The Daily Californian Online

Longtime Supporter of the Arts, Journalism Dies at 93

By Emma Anderson
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Friday, January 28, 2011
Category: News > Obituaries

Philanthropist and financial backer for Berkeley's Center for Investigative Reporting and UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism David Logan died Jan. 22 due to pneumonia following a heart operation at the age of 93.

A funeral was held Wednesday in Chicago.

Throughout his life, Logan dedicated his time, energy and financial support to promoting his passions of journalism and the arts as well as to the principle of providing opportunities for all. He funded projects such as PBS's Frontline documentary series, a competition to promote social and environmental problem-solving among students and - more recently - a $35 million gift to found the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Chicago.

Born to Lithuanian immigrant parents in Chicago, Logan grew up poor and worked hard to become a "self-made man," getting his start in law and investing in Chicago real estate, according to friends and family.

"His father and mother both worked long hours to make sure that their kids had everything they needed," said son Jonathan Logan. "His mother was determined that they should go to the best schools that they could ... so they worked very hard and successfully to get this nice Jewish boy to Catholic school."

Through the Reva and David Logan Foundation, which Logan set up with his wife, he funded projects all over the country.

"He just loved the idea of helping people find their potential, finding the diamond in the rough and helping them succeed," said nephew Peter Frumkin.

Known for saying investigative journalism is the "guardian of the public interest," Logan invested in various programs based on this mantra. Through his foundation, Logan was a major donor to the Center for Investigative Reporting, established the Reva and David Logan Distinguished Professor of Investigative Reporting position at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and established the Logan Symposium for investigative reporters and students.

Lowell Bergman, co-founder of the Center for Investigative Reporting who holds the investigative reporting professor position at the journalism school, said the two met for the first time over lunch before Logan gave the center a large gift in 2005.

"We immediately had a fight over lunch," Bergman said. "He was badgering me about what I do and why it was important, so we got in a big argument, and at the end of the argument, he wrote a check, and a month or two later, he sent $1.5 million to spark the endowment for a permanent teaching position for investigative reporting."

Logan also possessed a passion for music and art, an interest evident in his support for Ken Burns' "Jazz" documentary series and in the 29 years he spent on the Illinois Arts Council.

"My father could listen to an album and pick out a solo, and he could tell you each person playing," Jonathan Logan said. "There could be five trumpet players, and he could tell you each one."

Those who knew Logan described him as "tough" and "strong," with a gut feeling for which projects he wanted to fund.

"He had a deep, gravelly voice, and he was a very imposing figure. No nonsense," said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting. "I think he was sort of a teddy bear, too. He had a tough exterior, but obviously had a huge heart, and he helped a lot of people."

Logan is survived by wife of nearly 69 years, Reva, as well as by three sons, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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