Leonard Tow Announced As Distinguished Alum for 2022 Commencement

Leonard Tow./Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

By John Schilling

   Dr. Leonard Tow, a telecommunications billionaire, philanthropist, and the founding chairman of The Tow Foundation, will be the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Brooklyn College Commencement Ceremony on May 31 at the Barclays Center.

   The Tow Foundation, which was established by Leonard and his wife Claire in 1988, supports nonprofit organizations, including the Brooklyn College Foundation, “that serve vulnerable populations and help individuals to become positive contributors to society for the benefit of themselves and others,” according to the Foundation’s website

   The announcement of Tow’s honor came from Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson during the Faculty Council meeting on Apr. 5. Anderson praised Tow for his long-time financial contributions to the school and emphasized the opportunities he has created for countless students over the years.

   “We have a real treat this year,” Anderson said during the meeting. “Leonard Tow […] has contributed generously to Brooklyn College. For three decades, his family foundation has provided endowments for student internship programs, student scholarships, [and] supported faculty and student travel fellowships to conduct research outside of the United States.” 

   Tow, who graduated from Brooklyn College in 1950, is perhaps best known to current students for his namesake: the Leonard and Claire Tow Performing Arts Center, which he helped erect near the gate at Hillel Place in 2018 with a $10 million seed money donation. “The Tow Center” has since become a staple for arts students, housing the Conservatory of Music and playing host to various recitals and productions for the Conservatory and Department of Theater, respectively.

   “He richly deserves this honor,” Anderson continued. “I was surprised that he hadn’t received it before. We are so happy to be able to give it to him on May 31.”