Days before Yale’s two new residential colleges were approved last week, a former mayor who helped make the expansion possible passed away Dec. 31 at the age of 86.

Former New Haven Mayor Frank Logue ’48, LAW ’51 founded the National Urban Fellows Program to support minorities in leadership positions and worked to improve the relationship between the University and New Haven during his time as mayor.

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Earlier this month, the Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the University’s new residential colleges, an example of what city and University officials say is mutual cooperation and respect. This has not always been the case.

“In the old system, New Haven saw Yale as a leech sucking blood out of the city,” said Yale historian Gaddis Smith ’54 GRD ’61. He aded that Logue played “an important part in breaking this terrible impasse.”

In an effort to ease the tension between the town and the University, Logue supported the PILOT (payments in liu of taxes) program,“the most important piece of legislation at the Connecticut state level that involved Yale,” Smith said.

Passed in the early ’80s, PILOT was a program to compensate Connecticut cities for the tax revenue lost on tax-exempt properties like the land owned by colleges. Because the University does not pay property taxes, it makes a direct payment to New Haven.

Smith called Logue a “conciliator who realized the city was in trouble and needed more help from Yale” as PILOT was central to improving Yale’s relationship with New Haven.

Before he became mayor, Logue was a member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen from 1972 to 1975. After defeating incumbent Democratic Mayor Bart Guida in his party’s primary, Logue served two consecutive two-year terms as New Haven’s mayor from 1976 to 1979.

Logue was also known as the founder and president of the National Urban Fellows Program from 1969 to 1976, which works to counteract the under-representation of minorities in leadership positions and helps prepare them for careers in public service.

After his time as mayor, Logue remained involved in New Haven’s affairs.

In 2001, Logue supported current mayor John DeStefano Jr. in his campaign for reelection over his opponent state Sen. Martin M. Looney, who had been in Logue’s administration previously.

DeStefano praised Logue’s work and in his own tenure has continued to improve the relationship between the University and New Haven by supporting New Haven Promise and the construction of the new residential colleges.

“I’ve worked with four ex-mayors of New Haven during my years, and Frank had a wonderful active period of time after he left,” DeStefano said in a press conference last week.

Logue later worked as a labor arbitrator prior to retirement. He also volunteered throughout New Haven, advocated historic preservation and greatly supported the arts. Logue helped reopen the historic Shubert Theater and served on the board of the Elm Shakespeare Company. He also worked as a consultant to organizations such as the Ford Foundation.

“He loved the city of New Haven and felt blessed to be able to pursue his passions for justice, art, education and civic well-being as a citizen as well as in his role as a leader,” said his daughter Nancy Logue in a press release.

Though funeral services are private, a public memorial celebration is scheduled for early spring.