NEW YORK, NY  — Three University of Oregon students will receive the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award for their submission analyzing Dick’s Sporting Goods’ evolving communication strategies regarding the politically charged issue of gun reform. Alyson Morris, Hanna Neuschwander, and Rui Zhao will share more about their winning case in an upcoming episode of Page’s The New CCO podcast.

The Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications, which is sponsored by Page and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), awards students whose original case studies best contribute to the profession’s body of knowledge and provide practical suggestions improving the corporate communication function. This year’s competition drew 34 entries from 19 communications and business schools in the United States.

The winning submission, “Dick’s Sporting Goods Enters the Gun Debate: Revising the Playbook,” analyzes how Dick’s Sporting Goods responded to the gun reform debate by pulling back on gun sales in their stores and changing its communications strategies and thinking on gun sales.

“Today, stakeholders expect companies to create societal value through not only their core products, but also by speaking out and taking action on societal issues. This winning case study highlights how Dick’s public stance on a polarizing issue was based on the company’s values and its core brand identity,” Page President Roger Bolton said. “I hope this case becomes an important resource for corporate communication practitioners who are grappling with similar situations in light of heightened stakeholder expectations.”

In addition to the overall grand prize, the competition awards winners in the categories of Communications Schools and Business Schools. This year’s winners represent Boston University, University of Florida, Ball State University, and the University of Notre Dame. To see a complete list of the winning submissions and for more information about the competition, please visit:

“We are pleased to honor Alyson, Hanna, and Rui, along with their academic advisor, Donna Z. Davis, with the Koten Award for their thoughtful work on this case study,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, president and CEO of IPR. “This is a very timely and relevant case that demonstrates how values-driven leadership is essential to a company as it navigates charged political arenas.”

The annual competition is judged by a panel comprising Page members and Page Up members. Judges for this year’s competition included:

Al Comeaux, Elevate Credit
Barbara Bates, Hotwire Global
Bill Chandler, Chandler Public Affairs & University of Southern California
Brandi Robinson, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
Cayce Myers, Virginia Tech University
Christine Elliott, Mastercard (former)
Debra Ceffalio, US Foods
Diana Martinelli, West Virginia University
Gary Grates, W2O Group
Gary Sheffer, Boston University
Grant McLaughlin, Booz Allen Hamilton
Jason Dressel, History Factory
Kathy Tunheim, Tunheim, Inc.
Kristina Adamski, Tilray
Kylie Wright-Ford, Reputation Institute
Lucas Held, The Wallace Foundation
Marcia DiStaso, University of Florida
Maria Russell, Syracuse University
Maria Tamburri, Dominion Energy
Mark Hass, Arizona State University
Mark Weiner, PRIME Research
Marta Newhart, Carpenter Technology (former)
Mary Lynn Carver, General Mills (former)
Matt Hutchison, Forbes
Matt Kucharski, Padilla
Matthew Yi, Blue Shield of California
Michael Merk, Design Vox
Michele Mazur, WW Grainger
Michelle Russo, United States Chamber of Commerce
Moyra Knight, Astellas US LLC
Nancy Hobor, Northwestern University
Natalie Tindall, Lamar University
Pattie Kushner, LabCorp
Rebecca Katz, Vanguard
Rick White, Jarosa Partners & UNC at Chapel Hill
Rodrigo Sierra, American Medical Association
Susan Henderson, Henderson Consulting LLC
Tina McCorkindale, Institute for Public Relations
Varsha Chainani, The Mahindra Group – Mahindra & Mahindra
Whitney Eichinger, Southwest Airlines

About the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award
As the first chairman of Page, Jack Koten was among the founding members who extracted from Arthur Page’s lifetime of work the set of defining values that we know today as the Page Principles. These Principles not only serve as criteria for this competition but also as a guide for Page members in their daily work. Jack personified the belief that businesses should operate honestly and honorably, and with unwavering integrity.

Upon his passing in 2014, Jack bequeathed funds to Page that its Board of Trustees voted to use to fund in perpetuity the annual Case Study Competition grand prize, which that year was renamed the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award.

About Page
Page is a global membership organization that brings together the world’s leading communications executives to strengthen the enterprise leadership role of the chief communications officer (CCO). Our purpose is rooted in the belief that a strong Communications function results in enterprises that are more responsible, trustworthy and responsive to stakeholders, which in turn helps transform business for the better. Page has nearly 800 members in 25 countries, representing a multitude of industries, leading PR agencies, influential nonprofits and NGOs, and highly respected academicians. We are dedicated to advancing the leadership capabilities of the CCO and the communications profession through thought leadership, learning programs and networking experiences to connect the brightest industry minds to create a better future. For more information, please visit

About the Institute for Public Relations
Founded in 1956, the Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations.™  IPR creates, curates, and promotes research and initiatives that empower professionals with actionable insights and intelligence they can put to immediate use.  IPR predicts and analyzes global factors transforming the profession, and amplifies and engages the professional globally through thought leadership and programming. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and events. Follow us on Twitter @instituteforpr.

Nikki Kesaris
Marketing & Communications Manager
Institute for Public Relations

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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