Remembering Kent State University (1975-1979)
Frank Bruni’s column today in the New York Times — How To Get the Most Out of College — got me to thinking. First I thought of the kids we know who are going off to college this month: neighbor kids on both sides, our friend’s son Andy, and my “great-niece-in-law.” (I forgot Stephanie initially and I’m probably forgetting others. Sorry!) I posted the article on Facebook asking the respective parents to share.
Then I started thinking about my own college years at Kent State University. At first I wrote on Facebook “I haven’t thought much about college in years” but then I quickly thought better. “Actually, that’s not completely true! I recall this & that about college often. It’s just almost subconscious. Like breathing. Those years are such an integral part of who I am now.”
There are so many experiences, stories and people. I majored in Sociology and minored in political activism. I was active in both the Kent Gay Liberation Front (KGLF) and Young Socialist Alliance (YSA).
There was the night I finally came out (a funny and embarrassing tale I’ll share here someday), the annual gay liberation conferences we organized that featured speakers like Rita Mae Brown and Brian McNaught, the ‘Move the Gym‘ struggle with its Tent City encampment, a campus speaking engagement we organized with socialist author George Novack, and so much more. College was a jam-packed four years.
Most of all it was the people and the experiences we shared. We were on a journey together and a few of us are still connected. There’s one person, however, that I need to single out for mention here: Dr. Dolores Noll.
Dolores was an English professor and Faculty Advisor to KGLF. Most of all, she was and is a friend. We worked together again years later at Cleveland’s Lesbian-Gay Community Service Center. In 2010 she was awarded Kent State’s first Diversity Trailblazer Award. I can think of no one better for that first honor.
Title image: JonRidinger License
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