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Loss in our Hornet family

A message sent to the ESU campus:

September 16, 2019

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am so very sorry to share the sad news that Mark Runge, our Director of Facilities, died overnight. Mark’s career at Emporia State spanned 32 years, and all who met him knew immediately how much he loved our university, our campus and the Emporia community.

Anytime I had questions about campus buildings, the grounds or upcoming projects, Mark was a phone call away with all of the answers. Much of his job, and that of University Facilities as a whole, required being ready for anything — cleaning up branches and fallen limbs, clearing sidewalks and parking lots after snow and ice storms, dealing with flooding of buildings or assuring that campus power was restored quickly. In all of these circumstances, Mark organized and handled all of these situations with his normal calm efficiency, and a little humor thrown in.

As I walked around campus this morning visiting with many of Mark’s friends and colleagues, everyone had a story to share about him. Those stories were connected by a common theme: Mark cared deeply about people at ESU and in the community. He loved his co-workers and ESU’s students.

Sudden loss of a friend, co-worker or loved one is never easy. As hard as Mark’s passing is on all of us, we know that it will be even harder for Mark’s family — his wife, Cathy, their two sons and their families. Please keep all of them in your prayers during this difficult time.

If you find yourself struggling with this news, please know benefits-eligible faculty and staff have access to counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program. You’ll find more information at

As we learn more about services for Mark, we will share that information through Hornet Announcements.

Allison D. Garrett