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SDSU’s Alan O. Tuntland Hangar dedicated at Brookings airport

South Dakota State University officials, students and supporters on Oct. 27 dedicated the Alan O. Tuntland Hangar at the Brookings Regional Airport.
The hangar, which supports 199 students in SDSU’s flourishing aviation program and honors an alumnus who has been the program’s biggest champion, is a 13,260-square-foot structure that accommodates 12 of the program’s 15 owned and leased aircraft.
Construction began in fall 2021. The hangar is located in the northwest part of the airport and more than doubles capacity.
Tuntland, a 1962 SDSU graduate, and his wife, Sharon, made a lead gift toward the project. He asked for a small plaque inside the hangar. Friends and colleagues made gifts in Tuntland’s honor to ensure his name would be placed on the exterior of the building.
Due to his failing health, Tuntland was unable to attend the Oct. 5, 2021, groundbreaking for the hangar. He passed away six days later.
“Al’s love for the university was very genuine, as can be observed by all the people who are here at this ceremony,” said Kendra Kattelmann, director of the School of Health and Consumer Sciences, at the dedication. “His legacy at SDSU involves more than a million dollars in gifts, service as chair of the SDSU Foundation, and hundreds of flying hours for the Foundation staff for fundraising trips around the country. Yet it’s his gift of a 1988 Piper Malibu JetProp DLX in 2009, which is perhaps his greatest impact to the university and to our program.”
The gift was an immediate upgrade to the university, and an agreement between SDSU and the Foundation, approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents, paved the way for the Foundation to purchase planes that were leased back to the university. The arrangement has saved the university money and allowed the aviation program to grow, Kattelmann said.
“The person who would have enjoyed this the most is not here in person, but we know he’s here in spirit,” Sharon Tuntland said, thanking the crowd in attendance. “This facility brings together two of the things Alan loved most in his life—his love for flying small airplanes and his passion for South Dakota State University.”
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