By Megan Freeman, Feb. 15, 2022
After decades of service as the facilities manager to the Department of Theatre and New Dance at Cal Poly Pomona, Dennis Logan passed away on Jan. 3.
Logan worked at CPP from 1963 to 2007, revamping the campus theater and mentoring many members of the CPP community. With his signature cowboy boots and plaid shirts, Logan was always ready to start the day.
Logan’s duty was to design and maintain the university theater on campus. Before coming to Cal Poly Pomona, he worked at Disneyland as a maintenance worker.
He would always advocate for students to be able to work with the best equipment and nothing that was outdated.
“He said he wanted to spend every dime he could of the dean’s money so they wouldn’t be buying new office furniture for themselves when we could be buying computers or programs for the students to be using,” said Joyce Ehrenberg, a co-worker of Logan for nearly 27 years at both Disneyland and CPP.
Logan left his mark on many individuals from the West to East Coast alike by opening many doors for CPP students working at Disneyland to Broadway.
Logan was born in Chicago in the year 1943, his first job was doing some backstage work at a marionette show at the age of roughly 10. As well as Disneyland, some of Logan’s many jobs included KNBC, the Hollywood Bowl and Chaffey College.
“We would go to New York,” said Linda Bisesti, a professor in the Department of Theatre and New Dance, “Dennis was amazing; he would arrange for the students to have backstage tours of Broadway houses.”
Along with providing students with these experiences, he always made sure his students paid attention to detail and would do careful work.
“(To Logan) it was really important that you did things the right way,” said Jonathan Bastow, the current facilities manager, and Logan’s mentee. “That was one of the things that made it so you could go to any theater company and say, ‘I worked with Dennis!’ and they would be like ‘Yep! You are fine!’”
Logan’s attention to detail was what set him apart as a mentor.
“He was incredibly knowledgeable,” said Ehrenberg. “He was an autodidact; he would buy one of something so that he could take it apart and figure out how it worked.”
Bastow said that after Logan retired, he would sometimes wake up at 4 a.m., call him, and say, “I have to go to work,” and proceed to get ready for his day.
He was a “fountain of knowledge,” according to Ehrenberg. Students would come to his office and sit with him to pick his brain about everything, knowing his passion for all things theatre related.
He had a true “learn by doing” approach with projects he needed to complete on campus. Logan took it into his own hands and would teach and supervise students who showed an interest in learning how to do handiwork by allowing them to help with his projects; the best part was he paid them as well. One of the students he supervised rewired and installed the sound room in the theater from scratch.
Logan was also fair and wanted himself and his female co-workers to be paid the same amount. He always advocated for equality in the workspace.
“In all the years I worked with him, I never heard an off-colored joke or a racist or sexist remark,” said Ehrenberg. “He was no prince, but he was incredibly fair and a very decent man.”
Friends of Logan remember him for how loyal he was to them and how much he had other’s backs. He was sociable and held excellent cast parties at his home.
“He is like a bear,” said Ehrenberg, “Sometimes, you get the teddy bear, and sometimes you get the grizzly bear, and you are never quite sure which one you are going to get.”
Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Bastow.
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