Doug Lyke dreamed of wearing an editor’s green eyeshade, but his father warned him to be a businessman. In 1962, at 32, Doug became “a small country printer.” He bought the Ripon Commonwealth-Press and a small, backroom printshop with a staff of 12.
In the 40 years following, Doug immersed himself in community activities and built strong bonds to Ripon College. His newspaper and his column were constant award winners, and the Commonwealth-Press was more than once named “Newspaper of the Year” in Wisconsin. In 1964, his newspaper became one of the pioneers in Wisconsin to convert to offset printing. With that technical advance, Doug turned the backshop printing business into a $40-million-a-year enterprise. It includes the distinction of being the largest printer of educational catalogues in the world, and now employs 350 people.
In running and growing his business, however, Doug was never too busy to be a newspaperman, always finding time to write editorials and columns, cover the school board, and chase ambulances and fire trucks. He also served as president of WNA. Doug truly distinguished himself in his retirement, spending two weeks each summer teaching elementary students about journalism. He has also gone to Russia several times to teach fledgling printers and publishers how to improve their operations, as well as consulting with Russian newspapers. Doug has served also as a mentor, teaching first graders to read.