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Dr. Garibaldi's Remarks on the Life of Sam Logan, Jr., Michigan Chronicle Editor

Sam Logan Jr.On behalf of University of Detroit Mercy, I want to extend my condolences to the family of Sam Logan Jr. Even though I knew Sam for the shortest period of time, I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know him over the past year.  Mr. Logan cherished his 1973 College of Business Administration degree from University of Detroit Mercy, and his daughters told me over the past week how much he loved to show his school ring to others. Some think that he appreciated his UDM degree so much more because it took him 15 long years to achieve his goal --- taking classes in the evening while juggling his work and family responsibilities, as well as his extensive list of civic and community commitments. But I believe he appreciated his bachelor’s degree so much because he was able to model, in a quiet way, the value and importance he placed on education. For Sam, it did not matter how old you were or how long it took you to obtain a college degree. 

Knowing how proud he was of his degree from the University, you can imagine his excitement this past October when he was inducted into the Hall of Honor of UDM’s College of Business Administration. It was another notable achievement for Sam, as he joined a select group of College of Business Administration alumni. And for students, faculty, staff and alumni who walk the main floor of the Commerce & Finance Building, Sam’s photo is prominently displayed to remind them and all of us that personal and professional success are obtained through hard work, commitment and persistence. Sam’s family, his colleagues, friends and the University community know how special that honor was to him. He earned it, and it was well deserved.

When I was introduced to Sam a little more than a year ago, I was told that he was one of the most influential people in the metropolitan area and the state; and I should get to know him. In a matter of minutes, we established connections with our native Louisiana backgrounds and some people we knew in common. He offered his assistance immediately and, as I learned quickly, that was typical of Sam Logan. Several months later when he and Bankole Thompson came to campus this past August to discuss his plans for promoting my arrival to the area, calling our meeting "a reunion" would probably be the best way to describe it. Before Sam could sit down, I told him that one of my cousins who has lived here since 1944 and had known him for more than 40 years said to tell him hello. His curiosity was piqued and he wondered who might that person be. After a few hints, I told him it was Emile Duplessis, and his face lit up with a huge smile and he laughed loudly. Much of the rest of the first part of the meeting was reminiscing about “South America,” as he liked to call the South, and some of the people we knew. Even Bankole, Sam’s protégé and valued senior editor, enjoyed a moment of this pleasant exchange of "one degree of separation" as we quickly discovered that his godfather, Ambassador George Haley, former Ambassador to The Gambia and brother of Alex Haley, was another mutual friend. Without a doubt, our personal and professional bonds were strengthened even more.

Looking back on Sam Logan’s life, his experiences and accomplishments are characteristic of a Renaissance man.  In addition to being a promoter of and advocate for education, he was also a teacher who conveyed his thoughts and views in words daily and weekly; a paratrooper in the U.S. Army; the  architect of the Michigan Chronicle for 40 years, 30 of which was as publisher; a historic three-time award-winning Publisher of the Year by the National Newspaper Publishers Association; the Neal Shine Award for lifetime commitment to media; the recipient of  other numerous honors for his civic and community service, including  the Boy Scouts of America Medal of Honor, an honorary doctorate from Central Michigan University and especially the Damon J. Keith Humanitarian Award, presented by his longtime personal friend Judge Damon J. Keith; and his inductions into the Hall of Fames of Joe Louis, Cobo Hall, Junior Achievement and the International  Institute Foundation, and at least two dozen or more awards.

Because of Sam’s admiration of University of Detroit Mercy and our pride in him, we were very pleased when Bankole and Sam’s family visited me earlier this week to begin the process of establishing an academic scholarship in his honor. Education was extremely important to him, and he enjoyed speaking to students whenever he came back home to his alma mater. The students enjoyed hearing about his countless challenges and remarkable experiences during his lifetime, and his message inspired them even more. And so it is fitting that the Samuel Logan Scholarship is being established at UDM to provide students with limited financial resources to achieve the same goals Sam set for himself so that one day those students can also make a difference in Detroit, the state and the world.

As we all know, Sam was well known for speaking his mind, and he considered himself an independent. And those are two of the reasons why some people agreed with him and others disagreed with him. But he was never afraid to express what he truly believed, and he respected differences of opinion. Sam’s ability to be comfortable with speaking his mind and being an independent seems to be best summed up in one of my favorite quotations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., written in his 1963 book Strength to Love. Dr. King said:

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

That quote truly depicts Sam: sometimes taking stands of challenge and controversy, but in the end being true to himself and his point of view. As we celebrate his life, let us remember the lessons he taught us and the courage he displayed.

Antoine M. Garibaldi, President
University of Detroit Mercy