Printing Program (Graphic Technologies)

The original program title of Graphic Technologies was Printing and has changed over the years to Graphic Arts, Printing Technologies and now is Graphic Technologies. The program started in 1968. The superintendent of the college was Paul Lowery. The Career Education Director was Robert Eicher and his assistant was Carroll Bennett. Chuck Baugous was the Program counselor.


The program was originally housed in Building 15 on the lower part of the Ankeny campus. In the front part of the building there was a snack bar for all students of the lower campus buildings. There were vending machines and high tables and stools where students could take a break. In the fall of 1990, Printing moved to the Advanced Technology Center - 3W where they shared space with Commercial Art and other computer based Industrial Technology programs. In the early 1990s the program moved briefly to the Automotive Technologies in Building 10 and then to their present location on the lower campus in Building 19.


--Full Time Instructors

1967 - 1971 Ken Hoff*
1969 - 1987 Richard Garten*
1971 - 1989 Richard Scroggs*
1972 - 1985 Charlie Pardekooper
1985 - 1992 Monte Ballard*
1992 - 1994 John Ward*
1994 - 1999 Richard Taylor*
1999 - 2010 Carin Murphy*
1999 - 2000 Phil Edwards
2001 - 2004 Rob Julandar
2004 - Present Dave Beltrame*
* also served as Program Chair

Side Note by Dee Johnson: In 1992 John Ward, Curt Stahr (Photography), and I went to China for a 14 day exchange tour of Beijing and many other large cities. We were accompanied by Zhang Chao (John), a Chinese interpreter, Yuan (Bob) Bosheng, a photographer for a large newspaper, and a driver who spoke no English. The entire trip was arranged by Anne Shodde, Vice President of International Affairs. We had everything paid for including air fare, transportation, admission fees, accommodations, and all food. We toured The Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Bejiing Zoo, The Great Wall, The Northern Tombs, Shian where we viewed the Terra Cotta soldiers, and much more. In exchange, Yuan Bosheng came to the campus and stayed in an apartment in the Commons in the Administrative wing on the Ankeny campus for 6 months. We made him a part of our family. He later wanted to extend his stay but was told "no" so he went to New York City and became a student there. In 2014 he visited us, and he is now involved in working with families in America who have adopted children from China to offer them opportunities to travel back to visit their families in China. He has purchased a house in a small town in Ohio and goes back and forth to China. We found out later that it was his family who paid for our entire trip. It was in excess of $25,000.


The program has gone through many changes in curriculum. The original program consisted of four quarters. The curriculum included projects on the process camera, letterpress and linotype. Students also did some linoleum block printing. Type setting was done on the linotype until they started working with cold type, and then they had an IBM composer for the body copy but mainly used a compugrahic machine (the most updated new technology of its time) to compose the majority of the type. They produced notepads, small print projects and also handled printing production for the college. They had some exposure to the two-color sheet fed Miehle large-format printing press in their last semester. Students often were employed by industry and did not finish the program.

The curriculum has gone from mostly hand production to everything by electronic computer-based production. The pre-press area has changed the most over the years, but offset printing has maintained itself in the industry and will continue to play an important role in the training of students. The Printing Program (Graphic Technologies) is now under the Visual Communications area, and all students are required to take a course in Printing. The program is ending in 2015, but the courses will still remain as an important part of student training.


• 1985 - Monte Ballard (Commercial Art Class of '74) joined the commercial art program as a full time computer graphics instructor. His objective was to plan and coordinate the training on computers and to design the curriculum for the courses that would be required. Along with Monte's planning, the Program introduced the first computer training in the Typography 2 course. It had four P.C.'s housed in the Printing program building. Seven sections of 10-12 students were training on a program called Max Plus. Only four of the 12 students would actually be able to work on the computer during a class period. Dee Johnson was assigned to coordinate the Graphic Communications programs that included supervision of the Commercial Art and Printing programs. Monte Ballard acted as a liaison between the two programs and was appointed Program Chair of the Printing Program. Penny Sullivan (Commercial Art Class of '82) joined the program as a full time instructor. Penny was originally hired to teach courses for both Commercial Art and Printing students as she was a replacement for Dick Garten in printing and an addition to the growing program staff.

The Commercial Art and Printing programs combined to create the Graphic Communications core. Students were combined in four courses for the first semester of their training. Those courses were:
GRPH 401 Graphic Arts Orientation
GRPH 407 Production Art 1
GRPH 403 Communication Design 1
GRPH 409 Printing Processes
GRPH 405 Typography 1

The Printing Technologies and Commercial Art instructors team-taught the Graphic Arts Orientation courses. Each instructor taught the specific area in their expertise including design, typography, production art, and prepress.

The additional courses that were unique to each training program were Illustration 1 and Communication Design 1 for the Commercial Art students and Keyboarding and Communication Skills were required for the first semester Printing students.

In the second semester the students branched out into their own areas of training with only coring in the Production Art II and Typography II as cored classes. For the remainder of the program training, no coring was possible.

•1989 - With the move of both programs to the Advanced Technology Center building, the cored classes and the introduction of training on p.c.'s the program seemed to meet the widest range of needs for incoming students. The Adobe Pagemaker program was installed on the P.C.'s and thus became the program of choice for layout and design in the introductory desktop publishing course.

