The campus community mourns the loss of one of its own.

Brooklyn College Bids Farewell to Al Tanger

July 22, 2014

Al Tanger '01 supported Brooklyn College because he understood the importance of having affordable access to a quality education.

Alexander M. Tanger '01, known as 'Al' to the people close to him, passed away peacefully at his home in Newton, Mass., on Saturday, June 21, surrounded by his loving family. He was 94 years old.

Tanger first enrolled at Brooklyn College in the spring of 1939, but took a leave of absence after the spring 1940 semester to work his very first full-time job at WNCW radio, where he met his future wife Brenda. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he married Brenda, enlisted in the military, served as an officer in the U.S. Army, where he used his expertise to set up radar installations in the Aleutian Islands.

After serving his tour of duty, Tanger moved with Brenda to Massachusetts and worked as an ad salesperson for a local radio station. The station added a television operation, WHDH-TV, which he managed for almost 20 years. In 1966, he bought WLKW radio in Providence, R.I. It would be the first of 20 radio, television, and Internet stations that Tanger would own during his career.

In 1997, Brooklyn College offered Tanger an honorary degree, opting instead to complete the 40 credits he needed to earn his degree at the college. In 2001, he received his Bachelor of Arts in television and radio at a ceremony where he also gave the valedictory address.

A dedicated and longtime donor to the college, Tanger has made major contributions to the Department of Television and Radio, the Brooklyn College Library, and Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College, which is named in his honor. Tanger's philanthropy inspired his family also to be supporters of the college. Tanger's son, Woody, donated the state-of-the-art, multimedia auditorium inside the library. Tanger, who served on the Board of Trustees, made the college's mission of providing access to an affordable, rigorous education his own.

"This is where I was brought up," he remembered about his time at the college. "The students at this school are serious. You need good grades to get in, and you have to want the education because—as we did—the students live at home and help support their families with full-time jobs. But each year, public education receives less from the government, and the college requires help from the men and women who graduated in the '40s, '50s, and '60s. A lot of very successful people owe their success to Brooklyn College, and I truly believe they should give something back."

The Brooklyn College community mourns the passing of Al Tanger and offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends he leaves behind to carry on his inspiring legacy.

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