August 24, 2011
His friends and family were in agreement: David Logan, AB'39, JD'41, was a towering individual.
His son Dan Logan, referring to the slideshow shown on July 9 at a celebration of David Logan's life (1918-2011), said, "It made me feel good to be once again looking up to my father, which I did for 60 years."
It is perhaps fitting that the building to bear the Logan family name, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, also is designed to tower and inspire. Slated for completion next year, the state-of-the-art building will be a hub for many of the University's academic and co-curricular arts programs, with a 174-foot tower overlooking the Midway Plaisance. It will provide new opportunities for partnership with visiting artists, arts organizations, and the broader community.
Love of jazz and storytelling
In a tribute to David Logan's love of jazz and storytelling, the afternoon at the Law School included great jazz music and an opportunity to share stories about his long and influential life.
"If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have discovered these wonderfully creative people who shared their stories today,” said his son Jon Logan. “I've grown to love jazz, photography, and the arts through working with my father and mother. I can't thank them enough.
“Today is about how we felt about Dave and the things that Dave did for us, did with us, and the lessons he left us,” Jon Logan added. “It took a village to keep Dave going. The most important part of that village was my mother, Reva. He doted on her like crazy and it was beautiful to watch."
University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer described how his relationship with David, which began during early discussions about the possibility of a naming gift, developed into a friendship as they discovered common bonds and values.
"[David] talked about growing up as a Jewish kid in Chicago in the first half of the 20th century, and I described my family's own history in New York City," President Zimmer said. "We talked about the arts and the importance of the arts to the University, to the state, to the city, and to youth in our schools. We talked about baseball. He discussed the many, many people that he had known in Chicago and elsewhere, many of them familiar figures of note."
Several of those figures were in attendance, including Shirley Madigan, chairman of the Illinois Arts Council; Brent Sikkema, a New York–based art dealer; Sam Stephenson, director of the Jazz Loft Project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; and Ben Rothblatt, a close friend and advisor of David's. Each spoke of the profound role that he played in their respective careers, as well as in their personal lives.
Family, friends, and community
As Jon Logan concluded the formal program, he remembered that his father "had a brilliant mind that was always fully engaged. I think that was one of the reasons he couldn't sleep well. He couldn't slow his mind down. He was thinking all the time."
At the reception that followed the formal presentation, June Podagrosi offered a moving glimpse of a man who cared about the impact of his work. Describing a children's theater project that David had supported, Ms. Podagrosi noted, "When the show was over [David] expressed his admiration for our work. He smiled and asked so many questions, deep questions, about the process. He seemed fascinated by how we worked with the children. His interest was genuine."
Through their stories many remembered the advice David Logan had given them.
“When I was a senior at DePaul, I had the opportunity to buy a used Toyota Celica for about $1,500," said Lance Champaign, a former employee. "And [David] said, 'Lance, you shouldn't buy that. Why don't you buy three shares of Berkshire Hathaway?' I, of course, opted for the Celica."
Bill Michel, executive director of the Logan Center, concluded the day with his remembrance: “David never forgot what it was like growing up poor in Logan Square. In all the great things that he has done, most importantly, David was someone who cared about his family, friends, and community."
By Joshua Casteel
Describing a children's theater project that David Logan had supported, June Podagrosi noted, "When the show was over [David] expressed his admiration for our work. He smiled and asked so many questions, deep questions, about the process. He seemed fascinated by how we worked with the children. His interest was genuine."