Former Emerson College President Allen E. Koenig died on August 28, 2012. He was 73 and lived in Dublin, Ohio.
Koenig served as president and professor of mass communication at Emerson from 1979 to 1989. During his presidency, Emerson bought its first building in Boston’s Theatre District, the building now known as the Cutler Majestic Theatre, and started the Los Angeles Program, a semester-long internship and academic program for students.
Koenig was also responsible for the College’s first expansion outside the United States, starting a study abroad program in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and later overseeing the purchase of a medieval castle in Well to permanently house a program in that country. The Kasteel Well program has grown from 23 students in 1986 to 85 students per semester today, and has hosted more than 3,400 students. It endures as one of Emerson’s most beloved programs.
“Dr. Koenig was the first leader at Emerson to envision the College having a presence beyond the shores of the United States,” said Associate Professor of Communication Studies Greg Payne, who started working at Emerson under Koenig. “I think his dedication to adding the international element to the student experience is his legacy at Emerson.”
Born in 1939 in Los Angeles, California, Koenig received degrees in communication/mass communication from the University of Southern California (BA, 1961); Stanford University (MA, 1962); and Northwestern University (PhD, 1964). He graduated from Loyola High School in Los Angeles in 1957. Koenig met his wife, Judy Gill Koenig, when he was an assistant professor of communication at the Ohio State University.
Besides his tenure as Emerson president, Koenig was also president of Chapman University in Orange, California, from 1989 to 1991. In 1992, he co-founded the Registry for College and University Presidents and served for many years as its vice chair. The Registry is the nation’s premier organization for placement of interim presidents and senior officers and has a membership of more than 300 past presidents and senior academic administrators. In 2012, Koenig became co-founding director and vice chairman emeritus of the Registry.
Koenig joined the executive search firm of R.H. Perry & Associates in 1993 as partner-in-charge of its higher education practice. During his 19 years with the firm, he conducted more than 200 presidential searches and interim placements. He led an equal number of vice presidential and dean searches.
Koenig had a distinguished record as author of a number of journal articles and edited books on subjects in mass communication and higher education. In 2004, he co-authored with Dr. Thomas H. Langevin (co-founder of the Registry) a chapter in Presidential Transition in Higher Education: Managing Leadership Change (Johns Hopkins University Press). He also co-edited one of the first books on educational television in the United States, published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and edited a book on labor relations in radio and television—the first such book in North America, also published by University of Wisconsin Press.
Koenig received a number of awards and honors. He was named “One of Ten Outstanding Citizens of Massachusetts” in 1989. The American Arbitration Association in New York City honored him for his book on labor relations in the broadcasting industry. He also received a Presidential Emmy from the Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and was cited in Who’s Who in America many times since the early 1980s. He was appointed a director on corporate boards in the banking and higher education software industries, as well as a trustee of several college and university governing boards.
Besides his wife Judy, Koenig is survived by three children: Wendy L. Koenig of Hinesburg, Vermont; Jody Koenig Kellas of Lincoln, Nebraska; and Mark Allen Koenig of Columbus, Ohio.
A funeral mass will be said at Saint Peter Church, 6899 Smoky Row Road, Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at 10:00 am. Calling hours at Schoedinger Funeral Service, 699 N. High Street, Worthington, Ohio, are 2:00–4:00 pm and 6:00–8:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or The Hospice Foundation of America.