Professor Kellogg reflects on 25 years at DMACC

IMG_7586-copywebDo you remember where you were in the year 1990? Feel free to take a moment; I am sure you will need it. Some of you like myself were not born yet. Sorry, Professor Kellogg, I am not trying to make you feel old (he probably would not mind anyway).

Professor of Anthropology Dennis Kellogg has been at DMACC since 1990. He is planning on retiring next year May/December. Having spent 25 years at DMACC, one might wonder what has kept him here all these years.

“Hands down the students. I love the students. It is what kept me here,” he said.

Kellogg loves the students for a number of reasons, and he explains.

“I am pushing pretty close to seventy here. They keep me young, give me a tremendous amount of hope for the future. And keeping me from becoming a grumpier old man and fly fishing,” he said.

According to Kellogg, he has taught at universities and colleges, and the reason he loves DMACC is its conducive environment and the lack of politics.

“One of the reasons I stayed at DMACC it is an incredible wonderful place to be. You get a lot of support. It does not have the politics you see at four year colleges. Everybody is laid back and everybody is interested in the students. We have an open door policy,” he said.

Kellogg has not always been an anthropology professor. He is a veteran, taught history, and was a cultural archeologist. It was an encounter with one of his advisors down at the Mississippi River Valley that got his attention to archeology.

“Most of my time has been in historical archeology. I spent some time in the field reconstructing and interpreting artifacts; where they come from at that time, were they German immigrants coming in, the French or was it Native Americans living in the area. So that was what interested me and it kind of grew from there,” Kellogg said.

Going to DMACC was when he decided to get an anthropology degree.

“I was told by my predecessor that he was going to retire and that if I wanted the position I needed to get a degree in anthropology. So I went to Iowa State and got my degree,” he said.

Twenty five years on, with retirement not so far away, Kellogg admits that it is scary and he would probably transition out slowly.

“Looking around this office, one of the things that kept me here for so long is I don’t want to clean this place up. I have a mess here that I don’t want to dig into. I should, I’m an archeologist by trade, but it’s no fun. I already know what’s in the layers,” he said.

As for his retirement plans, among the list is going back to old hobbies. His will not be one of reading and writing memoirs.

“I used to carve and sculpt, I have an undergraduate in art. I have a workshop back in my garage, I’ll probably get back to doing that,” Kellogg said.

There is more to his plans than that. He plans on doing what “old people do.”

“Having coffee with the guys. Hang out at the old senior centers, eat cookies and chase after old women, I don’t know,” he jokingly added. 

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