Rhodes Tower is the tallest building in Columbus, completed in 1974 at a cost of over $60 million. Five years later, the 41-story office building was re-named in honor of James A. Rhodes, Ohio's longest-serving governor who held office from 1963-1971 and again from 1975-1983. Rhodes was instrumental in establishing Ohio's two-year college system, an achievement recognized in in 2002, one year after his death, when Lima Technical College changed its name to James A. Rhodes State College. Rhodes is best known for another event at one of Ohio's colleges. He was governor during the Vietnam conflict and expressed little support for the rights of students and other war protesters prior to his fateful decision to send troops to quell the anti-Vietnam War protests at Kent State University. The statue of Rhodes in front of the office building was financed by private donors and dedicated on the statehouse grounds in 1982. The ceremony was marked by praise from long-serving politicians of both parties, as well as protesters who chanted and held signs asking participants to remember the Kent State Massacre. The statue was moved to its present location in front of the Rhodes Tower in 1991.
Prior to the violent clash that left four students dead, Rhodes declared that the students at Kent State were worse than the Nazi Brownshirts and night-riding terrorists of the Klu Klux Klan. Rhodes, like all other Ohio residents, mourned the death of the students at Kent State and modified his rhetoric in the wake of the tragic events.