Runkle, John Daniel, 1822-1902
- Existence: 1822 - 1902
John Daniel Runkle, 1822-1902, SB, MA, 1851, Harvard College, was the second president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1870 to 1878, having served as acting president from 1868 to 1870. He was professor of mathematics from 1865 to 1902. Earlier in 1860 he was a member of the committee that prepared the "Objects and Plan of an Institute of Technology," which led to the establishment of MIT in 1861, and he worked closely with the founder and first president of MIT, William Barton Rogers. Runkle's interest in the "Russian system of shop work training" led to the establishment of the School of Practical Mechanisms at MIT in 1876. After his resignation as president in 1878, Runkle was granted two years' leave of absence which he spent traveling in Europe with his family and during which he studied technical and industrial education abroad. He then returned to MIT and teaching.
John Runkle was also associated with the Nautical Almanac computation project from 1849 to 1884. In 1858 he founded the journal The Mathematical Monthly and edited it for three years, when publication ceased.
He was married to Catharine Robbins Bird in 1862 until her death in 1897. Their children who lived to adulthood were Catharine Bird, born February 1863; John Cornelius, born December 1866; Eleanor Winslow, born March 1881; and Gordon Taylor, born July 1882. Two other children, William Bird (February-September 1865) and Emma Rogers (May 1870-May 1871) did not survive childhood.