Whiteman lecture presents titanic success
April 11, 2014
Tony Shek / The Courier - Mary Kellogg-Joslyn presents at the annual Whiteman Lecture last Thursday in Dahl Chapel.
Monmouth native and Monmouth College alumna Mary Kellogg-Josyln has turned her life into a titanic success. After twenty-years of the lecture series, Kellogg-Josyln is also the first woman to be the Whiteman Lecturer. Kellogg-Joslyn is the Executive Vice President of Cedar Bay Entertainment and runs the company’s two Titanic Museums, one in Branson, Mo. and the other in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Her lecture “How Can One Letter Change Your Life?” charted her travels from CBS to Senior Executive Vice President of Television for the Walt Disney Company to her place as captain of the Titanic museum.
Junior history major Andrew Shiakallis gave the introduction. Even though Kellogg-Joslyn worked at Disney, Shiakallis may love Mickey-Mouse’s company even more. He’s visited Disney World over fifty times.
So how does one letter change a life?
While shooting “Live with Regis and Kelly” shows around the United States, Kellogg-Josyln got a letter; amongst the hundreds she received a day, from a medium-sized entertainment town in Mo. called Branson. The brains behind Branson, home to minor stars such as Ray Stevens, wanted Philbin to do a show. After a few months, Mary Kellogg-Josyln finally acquiesced to requests to have a show there and, needless to say, it was a hit.
While Kellogg-Josyln was at Disney, her husband, John Kellogg-Josyln, was one of the first entertainment makers to travel to see the sunken Titanic. After countless hours of footage and miles of photos, John Kellogg-Josyln traveled and displayed his footage along with hundreds of real artifacts from the ship. After a worldwide travel exhibition, he was in a fix; he didn’t know what to do with the priceless artifacts.
Knowing her husband’s problem, she had an idea. “Branson was a nice property,” Mary Kellogg-Josyln said. John Kellogg-Josyln was informed and in March 2006, after fourteen months of construction, Cedar Bay Entertainment’s Titanic Branson operation was opened.
Prior to the opening, though, Mary Kellogg-Josyln had what perhaps was her best idea. With all these Titanic artifacts and a fresh-new property, she knew what her husband, president of Cedar Bay Entertainment, had probably already wondered: who was going to run the museum? Mary Kellogg-Josyln, who said, “you have got to know when it’s time to move,” provided the answer: herself.
While she really enjoys being head of operations at the two Titanic museums, it’s not even the best part of her switch to Cedar Bay Entertainment. “We actually get to spend Christmas together,” Mary Kellogg-Josyln said of her and her husband.
Aside from Christmas the two are busy running the museum exhibition and ensuring patrons the best Titanic experience possible. Mary Kellogg-Josyln stated she wanted to give a real life experience to the museum patrons and stressed the real story of the Titanic. “I had a feeling there was too much focus on the ship,” she said. “The titanic had many of stories, those stories were the lives of the passengers.”
In order to make sure patrons are receiving the best experience, Mary Kellogg-Josyln employs a “Captain’s University” for her staff. The reason for her university is not only to inform the staff of Titanic facts, but also to emphasize the importance of keeping things fresh. “At Titanic, we try to make the scenario like it’s the ‘first’ time,” said Mary Kellogg-Josyln.