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Kent State Hosts See You @ College Conference to Increase Enrollment and Graduation of First-Generation College Students

A group of students
Kent State University hosts the See You @ College
conference on Thursday, Feb. 13. The conference is
expected to bring together community organizations and
leaders to discuss ways to increase college enrollment
and graduation of first-generation and academically
motivated students.
Kent State University will host a one-day conference that is expected to bring together about 300 community organizations and leaders to discuss ways to increase college enrollment and graduation of first-generation and academically motivated students in Northeast Ohio. The See You @ College conference will take place on Thursday, Feb. 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The conference is free and open to high school and college educators and administrators, community leaders, educational organizations and more. Registration is required and can be done at

The See You @ College: Northeast Ohio Pathways to Success is an inclusive, long-term college access collaborative initiative designed to engage community leaders and organizations to become involved in guiding and assisting first-generation families and their students in finding more pathways to a college education.

“The See You @ College initiative was the vision of Rev. Ron Fowler, special assistant to the president on community engagement, and Iris Harvey, vice president for university relations, who initially sought to increase college access for students by working with faith-based organizations,” says Said Sewell, Ph.D., assistant provost. “Their efforts were in line with Complete College America and Complete College Ohio that noted that young people either are not going to college or attending but not graduating because they are not well-prepared. The Complete College Ohio taskforce further noted that if the state of Ohio is to stay competitive in the global market, it is imperative that the state, by 2020, increases its total number of college graduates by at least 56 percent, or 845,000 people. See You @ College is one of Kent State’s efforts toward that goal."

The conference, which is a collaboration with other Northeast Ohio institutions of higher learning and nonprofits, is intended to engage community leaders in discussions with a diversity of other leaders who are engaged daily in promoting the value of a college degree. The See You @ College framework is to harness the power of those in a community who have contact with and are trusted by families and to further empower them with information, resources and tools about higher education so that they can be part of the emotional and motivational support system that many families need in order to get their first-generation students prepared and enrolled in college.

Among the panelists at the conference will be representatives from across the Kent State campuses. An exhibit area will be available for Kent State units and other organizations to display materials about their programs. Interested parties who wish to exhibit should contact Lashonda Taylor at or 330-672-8657.

Greg Darneider, senior advisor for college access at the U.S. Department of Education, will serve as opening speaker at the conference, and Steve Perry, Ed.D., author, principal and CNN educational contributor, will serve as luncheon speaker.

Breakout sessions at the conference will explore topics such as “Dual Enrollment, Upward Bound, Post-Secondary Educational Opportunity Programs,” “Why Is College Important and How Do We Make It an Expectation?,” “Making Dreams a Reality: Finding the Best Fit” and “The Holistic Impact of Education Attainment.”

Watch a short video that shows the testimonials of first-generation college students to learn why the See You @ College initiative is important to Kent State.

For more information about Kent State’s See You @ College initiative and conference, call 330-672-2220 or visit

Posted Jan. 27, 2014 | Foluke Omosun

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February Kent Keyboard Series to Feature Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf

Jerry Wong (pictured), associate professor of piano at Kent State and Steinway artist, and Kent State Professor Eric van Baars collaborate on Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.
Jerry Wong (pictured), associate
professor of piano at Kent State and
Steinway artist, and Kent State Professor
Eric van Baars collaborate on Sergei
Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

Pianist Jerry Wong and Actor Eric van Baars collaborate on this beloved musical story

The Kent Keyboard Series continues its 2013-2014 season with a performance by pianist and Steinway Artist Jerry Wong, Sunday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. in Ludwig Recital Hall. Ludwig Recital Hall is located in the Center for the Performing Arts at 1325 Theatre Drive on the Kent Campus. For tickets, call the Performing Arts Box Office at 330-672-2787 or go online.

Continuing their ongoing exploration of repertoire written for narrator and piano, Wong and friend and fellow Kent State professor, Eric van Baars, bring to life Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. Written in 1936 for its more commonly heard version as a "symphonic tale for narrator and orchestra," Prokofiev created a solo piano version one year later.

“The latter version captures all of the subtlety, wit and charm that has brought the piece such unanimous popularity among audiences,” Wong says.

Other solo piano works on the program include compositions by Claude Debussy and Franz Liszt. Shorter works will be paired together by subject matter, including themes of dance, nature and references to Richard Wagner.

Wong has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in such prestigious settings as the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, National Concert Hall of Taipei, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Opera City Hall in Tokyo, PianoForte in Chicago, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Shriver Hall in Baltimore and Weill Recital Hall in New York City. Wong presently holds the position of associate professor of piano at Kent State, and he frequently serves as adjudicator and lecturer in institutions around the world.

van Baars is an associate professor in Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance where he teaches Movement and Acting and has directed productions of Oklahoma!, The Diviners, Lysistrata, On The Verge, Honk!, The Wild Party and A New Brain. This spring, van Baars will be traveling to Busan, South Korea, to teach in the theatre program at Dongseo University and direct a play for the MAC Theatre in Busan.

Tickets for the performance are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and Kent State faculty and staff, $10 for groups of 10 or more patrons, $8 for non-Kent State students, $5 for children and free for full-time Kent Campus undergraduate students.

Tickets are available weekdays, noon to 5 p.m., at the Performing Arts Box Office. The Performing Arts Box Office accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover, in addition to cash and checks.

The Ludwig Recital Hall box office will open one hour prior to the performance for walk-up sales, and will accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

Tickets and more information are available by calling 330-672-ARTS (2787) or visiting the School of Music's website.

