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A Tribute to Paul Kissel

Press release from the issuing company

Paul Kissel, editor of PRINT-EQUIP News, passed away October 11th at the age of 91.

Our graphic communication profession lost an icon. I prepared the following tribute to Paul Kissel—journalist, scholar, mentor and philosopher.

Every discipline that has become an institution has a philosophy and its philosophers that have collectively contributed to the teachings and wisdom of the disciplines. Dating back to the ancient Greeks and the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Heraclitus, Protagoras and others, the roots of reason, logic, law, politics, medicine, education, technology, and virtually every facet of living, then and now, were planted. These roots grew into bodies of knowledge and guidance that have strengthened the institutions of humanity throughout the ages. But it was not the ancient Greeks alone responsible for many of the norms and values of modern society.  There were others who lived before and after those of ancient Greece. There was Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius, among many other religious philosophers. There was Smith, Marx, Mill, and Keynes along with many other great economic thinkers. And, there is Burke, Richards, Weaver, and Meade among the modern philosophers of rhetoric and communication.
An institution develops because of its contributions to the necessity of human and social development and, indeed, each discipline worthy of having developed into an institution has done so because of its scholars, intellectuals, and critical thinkers responsible for “growing” that institution as a guiding force of instruction for living, societal growth, human relationships, relationships between people and their environment, and communications. Each institution today has its philosophies and philosophers; the counterparts of the great ancient philosophers of the past. Education has them, law has them, religion has them, medicine has them and, indeed, graphic communication has them.
There are some who, during the 20th century, pursued scholarship, learning and wisdom in graphic communication and who have parleyed their experiences into lucrative careers for many and into meaningful contributions as “modern philosophers of printing.” They collectively have helped define a philosophy of printing for future generations to embrace in perpetuating the growth of knowledge and wisdom, and a better quality of life for those in the twentieth-first century and perhaps beyond.
Paul Kissel is one of those philosophers who helped shape and define the wonderful institution of printing that has meant so much to the progress of humanity in the twentieth century.
Harvey R. Levenson, Ph. D.
Department Head, Graphic Communication
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, Calif.