Susquehanna Litho Club History
Jim Walsh, the founder of the Susquehanna Litho Club, became the manager of Seller Printing Company in 1957 after its purchase by Autocraft Box Company. Jim’s only prior printing experience was in flexography at Topflight Tape Company. The staff at Seller was helpful in explaining the lithographic process to him; however, Jim wanted to learn more.
He tried to visit other plants but was always refused, until a salesman from Atlantic Paper Company arranged for him to spend a week in Philadelphia at the DuPont plant and at another company. During that week, he met with the officers of the Philadelphia Litho Club and gathered ideas for starting a similar club in the Susquehanna Valley. With their help, he devised a plan to contact all of the printers in Lancaster and the surrounding areas. Several other suppliers volunteered not only to help prepare the list but also to personally support the program. An initial meeting was held in Lancaster, with several more following, and the Susquehanna Litho Club was formed in 1959 with James Walsh as the first president.
The Susquehanna Litho Club has a long tradition of reaching out to the community. In the late 1970s, we initiated a scholarship through our industry’s independent National Scholarship Trust Fund. The fund was established through a $2,000 anonymous endowment and $3/club member rollover from the club’s working capital and grew until 1985 when the club awarded the first $500 grant to Mark Snyder, son of Albert Snyder (club president 1989-90). By the second year, we increased the number of awards to two scholarships. We also began a graphics competition for local school students in the 1980s. Acknowledging economic realities, we increased the individual scholarship amounts to $1,000 in the 1990s.
In 1997, the Susquehanna Litho Club established the Susquehanna Litho Foundation as a vehicle for donations and administration of scholarships. In 2001, the Susquehanna Litho Foundation kicked off a $175,000 capital campaign to ensure future scholarships and make funds available for grants to train employees in the industry.
Today the foundation, nearing completion of its $175,000 campaign goal, awards six printing-related scholarships. The club also provides education and fellowship for its members through meetings, golf outings, professional development, student nights, and a membership social. The club has over 100 members as of 2013.