Co-founder of Page Center, which focuses on integrity, dies

January 07, 2014

John A. (Jack) Koten, one of three co-founders of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, died Friday, Jan. 3. He was 84.

"We are deeply saddened by Jack’s death,” said Penn State professor Marie Hardin, the associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education in the College of Communications who also serves director of the Page Center. “With his passing, we have now lost two of our three founders within the space of three months.”

Penn State alumnus Larry Foster, another co-founder of the Page Center, died in October. The Center, housed in the College of Communications, began in 2004 as a result of efforts by Foster, Koten and Ed Block.

“The Page Center is profoundly grateful for the work that Jack did on our behalf,” said Hardin. “He, Larry Foster and Ed Block knew that academic research at the intersections of integrity and communication was needed as the next step to illuminate the paths of professionalism in public relations and journalism.”

As a result of their vision, the Page Center has grown into the world’s single best repository of scholarship on the topic of integrity in communication, Hardin said.

Koten was a founding director and first president of the Arthur W. Page Society. During his career he worked in a variety of operating, financial and corporate communications departments for Illinois Bell, AT&T, New Jersey Bell and Ameritech Corp.

At Chicago-based Ameritech Corp., one of seven telecommunications companies divested by AT&T in 1984 as the result of a federal government antitrust lawsuit, he served as senior vice president of corporate communications.  He also was president of the Ameritech Foundation, which made grants totaling $25 million annually to education, economic development and cultural institutions.

After he retired, Koten organized The Wordsworth Group, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting non-profit organizations to improve their management practices, reputation and revenues. He received numerous awards and honors, including honorary doctoral degrees from two institutions, and was inducted into the Arthur W. Page Society’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

Roger Bolton, a Page Center Advisory Board member, and president of the Arthur W. Page Society, wrote a tribute about Jack Koten’s contributions to his profession.  It is available here. In 2004, Koten sat for an oral history interview for the Page Center in which he discussed, in detail, the famous Page Principles.

“All who knew him have warm memories of Jack and share with me the deepest sense of loss at his passing,” said Hardin.

Last Updated October 17, 2019