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National education leader to receive honorary degree

Ernie Logan ’73, former president of the labor union representing America’s public school administrators, will receive an honorary degree from the State University of New York during SUNY Cortland’s 2024 Commencement.

Logan, president emeritus of the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), is being recognized for an influential career of public service, educational excellence and goal-directed dedication that exemplifies the values of SUNY Cortland.

“One of the many reasons SUNY Cortland stands out as a national leader in teacher education has to do with successful alumni like Ernie Logan,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “His impressive career as an educator and labor leader improved the school experiences of countless students, teachers and administrators, especially those in New York City.”

Logan was born in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, the 11th of 13 children. His father, an engineer, died when Logan was 8. But the elder Logan had imbued in his son the importance of a college degree, and his mother stressed the importance of education for her children despite the hardships they faced.

After graduating from SUNY Cortland, he earned a master’s degree in education from Baruch College and began his education career teaching English in the New York City School system. Logan was a leader among school administrators and became active in New York City’s Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union representing education administrators in the nation’s largest public school district.

In that role he successfully negotiated substantial salary increases and health care stability as well as school reforms, instituting a rating system for principals based on school performance and leadership competencies. Logan was a leading advocate for New York City’s Pre-K for All program. For decades, he worked closely with city, state and federal officials to build bridges and secure legislation that enabled school administrators to excel in their roles.

In 2018, he was elected president of the American Federation of School Administrators. As a national representative of school administrators, professionals and supervisors, he became a vice president of AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, and currently sits on its executive council.

Logan has received numerous awards from education organizations and is a board member for New Visions for Public Schools and the New York Research Alliance. He and his wife, Beatrice, created the Ernest A. Logan ’73 Scholarship at SUNY Cortland, providing tuition assistance for public school students from New York City. He also serves as co-chair of the Development Committee for the Cortland College Foundation board of directors.

Last year, Logan was the keynote speaker at SUNY Cortland’s inaugural Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day, a new annual event honoring the university’s first Black graduate.

President Bitterbaum will present Logan with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters during Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 11.

“Ernie has kept Cortland close to his heart for many years,” Bitterbaum said. “His life’s work is something for all of our graduates to strive toward.”