Eagle River, AL | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1996
During a forest ecology field trip more than 30 years ago, Michael Strunk found his niche. With his Purdue classmates, he traveled to the sand dunes of Labe Michigan to study the science of ecology. He came away with a philosophy as well: the importance of preserving natural resources. As chief of the Division of Planning, Design and Maintenance for the Alaska Regional Office of the National Park Service, he lives this philosophy every day. After completing his bachelor’s degree in forestry at Purdue, Strunk did graduate work in landscape architecture at Purdue and the University of California. He spent the next 10 years with The Designers Forum, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio, seven of those as president and chief executive officer. In 1977, Michael joined the National Park Service as a landscape architect and team leader in Denver, Colo. In his present assignment in Alaska, he manages 15 units of the National Park System, which encompass approximately 55 million acres-an area more than twice the size of Indiana. Strunk a native of Evansville, Ind., has led projects at more than 40 national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, and Olympic. He designed and supervised the Eagle Creek Reservoir, Southeastway and Carlisle park projects in the Indianapolis area, and planned communities in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Kingston, New York. He prepared the park master plan for Gallia County, Ohio, and has worked to protect India’s lions, coral reefs and waterfowl. Strunk is active in the National Parks and Conservation Association and the Sierra Club. He has worked to protect the Burning Bear study area in Colorado and Kentucky’s Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, serving as president in Ohio, Colorado and Alaska. Michael was an adjunct assistant professor at The Ohio State University, and on the faculties of the University of Colorado and Metropolitan State College of Denver. Michael also designed the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which opened in 1986 and is nestled among the same dunes. Strunk visited with his class as an undergraduate. For significant contributions to his profession and community, and for bringing distinction to his alma mater, Purdue University School of Agriculture is proud to present the Distinguished Agricultural Alumnus award to Michael B. Strunk.