Joyce Kachergis, 1925–2018
Joyce used to joke that she was hired at the UNC Press as a design and production manager in 1962 because she was a “faculty wife” and did not require a large salary. We rather think that then director Lambert Davis noted her sharp intellect, her degree in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her involvement in Serigraph Studio which she ran with her husband George, (an abstract painter and Art Professor), and the many projects she free-lance designed for the Institute of Government on the UNC campus at the request of Albert Coates.
Joyce was obviously a shrewd hire. She loved to read books and she loved to design them. During her tenure at UNC Press she wrote, submitted, and won a grant from the Kresge Foundation to start an in-house composition facility. It was the first of its kind for any university press in the country. Many of the people Joyce hired and mentored went on to lead very distinguished careers in scholarly publishing. She kept in touch with many of them through the years as they had become close friends. She was also instrumental in writing a grant application to the same Kresge Foundation to secure funding for a new building that UNC Press occupies to this day.
Joyce left UNC Press in 1977 to become the design and production manager at Stanford University Press. She missed the east coast and her Chatham County home. When University Press of New England director Tom McFarland offered her a job, and opportunity to work long- distance, Joyce eagerly accepted the offer. She left Stanford in the summer of 1980, returned to her Chatham County home that she loved, and founded Kachergis Book Design with her daughter, Anne.
The early years at Kachergis Book Design (KBD) were filled with hard work, great design, and lots of laughter. Here too, Joyce helped launch many of the people who worked at KBD in those early years to distinguished careers in design, mainly in scholarly publishing.
Joyce embraced new technology with enthusiasm and kept her knowledge of modern design technique current. She believed that designers should be knowledgeable of all aspects of manufacturing, so that they could understand the limitations and use tech innovations to the fullest.
Joyce won awards for her book design, many from the annual American Association of University Presses Book and Journal show, but also from the Chicago Book Clinic, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the American Association of Museum Publications Competition; five of her designs were represented in the Leipzig International Book Design Exhibition in 1989.
Joyce was an active member of the American Association of University Presses. She organized an annual meeting in Asheville, NC in 1977 and she co-founded WISP, Women in Scholarly Publishing.
Joyce never retired fully, and loved to critique jacket and text designs to the very end. We are forever grateful to her as a teacher, mentor, colleague, friend, and inspiration.