Benjamin Rundall

Benjamin Rundall
Graduate Degrees: 
Current Job Title: 
Benjamin Rundall’s Passion for Education and Helping Others is Found at MCC
Originally published Fall 2023

“Sorry if my phone gets disconnected–the cell reception might go in and out up here,” says MCC alumnus Benjamin Rundall on a return trip from the Navajo Nation. A civil rights attorney, Rundall speaks of bidding on a proposal to do work on the reservation, a contract supporting the rights to tribal sovereignty under Federal Indian Law.

It’s part of the demands of the job, yet fulfillment of the work he does that is fueled by a passion to help those in need.

Formerly of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Rundall is now senior counsel for the Zwillinger Wulkan law firm in Phoenix.

Rundall’s journey toward becoming a lawyer was not an easy one. As a young adult, he struggled to figure out his next steps in education, and he did not have high hopes for his future beyond high school. “I grew up pretty poor, in a single parent household. My mom was a teacher, but I had little interest in school past the 12th grade,” he says. Originally slated to attend Arizona State University (ASU) on a scholarship, Rundall forfeited it due to poor grades and a loss of interest. “I wasn’t going to go to college. I was taking things for granted and didn’t want to pursue my education any further.”

So, what got him back into school? Of all things, his dating life. “My girlfriend at the time was going to MCC and threatened to break up with me if I didn’t go too,” he recalls. Nearly late to register for classes that semester, Rundall rushed into the enrollment center. “One employee stayed past closing time to get me my classes,” he says.

As a new student at MCC, he had no idea what he wanted to study. He would go on to start with standard introductory courses and soon discovered a vested interest in the humanities: English and anthropology in particular. “At MCC, your classes are catered to you and your experiences. Here I was, now out of high school, but my classmates were from all walks of life. Some had been working all day and still showed up to a 6 p.m. class, others had families of their own. I saw that the faculty was really amazing and down to earth, and they wanted us all to succeed,” he says.

“Being at MCC reinvigorated my passion for education.”

One assignment in an anthropology course had a lasting impact: he had to maintain pen pal contact with a student in China for the duration of the semester. “We had to learn about this person from the other side of the world, about their experiences and culture.”

This sparked a renewed interest in wanting to work with people, and learning about individual experiences. With the effort he put in at MCC, Rundall was re-awarded his scholarship to ASU and accepted it to study Political Science. “I’d never done much public speaking or political engagement before college, and was able to do both at MCC,” he says. “I think they were really helpful in identifying what I would do in university.”

He discovered how important the law is in helping people, and after some soul searching decided to continue on to law school. The foundation built from an education at MCC allowed him to pursue a career he enjoys to this day.

“I’m now able to use my education in a positive and meaningful way. You’re able to give back if you see a wrong occurring. I’m very, very grateful that I get to do that every day.”

Rundall’s enthusiasm shines through the interview as he wraps up the call.

“I think MCC is a wonderful place and I have many amazing memories from my time there. It was foundational in my success to where I am now and I am very, very grateful I get to use my education in a positive and meaningful way every single day.”