Al and Irene Kurtenbach family named 2019 Philanthropic Family of the Year
BROOKINGS – The Al and Irene Kurtenbach family of Brookings was recognized as the 2019 Philanthropic Family of the Year by the SDSU Foundation.
The award, created in 2012, “acknowledges exceptional generosity to diverse causes by a family that serves as an inspiration to others to support South Dakota State University.” It was announced April 25 at the SDSU Foundation’s annual donor celebration in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.
President Barry Dunn focused on the family’s enormous legacy they have built at SDSU.
The Kurtenbachs were honored by the Alumni Association as SDSU’s Family of the Year in 2002. All five children earned degrees from SDSU; three of them married SDSU alums. Three of their 12 grandchildren graduated from State. Four of the five children – Carla, Paula, Reece and Matt – earned electrical engineering degrees; Lisa majored in mathematics and physical education. Combined, the family has earned 14 degrees from SDSU, nine in the field of engineering.
“If SDSU mapped out its family tree, the Kurtenbachs would command a very sizable branch,” Dunn said.
Al co-founded Daktronics with Duane Sander in 1968. He served as chairman of the board until 2014. Throughout that time, Daktronics has been a great source of work experience for students. Annually, about 200 students work there part-time while attending class. Today, at least 1,000 SDSU graduates are among the company’s 2,700 employees.
Three children – Carla, Reece and Matt – are in the company’s leadership from CEO to vice president.
Al and Irene have provided more than $3.7 million in support to SDSU. Daktronics, through strategic investments the Kurtenbach family members have helped determine, has contributed another $4.8 million to SDSU.