Curt Stahr was hired as a full-time photography instructor. Two courses in photography were required of all commercial art students. Curt also taught the elective courses for Arts & Sciences students and one required photography course for printing students.

•1992 - The coring of Commercial Art and Printing ended.

•1995 - Dramatic changes were made to the Printing Technologies program. The name change from Printing Technologies to Graphic Arts added emphasis in Graphic Design. With this change students took the same basic courses in printing, prepress, and digital layout. Entering the 2nd year, students then chose an emphasis in the degree program in either printing or graphic design. Enrollment dramatically increased from 13 to 35 students.

•1998 - Full time instructor Carin Murphy was added in the digital prepress and design areas.

•2002 - The printing methods of flexography was added.

•2003 - Screen-printing was added. Also during this time the Graphic Arts program articulated with the Graphic Communications high school courses at Des Moines Central Campus and also with the bachelor's degree in Graphic Communications at University of Northern Iowa.

•2005 - The program name changed from Graphic Arts to Graphic Technologies. Digital prepress courses expanded and conventional prepress methods of film and stripping were removed. Enrollment remained around 30 with an average of 18-20 graduating with AAS Degrees.

•2010 - Graphic Technologies merged with the Graphic Design program (formerly the Commercial Art program) to form the Visual Communications Diploma. Under this structure students completed the same/similar courses during the first three semesters to complete a Visual Communications Diploma. Students then chose to either complete their education with the diploma or continue their education by pursuing either an AAS Degree in Graphic Design or Graphic Technologies. Under this structure, enrollment in the Graphic Technologies dramatically decreased.

• 2014/15 This was the last year the Graphic Technologies was offered.


The early Advisory committee was made up of
Dale Thatcher: Wallace Homestead/Plain Talk
Darrell Burch: Olson Graphics
Dave Evans: Acme Printing
Don Heuss: Heuss Printing in Ames
Gene Morehart: Plain Talk
Byron Hamilton: Plain Talk
Walt Walker, American Republic Insurance Co.


In 1975 the department took four students to the National VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) contest in Washington D.C. Instructors drove a DMACC van and two Machine Shop students followed in their car. The students represented Commercial Art (Merita Marshall), Printing, Culinary Arts (Cathy), and Machine Shop. Dick Seliger of the Machine Shop program drove the students back from the contest. The VICA students wore bright red jackets and had a parade on the Mall. Over 5,000 contestants from all over America participated in this contest. They also met with the Iowa representative, Charles Grassley, on the steps of Congress. They brought back four National awards, including three Silver awards in Printing, Commercial Art and Culinary Arts. It was a crowning achievement for DMACC students. Later, they formed a DMACC VICA club and the students from Printing, Commercial Art, and Building Trades competed in the National VICA Opening and Closing ceremonies division of the leadership events. The five students won a National Gold Medal, representing cooperation between diverse program areas.

Students have won numerous gold and silver awards (probably 5-10 per year) in the student division of the Gallery of Fine Printing every year and many scholarships also through the old Craftsman's Club, later renamed Midwest Printing & Graphic Association (MPGA) which has now been dissolved.

The MPGA donated the remaining club funds to the DMACC Graphic Technologies Department for necessary printing related equipment.

MPGA was an important industry club that allowed students to network with future employers and to gain and share their knowledge. Students have won awards in the student division of Craftmans Club over the years.


Students participated the Gallery of Superb Printing held every January. This event was sponsored and judged by the Iowa chapter of the Printing House of Craftsmen. Award winning entries were then submitted to national competition of the same organization. Awards were numerous, many students receiving silver and gold awards for their printed projects. Listed here are some of the more prestigious:   

Local Recognition

​2000​Gold​Graphic Arts Candidates Yearbook
(four-color process multipage booklet)
​2000​Judges Citation​1999 Graphic Arts Candidates Yearbook  (Extra recognition for exceptional projects)
National Recognition
​2000​Silver​1999 Pillars of My Success (Two color stationary)
​2000​Silver​1999 Graphic Arts Candidates Yearbook
​2000​Honorable Mention ​1999 Graphic Arts Open House Invitation (Four color process invitation with envelope)
On April 28, 2005 the student run club of the Graphic Arts program known as the "Pressmen's Club" was recognized as "Outstanding Club" by the DMACC Student Activities Council.


Students in this program are able to seek employment anywhere in the printing industry. Many have stayed in Iowa and continue to practice their trade and open their own print shops.


The Printing Program has a long tradition of excellence. The pride is shared by the alumni, students, Advisory Board, and the instructors. They have spent countless hours making certain that curriculum, software, and hardware are state of the art. The accomplishments, changes, and impact on the community is evidence that the students are using skills learned at Des Moines Area Community College and contributing to a growing and changing industry.


Main Text--Dee Johnson - Program Chair Commercial Art (1970-2001) - Communications Director and Edited By Program Chair, Monte Ballard (1984 - 1994) and Visual Communications Chair (2008-2015); Program Chair, Carin Murphy (1999-2009); Program Chair, Dave Beltrame (Printing Class of1971) 2010-2015; and Adjunct Instructor, Marc Broer (Printing Class of1974) Owner of County Line Printing - Ankeny, Iowa.