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The graphic communication department is celebrating International Printing Week by featuring professional speakers from all over the globe. The week includes a dedication ceremony of new printing equipment.

The international celebration commemorates the birthday of Benjamin Franklin. This year marks the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth on Jan. 17, 1706.

Graphic industry speakers gave presentations to students about new developments in printing technology as well as the latest encryption techniques. Students attended lectures free of charge.

Department chair Harvey Levenson said the lectures are “a present for our students.”

Professionals from international companies known outside the print world such as Xerox and Eastman Kodak, as well as companies specializing in printing like Goss and Heidelberg, gave lectures.

Lecture series topics included technology and management involved in printing, imaging, packaging and Web development.

Speakers explained new technology in printing, including the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID), a wireless tracking device used to locate packages, used by shipping companies. Cal Poly has the ability to print labels with RFID, Levenson said.

Ron Selvey, a Cal Poly GrC alumnus and Government Printing Office employee, explained that RFID technology allows encryption specialists to embed signatures and personal photos into documents like passports to aid in the battle against forgery.

Students attended the lectures instead of going to regularly scheduled classes and had a variety of opinions on their favorite lectures so far.

“The cutting edge technology lecture was the most interesting,” said Ashley Whelan, a graphic communication senior.

“I really liked the speaker from Central Coast Magazine,” said John Rosas, a graphic communication senior. “I did not know that magazines have to be ready to print every 20 days.”

“The freelance graphic design seminar was honest about what to expect in the industry. You’re not going to be a millionaire straight out of college,” said Jessica Greenwalt, a graphic communications junior. Greenwalt said she enjoys her major and looks forward to the industry, despite any financial setbacks.

The graphic communications department dedicated all of the new digital printers that the department received last year in a ceremony on Wednesday to Hewlett Packard and Xerox, who donated the digital printers.

The printers were dedicated specifically during International Print Week to commemorate the event at Cal Poly.

Hewlett Packard’s sales development and marketing representative, Pete Vorenkamp said that it’s “critical to be involved with education and the next leaders.”

Vorenkamp said that the donation of the printer represents a partnership and an investment for Hewlett Packard.

“If you guys learn our technology you will be comfortable with our workforce and you will be more efficient,” James Huggins, a Xerox sales director, said.

Students understand that concept as well.

“If students are familiar with particular companies they will use them in the future,” said Cece Chen, a graphic communications junior.

The department also plans to dedicate a memorial endowment to honor Terry Bell, a former Atascadero resident and industry professional.

The week wraps up with a career day on Jan. 20 for students interested in a career in graphic communication.

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