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Retired Professor Passes

Marlowe Froke, a retired PSU journalism professor, died this past Tuesday, February 23 at Mount Nittany Medical Center. He is survived by his wife, Marliene, and their two daughters, Paula and Dana.

Having grown up in the small, rural town of Vienna, South Dakota, Froke always saw the important role television could play in educating the masses, and he worked hard to accomplish this throughout his entire career, especially during his time here at Penn State. “His vision was instrumental in the early development of cable television, and in how cable television developed locally, regionally and nationally,” said Telecommunications Professor Patrick Parsons.

In 1959 he joined the PSU staff as an associate professor of journalism and developed the school’s first broadcast journalism curriculum. After being named Penn State’s director of broadcasting, he created WPSX (you might know it as WPSU) and took the lead in the early days of cable and public TV to establish networks of connections among Pennsylvania stations and cable operations that preceded today’s Public Broadcasting System.

In 1971, he was named director and general manager of PSU’s division of Media and Learning Resources. Five years later, he established PENNARAMA, now the Pennsylvania Cable Network, which was a 24-hour, state-wide education and public affairs network. Before retiring in 1992, he served as the strategic planning committee which eventually established the College of Communications. Froke even had a hand in creating the first cable television museum.

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind how big a role Marlowe Froke played in the advancement of television – particularly from an educational standpoint. He saw the capabilities it had for connecting people over vast regions and educating those that couldn’t regularly attend schools. Perhaps what he’ll be remembered – and missed – most for is ” very simply[being] a good man,” as Dean Anderson of the College of Communications said.

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About the Author

Caitlin Silver

Caitlin is from a small Pennsylvania town called Unionville, which is by West Chester, which is by Philadelphia. She is a sophomore in the Smeal College of Business and will probably major in accounting. Caitlin loves "How I Met Your Mother" and dougnuts.

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