Kent State University celebrates half a century

Kent State University celebrates half a century

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Kent State University Florence program, KSU-Florence is hosting a special speaker series with Don Reo.

Tue 30 May 2023 4:20 PM

In 1972, 10 Kent State architecture students accompanied by faculty members traveled to Florence to study for a few weeks. Now, Kent State University offers over 90 courses in Florence and has become a home for Kent State in its entirety as well as serving as an umbrella under which other international universities are starting to join the program. 

“Florence continues to give Kent State students the opportunity to study in an international environment, grow as individuals and professionals, explore alternatives and collect memories they will cherish forever,” remarks Fabrizio Ricciardelli, PhD, who directs the Kent State University Florence Center and also teaches history courses, mostly on the Renaissance. “Being here in Florence means touching history. I always teach on-site when possible. Wherever we go with students, we have the chance to discuss works of art, masterpieces and history sources.” 

“Kent State University has a longstanding tradition of excellence in global education,” remarks Dr. Marcello Fantoni, PhD, vice president for global education. “The university is in the top 2% in the United States for study abroad with 200 renowned programs spanning more than 60 countries and it is the only four year university in the country to receive the prestigious 2022 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. We have created a world class study abroad program in Florence over the past five decades, but we are not content to rest upon our success. As we celebrate 50 years of study abroad at our flagship program in Florence, Italy, we have set our sights upon an ambitious goal: building the largest endowment in university history: the Kent State Global Education Endowment. At Kent State, we believe that exploring new places is vital to the greater understanding of the world around us. We know that an international experience is one of the most direct and effective ways to change the life of a student for the better.”

“We are proud to celebrate 50 years of Kent State University study abroad programs in Florence,” comments Valoree Vargo, vice president for philanthropy. “Our presence in Florence has grown from hosting a small group of architecture students in 1972 to supporting nearly 1,000 students each year across all academic disciplines. In October 2023, we will celebrate our 50th anniversary with a gala to express our gratitude to our donors and our partners in Florence and around the globe.”

On an excursion to Lazzaretto Nuovo, one of two quarantine islands established in the Venetian lagoon in the 15th century, Kent State students learn how the Republic of Venice attempted to control the spread of contagious disease during plague outbreaks. In this large warehouse, incoming merchants and passengers were quarantined with their cargo for 40 days and some left graffiti (seen on the back wall) to mark their presence. Photo by Bob Christy, BS ’95, MA ’22

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Kent State University Florence program, KSU-Florence is hosting a special speaker series with Hollywood legend Don Reo, creator of Netflix’s The RanchTwo and a Half MenEverybody Hates ChrisM*A*S*H and The Golden Girls. During these eight seminars, guests will learn about the craft of storytelling, screenwriting for TV, working with actors, showbusiness, and how to pitch ideas for American TV streaming services. Several guests will be joining Reo for these events, including Mayim Bialik, host of Jeopardy and Big Bang Theory star. Everyone is welcome to attend these free seminars every Monday and Wednesday from May 29 to June 21 (6-7:30 pm) in the main lecture hall at Palazzo Vettori (via Cavour 26). That’s not all. On June 21 at 6pm, Don Reo will receive a lifetime achievement merit award from Fondazione Franco Zeffirelli (piazza San Firenze 5). 

Advanced registration is required and seating is limited, so register now for all events: Miriam Daquino

or book your spot here.

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