North Central College - Naperville, IL

Jane Koten

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2007

Jane Koten '55 received an Outstanding Alumni Award for her long involvement in higher education, both through her roles at North Central College and her distinguished career as a high school guidance counselor and college coordinator.

"Once upon a time I walked across the stage of Pfeiffer Hall and President Geiger handed me my diploma ... I had little insight as to what it meant at the time, but 52 years later, I can see what it represented and I can hardly be more humble," Koten said at the Homecoming awards ceremony.

For many years, Koten was regarded as the "dean of college counselors in Illinois." After first teaching fifth grade, she went on to earn a master's degree in guidance and counseling at Northwestern University. She spent 22 years at Evanston Township High School in the guidance department and then became college coordinator at Glenbrook High School. A recognized expert in the area of college admission and financial aid, she has held leadership positions in professional organizations, participated in national forums and appeared twice on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour on public television.

Koten has served as president of the Alumni Association at North Central College and was a generous contributor to the renovation of Kiekhofer Hall and Koten Chapel, named for her parents, Roy Y. '20 and Margaret Neerman '26 Koten, and rededicated October 2006. "When my big brother [John Koten '51] and I stepped into the chapel again last year, I was grateful for so many things related to this place," she said.

She continues to be active as a volunteer at First United Methodist Church in Evanston, IL, as an attendee at symphony and opera performances in Chicago, and as a visitor to countries around the world. She resides in Winnetka, IL.

"The final musical piece at last night's Homecoming concert was written by Aaron Copland, who also composed 'Fanfare for the Common Man,"' she told the audience at the awards ceremony. "I accept this award today as a fanfare to the common woman from a very uncommon college, North Central."