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2010 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

Dr. Mark F. Seeman for his public education work and consensus building that enabled the nomination of the May 4, 1970, Kent State Shootings Site in Kent to the National Register of Historic Places.

The shootings at Kent State were a watershed event in the history of the United States, its involvement in the Vietnam War, and the nationwide student protest movement against the war that culminated on May 4, 1970. The nomination itself was the product of three years of intensive research, documentation, and consensus building, resulting in what may be the most definitive account yet of the May 4 events, their causes, and their consequences. This work would be a credit to any professional historian, but heightening the significance of Dr. Seeman's accomplishment is that his training and experience are as a professional archaeologist.

In addition to the difficulties inherent in producing the nomination of a site still fraught with raw emotions, Dr. Seeman capably and patiently worked successfully over the three years to build support among a wide variety of stakeholders, including the university, local community, participants and survivors, and the wider region. He initially brought together a group of local experts on the site (including doctors Carole Barbato, Laura Davis, and Jerry Lewis) and facilitated working together toward the common goal of National Register listing. This included educating them about National Register processes and requirements, and reaching consensus on issues such as site boundaries and relevant themes. They in turn shared their detailed knowledge of the site with Dr. Seeman.

With a completed draft, Dr. Seeman initiated prolonged negotiations with the university administration. Despite initial reluctance, Dr. Seeman was ultimately successful in securing the support of both the University Board of Trustees and its president, Dr. Lester Lefton, who was especially concerned about possible management issues that National Register listing might pose for him and his successors.

Dr. Seeman's efforts were crucial to producing a nomination and building the consensus needed for successful listing. The Kent State University administration has embraced the nomination, using it as a critical element of its public relations surrounding the 40th anniversary commemoration of May 4th, which included construction of a Visitors Center, a walking tour featuring Julian Bond as narrator, and other initiatives. A National Register plaque was formally dedicated by the university on May 3, 2010. The product of Dr. Seeman's work on this nomination has helped to contextualize and provide a sense of legitimacy for the site of the May 4 shootings.

Mark Seeman has made notable contributions to preservation in Ohio through his archaeological work, scholarly publications, and service as a past member and chair of the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board. His exhaustive work in successfully producing the National Register nomination of the Kent State May 4 shooting site is an outstanding accomplishment and important contribution to Ohio's history, eminently worthy of recognition with a Public Education and Awareness Award.

2010 Awards 
Presentation Image. Click to view slides of the awards presentation.

Click here to return to the list of 2010 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

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