MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS (June 3, 2024) — Last month, Monmouth College held its 167th Commencement Exercises. Not long after the College staged its 100th Commencement in the late 1950s, Kellogg Printing began producing the program for the ceremony, and the Monmouth company has been doing it ever since.

Now Kellogg Printing is the one that's reached the century mark. The company celebrated its 100th anniversary May 31 with cupcakes, cookies and silver balloons at its site on the northeast quadrant of the Public Square, the same location it's had since Monmouth's Review and Atlas newspapers merged in 1924, when CO Kellogg, owner Bus Kellogg's grandfather, began working there.

Bus Kellogg was the man of the hour, greeting well-wishers and singing the praises of his loyal and talented staff. Also on hand was his sister, Debbie Kellogg Smith, who worked at the company for 32 years. Kellogg has been at the print shop since he was a junior high school student, more than six decades ago.

Like father, like son

"[Former Review Atlas publisher] Vic Moffet told me he started working at the paper when he was thirteen," said Kellogg. "I came in when I was twelve-and-a-half years old. I made 25 cents an hour, and I could work three hours, sweeping the floor and cleaning up after the men. By the time I was sixteen, I was running a commercial press."

Kellogg's experience is not unlike his father's. While he was still a Monmouth High School student, Bus Kellogg Sr. began working at the print shop. World events dictated that his time there would be interrupted."In March of 1943, Selective Service picked 21 senior men from Monmouth High School and said, 'Their mothers can collect their diplomas,'" said Kellogg. "Dad served until 1945. Mr Moffet told him his job would be waiting for him when he came back. He worked for 10 years in the job shop and printing the newspaper until he purchased the business from the Review Atlas Printing Co in July of 1955."

There are many similarities between father and son, including Kellogg's service in the Marines during Vietnam."When it first came out, email was a wonderful thing," said Kellogg, who. "I'd sit down at my desk in the morning, open my computer, and four or five jobs would've come in overnight. Pretty soon, I realized, 'I'm not seeing a lot of our customers anymore.' I told the ladies, 'Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to take the little stuff out to them.' That way, I can stop by and thank them. I like to get out, and it lets them know we have a vested interest in them. My dad did it, too. That personal touch is important."

It's unclear who printed the surprise document, but Bus Kellogg of Kellogg's Printing was happy to receive it from Andrea Monroe, executive director of the Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce

Indeed, Kellogg is a regular on campus, and in the College's communications and marketing office, especially, dropping off proofs or completed jobs as part of his rounds about town.

There were other valuable lessons his father taught him.

"The biggest thing I learned from Dad is if we've done it wrong, no matter whose fault it is, we're going to make it right," said Kellogg. "I think it's a great philosophy. Too many people have gotten away from it in our industry. Dad didn't operate that way, so I don't."

The 11th hour

Kellogg took over the business from his father in 2000. He explained how the connection with Monmouth College started and gave a behind-the-scenes look at those Commencement programs.

"Dad bought the account from Hutchins Printing," he said. "In the old days, the College had Commencement at noon on Saturdays, and we wouldn't get all the information we needed until Friday evening. It could be as late as eight or nine o'clock. Those were the days of offset printing, and men would work until five or six in the morning to get the program ready. The joke my dad would tell is 'Will the ink be dry before we hand it to them?'"

A century of evolution

To print the new Review Atlas publication 100 years ago, Kellogg said its publishers purchased a Goss press from the Chicago Herald.

"They took it apart and brought it by train to Monmouth," he said. "It had to be really old, but it was used to print the Review Atlas until 1976."

The following year, Kellogg's father purchased the building.

"The question Dad would ask if he walked in the building today is, 'Where did you put the big presses?'" said Kellogg. "About fifteen years ago, we decided to go digital. I remember saying maybe we'd have 10% of our business go with that. But two years ago, we closed offset printing completely. We're 100% digital now. How this place didn't burn down before then, I'll never know. There was a lot of bad chemistry in here. Today, the business is so clean. Film, plates, pouring lead — all of that is gone. If you're still doing it that way, you're going to be gone soon."

Shelly Deford, a full-time employee since 2006, credited the business's staying power to Kellogg's willingness to try new things.

"The most important change I've seen is the technology," said Deford, who also worked with Kellogg's father. "He's always on top of that, and he always has the best. It's made things 100% quicker. The time we're able to save is the most amazing part."

Years ago, Monmouth had four printing companies and a daily newspaper. Today, only Kellogg Printing remains. Bus Kellogg Sr. would be proud that his son has carried on the business so long and so well.

"I'm not going to do this forever, but I'm not going anywhere soon," said Kellogg, who is proud of the fact that all four of his siblings have worked at the company at one point or another. "I still like getting up in the morning and coming in here. I like solving problems."

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