Bellisario College of Communications

Baquet, Laurie and Rowe named 2019 Larry Foster Award honorees

The third annual Arthur W. Page Center Awards will honor New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet; the late Marilyn Laurie, former executive vice president of brand strategy at AT&T; and former Aetna CEO John W. Rowe. Each will be honored with a Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Communication. Credit: Page Center / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The third annual Arthur W. Page Center Awards will honor New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet; the late Marilyn Laurie, former executive vice president of brand strategy at AT&T; and former Aetna CEO John W. Rowe. Each will be honored with a Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Communication at an awards dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20, 2019, at the Grand Hyatt – Midtown Manhattan Hotel in New York City.

This year’s honorees include a groundbreaking and Pulitzer Prize-winning newsman, a co-founder of Earth Day who also broke a glass ceiling at AT&T, and a leading physician and influential CEO. This diverse class of honorees demonstrates the importance of promoting ethics and integrity across all areas of public communication. Although their careers were spent in very different roles, each is known for a commitment to integrity, according to the center’s advisory board, which reviewed the backgrounds of the nominees and voted to approve the awards. Honorees are known for telling the truth and upholding admirable values over long careers.

“The diversity of this year’s honorees illustrates the role integrity plays in successful public communication,” said Denise Bortree, Page Center director and associate professor of public relations-advertising at Penn State. “Today’s public dialogue is plagued by incivility and polarization, creating an even bigger premium on those in journalism, public relations and business who conduct themselves with integrity and earn public trust.”

Larry Foster, for whom the award is named, was a renowned communicator during his time as both a journalist and public relations practitioner. He founded the Page Center in 2004 with fellow public relations legends Jack Koten and Ed Block. The Page Center is a research center in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State, Foster’s alma mater.

“This event plays a vital role in integrating the academic expertise of the Page Center with the practical needs of the profession,” said Bill Nielsen, center advisory board chair. “We’re able to showcase the center’s mission while supporting its good work through collaboration and funding.”

Visit the awards page for more information about past events and honorees.Two-hundred and thirty people from companies, universities, publications and other organizations attended last year’s dinner. Honorees share their stories and advice, and attendees learn about the Page Center’s mission to enhance ethics and responsibility in public communication.

The annual awards dinner is a fundraiser that supports innovative research by Page Center scholars. Scholars represent universities all over the world. The center’s research projects aim to build the scholarly and public understanding of ethics in communications. To date, the center has funded more than 250 scholars and awarded more than $900,000 in research funding. Areas of focus include corporate social responsibility, digital ethics, sustainability communication, advocacy, fake news and more. Other center initiatives focus on educational opportunities like an annual speaker series, oral history archiving, and online educational modules.

About the 2019 Larry Foster Awards honorees

Dean Baquet

Baquet is “a reporter’s editor, a whirlwind of ideas, energy and enthusiasm who is deeply curious about the world and intensely passionate about his craft.”
— The American Journalism Review

Baquet is the executive editor at The New York Times. Baquet got his start at his hometown afternoon newspaper, The States-Item. The paper was later absorbed by the Times-Picayune. Six years later he joined the Chicago Tribune. Baquet led a team of reporters at the Tribune to a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism after exposing deep corruption within the Chicago city council. Baquet joined The New York Times as a metro reporter in 1990 and became national editor in 1995. Ten years later he became the managing editor at The Los Angeles Times. In 2005, he became the first African-American journalist to lead a top U.S. newspaper when the LA Times promoted him to editor. He re-joined The New York Times in 2007. He was promoted to executive editor in 2014, making him the first African-American to serve in the Times’ top newsroom position in the newspaper’s 163-year history.

Marilyn Laurie – posthumous recognition

"It's not an exaggeration to say she was really one of the giants of PR.”
— Dick Martin, Laurie’s successor at AT&T and 2017 Page Center Award honoree

Laurie became the highest-ranking woman in AT&T history when she was promoted to executive vice president in 1987. She joined the global company in 1971 after playing a major part in the inaugural Earth Day celebration in New York City. As a part of the organizing committee, Laurie helped convince the mayor of New York to shut down Fifth Avenue in 1970. Since then, Earth Day has become an annual event celebrated worldwide. Laurie built a sterling career that launched her into the upper echelon of public communications. Her skills could not be ignored as she quickly rose in the ranks at AT&T from speechwriter to senior vice president. In 1987, she became the first woman to join AT&T’s 10-person executive committee. She was the first woman elected to the Arthur W. Page Society Hall of Fame, and she was on the “most influential” lists of many publications and organizations. Laurie was an avid philanthropist and was committed to public service. She died in 2010.

Jack Rowe

"Jack has been an inspirational leader for Aetna at a critical time in the company's more than 150-year history. He has not only led a remarkable turnaround and return to profitable growth, but also been a recognized national leader in health care policy."
– Ronald Williams, former Aetna CEO

Rowe had an illustrious career in corporate communications as a leading CEO in the health care industry. From 1988 to 1998, prior to the Mount Sinai-NYU Health merger, Rowe was president of the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. From 1998 to 2000, Rowe served as president and CEO of Mount Sinai NYU Health, one of the nation's largest academic health care organizations. From 2000 until late 2006, Rowe was chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc., one of the nation's leading health care and related benefits organizations. During his tenure he transformed Aetna’s business model and culture with a focus on empowering physicians, enabling patients to achieve health and financial security, before retiring in 2006. Business Week named him “Manager of the Year” in 2005. The Smithsonian Institute, in association with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, awarded Rowe the Corporate Citizenship Award in 2006.

Last Updated June 02, 2021