Ken Runkle '83
Sometimes my life decisions have led me to dead ends, but my MacMurray College education has helped me change course and redirect my life. Research suggests that today's college graduates will have multiple careers in their lifetimes. A MacMurray liberal arts education is needed now, more than ever, for lifetime success.
Ken Runkle graduated from MacMurray College in 1983 cum laude with degrees in both chemistry and biology. During his time at MacMurray, he lettered in baseball and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the newspaper staff of The Daily Other, Alpha Lambda Delta, Honor Society, Mortar Board, MacMurray Student Association, and the theatre interest group.
After graduation, Runkle obtained his master of arts degree in environmental health science and education and his post-master's graduate certificate in environmental health risk assessment from the University of Illinois at Springfield, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He also participated in basic graduate theological studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Runkle has received special training on numerous topics through the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Safety, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Federal Emergency Management Agency-Emergency Management Institute, the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Princeton University, and the University of Illinois of Chicago School of Public Health.
Since 1993, Runkle has worked as an environmental toxicologist at the Illinois Department of Public Health, where he has served as the principal investigator for an annual $550,000 cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He has served as chief toxicologist since January 2003 and has been the children's environmental health officer since August 2005. Since the mid-1990s, he has served as an adjunct faculty member to the University of Illinois at Springfield, teaching graduate-level courses on topics related to environmental and public health and environmental risk assessment. In addition to being a science educator, Runkle has been a trainer of science teachers through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and through his work at the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Runkle has published or collaborated on several publications and online presentations. He is a licensed environmental health practitioner for the State of Illinois, a registered environmental health specialist through the National Environmental Health Association, a Certified Environmental Risk Assessor, holds a food service sanitation license, is a member of the Illinois Public Health Association, and is a chair of the MacMurray College Alumni Association Board. He is a certified lay speaker for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is also the administrative council chair, a Sunday school teacher, and choir director for the Kumler United Methodist Church.
Runkle and his wife, Lisa Demaree '84, were married in Annie Merner Chapel in 1984. The couple resides in Springfield, Illinois with their two children, Natalie and Joseph.