing (UGOBE's robotic Pleo dinosaur) in 2008 and started her own company. She was named one of the Forward 50 most influential Jews of 2009 and is a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group fellowship for Jewish social entrepreneurs. Lefton was a guest of the Obamas at the 2010 reception at the White House for Jewish Heritage Month.

“Within the Jewish studies world, Sarah Lefton is very well-known,” says Chaya Kessler, director of Kent State’s Jewish Studies Program. “We are very excited to bring this dynamic entrepreneur who, in her own words, ‘applies start-up thinking to the sometimes dusty world of Jewish education.’”

Earlier in the day and coinciding with National Entrepreneurship Week, Lefton will participate in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation’s Speaker Series class. She will speak to Kent State students, faculty and staff and then hold a meet-and-greet in the John Brinzo Entrepreneurship Lab.

“Our students love to hear the start-up stories of successful entrepreneurs, and I’m looking forward to the pearls of wisdom that Sarah Lefton will share with us,” says Julie Messing, director of Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. “So much of her business is using contemporary media with so much of it being online, so I think her presentation will be very interesting and beneficial to our students.”

Kessler says hosting Lefton during National Entrepreneurship Week is a wonderful fit. “Sarah is very energetic and positive, and she’s a good role model for our students, particularly those women who are interested in business,” Kessler says. “She applied her energies to do something new, and I suggested her to our entrepreneurship center as a possible speaker. It turned out to be a great fit with it being National Entrepreneurship Week and that we are able to have her speak to three different audiences throughout the day.”

Messing also comments that bringing this speaker to campus is a nice collaboration between different areas of the university. “We get excited about working together with other schools, centers and programs outside of our own colleges. It benefits our students, and we’re also able to reach a wider audience through these collaborations.”

A students-only event also will be held for Kent State students to enjoy dinner with Lefton at the Cohn Jewish Student Center in Kent. Students will have the opportunity to meet the guest speaker and learn how she turned her creativity into a career. The students-only event is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program and Hillel.

For more information regarding Kent State’s Jewish Studies Program, call Kessler at 330-672-8926 or visit

For more information about Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, call Messing at 330-672-9430 or visit

Posted Feb. 20, 2012

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