The Beginnings of the Kent State University Alumni Association
John E. McGilvrey, Kent State’s first president, believed graduates played an integral role in growing Kent State’s normal school. In 1911, McGilvrey established the Kent State University Alumni Association (KSUAA). McGilvrey planned an alumni association before students came to campus, before any buildings were finished, before he had a faculty and even before he came to Kent.
Kent State’s Normal School graduated its first class in 1914. Soon after, the school formed a faculty committee for alumni relations and several alumni clubs throughout northeast Ohio. In 1933, the alumni association successfully lobbied Ohio state legislators, preventing the transformation of Kent Normal College into a mental institution. The Normal School’s evolution to a university in 1935 and the establishment of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM) in 1971 further demonstrated the strength of the alumni lobby.
The Kent State Alumni Association Today
Alumni continue to support Kent State University. With more than 220,000 alumni, the KSUAA enriches lives, encourages loyalty and partners in shaping the university’s future. We strengthen our relationships with alumni each day by accomplishing the following:
- Serving as a gateway - Through professional networking, social programs and alumni communications - the alumni association is your point of access to Kent State and fellow alumni.
- Connecting alumni and students - Members support student success everyday through the Alumni Association's student leadership organizations, career mentoring programs and student scholarships.
- Promoting alumni success - Your success is our strength. Alumni accomplishments elevate the university’s reputation while increasing the value of a Kent State degree. We are proud to promote and celebrate alumni achievements
- Making Kent State strong through membership and programming initiatives - Kent State's national ranking is tied to alumni support -- one measure being membership. We cultivate alumni and student volunteers who give their time and talent to make Kent State strong.
In addition, our alumni chapters and area representatives keep the Golden Flash spirit alive throughout the country. Following the formation of our first alumni chapter in 1965, the Kent State Alumni Association has grown into more than 30 alumni chapters and area representatives.
The Kent State Alumni Association National Board of Directors, a leadership board representing Kent State University alumni, is committed to serving the university as well. This dynamic and exciting group of alumni help strengthen the bond between alumni and Kent State University.
Kent State’s Alumni Association makes its home in the Williamson Alumni Center, at the corner of Midway Drive and East Main Street. The center, former residence of university presidents, is named after Kent State graduates John, ’45, and Helen, ’45, Williamson. The center serves as a home away from home for former Kent State students. Visitors are always welcome.
History of the Williamson Alumni Center