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May 4 Grant Better than 'Winning the Lottery'

May 4 faculty coordinator at Kent State excited about $300,000 grant for May 4 Visitor's Center

Even in a press release, it's obvious Laura Davis can hardly contain herself.

Davis was a freshman on  when four students were fatally shot by Ohio National Guard troops at . Today, she's the faculty coordinator for May 4 initiatives at Kent State, and she's celebrating a big win: .

The National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities, awarded $300,000 toward the effort recently.

"Receiving news of a $300,000 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities was stunning — and better than winning the lottery," Davis said in a press release.

"The NEH award tells us that we’ve designed an effective and significant experience for visitors,” Davis said. “We have found our voice in telling the story in a way that honors the loss of Allison Krause, Jeff Miller, Bill Schroeder and Sandy Scheuer, and preserves the timeless meaning of May 4 for generations to come. The history of May 4 will continue to tell young people that they can make a difference.”

The grant supports the project "Making Meaning of May 4th: The Kent State Shootings in American History." The museum will be located in Taylor Hall, not far from the spot where the shootings took place.

Museum design firm Gallagher & Associates of Silver Springs, Md., is working with Kent State on the museum content and layout. Kent State expects to open the visitor's center museum in 2012.

"The May 4 Visitors Center will serve as an educational resource to future generations when those who witnessed the tragedy are no longer around to tell the story,” Carole Barbato, a Kent State communications professor and May 4 expert, said in a press release.

"We have a responsibility as a university to preserve the past, and tell accurately, the story of the shootings within the context of the 1960s so future generations can understand better what happened here," she said. "From the loss of four young lives, the wounding of nine others, and the pain and anguish our community has felt over the shootings, we hope that people who come to the May 4 Visitors Center will learn from the lessons of the past so they can make a better future for themselves and others."

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