Posted Jan. 27, 2014

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The Game of Life Interactive Inequality Simulation Takes Place Jan. 29

enter photo description
Pictured are participants playing the Game of Life, an
interactive inequality simulation.

The Game of Life, an interactive inequality simulation, will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 310B at the Kent Student Center. This event is open to all Kent State University faculty, staff and students, and it is meant to be an immersion-style game played with real people, real emotions, but fake money.

There will be several cohorts going through the simulation; therefore, if you want to participate, plan to arrive between 4:30 and 6 p.m. The planning committee is currently seeking volunteers to serve as actors and facilitators.

The Game of Life event is part of activities marking Kent State's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The event is co-sponsored by the College of Education, Health and Human Services' Office of Diversity Outreach and Development; the Student Multicultural Center; Student Accessibility Services; the Office of Global Education; the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion's Special Projects and Initiatives; the Women's Center; Residence Services; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center; and Black United Students.

"The Game of Life is similar to the board game but acted out by the participants and the simulation actors. It is a way for individuals within our community to gain a greater awareness of the inequality that exists within our society. It is really a hyper-play on the stereotypes and acts of discrimination that occur around issues of sexuality, gender, race and ability level," says N. J. Akbar, director of the College of Education, Health and Human Services' Office of Diversity Outreach and Development.

For more information about this event or to volunteer, contact Akbar at

Posted Jan. 23, 2014

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“They Led the Way” Civil Rights Exhibition Opens on Jan. 27

Exhibition opening is part of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Kent State

The opening reception for "They Led the Way," an exhibition that tells the stories of the eight students who desegregated Leon County, Fla., public schools 50 years ago, will take place on Monday, Jan. 27, at 4:30 p.m. at the FirstEnergy Auditorium, Room 340 Franklin Hall. The reception and exhibition are open to all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Kent State University.

"They Led the Way" chronicles the lives of these students who endured taunting, anger and racism and went on to become lawyers, teachers, a doctor and a businessman. The exhibition is the work of Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication Professor Ann Schierhorn and features photographs by David LaBelle, photojournalism program director. The event is sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Mahlon C. Rhaney Jr., one of the eight students, will be the featured speaker at the exhibition opening. Rhaney went on to earn his bachelor's degree at the United States Air Force Academy, where he was one of about 16 blacks in a class of more than 1,000. Later, he received a law degree from Harvard University. Today, he is the senior vice president of Benton-Georgia LLC, an Atlanta-based company that builds natural gas pipelines. Schierhorn, LaBelle and Thor Wasbotten, director of Kent State's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, also will speak at the opening.

"When I was growing up in the segregated south, I knew there were stories that were not being told. That's what drove me back to my hometown to tell the stories of the eight students who desegregated the schools," says Schierhorn.

"Meeting and photographing these courageous and accomplished individuals was a chance for me to touch history in the flesh; a history I had seen from a distance on television and on newspaper and magazine pages," says LaBelle.

For more information about this event, contact Stephanie Smith at

Posted Jan. 27, 2014

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Kent BeatleFest Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Beatlemania

Kent Beatlefest graphic
The Kent BeatleFest will celebrate the 50th anniversary
of Beatlemania on Feb. 7- 8 in downtown Kent. Find out
more about Kent BeatleFest.

On Feb. 7, 1964, the Beatles landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for their first visit to the United States. Two days later, the Fab Four broke television audience records with their history-making appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS. The world would never be the same.

The Kent BeatleFest will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania on Feb. 7- 8 in downtown Kent. The event will feature free live Beatles and British Invasion music at 12 downtown Kent venues on Friday, Feb. 7, along with ultra-rare Beatles films at the Kent Stage.

Artists include Abbey Road, Colin Dussault’s Beatles Project, the Liverpool Lads, Cats on Holiday, Ryan Humbert, British Invasion and Grammy Award-winning guitarist Doug Smith.

“We have a great lineup of music, including excellent Beatles tribute bands as well as classical ensembles and even a jazz-rock big band,” says Mike Beder, owner of the Water Street Tavern and the Venice Café. “There truly is something for everyone, and it’s all free and within easy walking distance.”

On Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m., the Beatles tribute band Hard Day’s Night performs at the Kent Stage. The concert will feature the Northeast Ohio band performing songs from all phases of the Beatles career, from “The Ed Sullivan Show” to their final album, “Let It Be.” Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 on the day of the show. Tickets are available at

The Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center is offering a special rate of $119 per night for Kent BeatleFest weekend. Reservations can be made by calling 330-346-0100 or online at www.kentstatehotel using the rate code BFM.

Find a complete schedule and details on the Kent BeatleFest website.

Main Street Kent, a non-profit organization focused on the revitalization of downtown Kent, is joining in the celebration of the Beatles 50th anniversary with a special offering on Feb. 8.

The Beatles 50th Anniversary Progressive Event will feature an evening of cocktails, food and live music and food, including the Hard Day’s Night show at the Kent Stage. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the newly revitalized Venice Café, where ticketholders will enjoy two cocktails of their choice and live music. The event will then move to the Laziza restaurant for a full dinner from 6:15 p.m. to 7:45pm. Following the 8 p.m. concert at the Kent Stage, the event will conclude with dessert and a nightcap at the Secret Cellar, Kent’s new wine and jazz bar.

Tickets, limited to 60, cost is $75 each or $125 for a pair and are available at

For more information on the Main Street Kent Beatles event, call 330-677-8000.

Posted Jan. 27, 2014

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