A legacy to remember

Louis Berkman was among the last of his generation of industrialists and philanthropists.

They were men who worked hard to build their companies but, at the same, time gave back to the communities where those companies were located.

Berkman died last Monday at the age of 104.

His list of contributions is lengthy, but those that knew him said there was so much more that he did behind the scenes.

Some may donate to have their names on buildings, but Berkman was told by many that he needed to do more for his legacy in the area.

The Louis and Sandra Berkman Foundation funded the construction of the Louis and Sandra Berkman Amphitheater at the Old Fort Steuben Project, which was dedicated in October 2006. Berkman only wanted a small plaque to recognize the contribution.

He was involved in the fundraising for St. John Medical Center, which has grown into Trinity Medical Center West, and the St. John Arena, which has been transformed into the YMCA Wellsness Center. He made a donation to secure the Toronto site for TIMET. Berkman presented a deed for land in Toronto so a new school could be built on the site. Berkman was also instrumental in the rebuilding of the Steubenville Country Club after it was destroyed by fire in the early 1960s, and donated the land on Lovers Lane for Temple Beth Israel.

Through the Louis and Sandra Berkman Foundation, he established the H.L. Berkman Faculty and Staff Dining Room and the Sandra Weiss Berkman Studio for Ceramic Arts at Bethany College. The foundation also was responsible for the Learning Resource Center, The Louis Berkman Fireside Lounge in the J.C. Williams Center and the Science and Technology Building at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The Foundation has contributed to Catholic Central High School for the creation of the Berkman Theater at Lanman Hall which was completed in the spring. In 1986 Berkman through the foundation established the Louis Berkman Professor of Economics at Harvard University and in 1998 the foundation established the Louis Berkman Scholarship fund at both the Franciscan University and Bethany College. In the same year, the Louis Berkman Scholarship was established at Cornell University.

Berkman worked hard and wanted that in his employees. He also was good to his workers, often paying for them or family members to go to the Franciscan University of Steubenville. But he warned them they had to do well in their studies. He was remembered by those that knew him as being a person who lived life to the fullest.

After Berkman made a donation, he would always tell people to call him if they needed anything more.

Berkman’s legacy in our area will not be forgotten. The lesson he lived his life by of hard work and giving back to the community is something that can be practiced by nearly everyone.