Dennis Paustenbach, Rose-Hulman '74


Dennis has accomplished so much in his life it would be impossible to include everything in this short biography. Dennis has written over 40 book chapters and has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles. His risk assessment textbooks are in use by numerous universities. His expertise is in such demand that prominent journals have requested him to do reviews and suggest regulations. 

Dennis started as an undergraduate at Rose-Hulman and held positions within the Rho Phi Chapter including house remodeling chairman in 1972 and co-chairman of the rush committee in 1972 and 1973. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman in 1974. Dennis then continued on to receive his master’s degree in industrial hygiene from the University of Michigan in 1977. While taking night classes, Dennis received another master’s degree in counseling psychology from Indiana State University in 1978. Dennis went on to pursue his PhD in environmental toxicology from Purdue University in 1982. He most recently received an honorary doctorate of science from Purdue University in 2006 and an honorary doctorate of engineering degree from Rose-Hulman in 2007. 

The current president, CEO, and founder (1985) of ChemRisk, Dennis has over 25 years of experience in the fields of chemical/environmental engineering, risk assessment, toxicology, and industrial hygiene. Prior to his current position he was the vice president of Exponent, Inc. where he was the most senior scientist and consultant. Prior to that position, Dennis was the president and CEO of McLaren/Hart Environmental Engineering. 

“I found that living in the chapter house was very rewarding. It was a terrific way for me to learn from my peers. Over the years, I look back fondly on the relationships that I enjoyed.”

Here is a list of Dennis’ honors, involvements, and other achievements:

Career Involvement & Recognition Professional Honors/Awards

  • Honorary Doctor of Engineering (2007)
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (2006)
  • Society of Toxicology, Best Published Paper Award in Risk Assessment (2002)
  • Society of Toxicology, Arnold J. Lehman Award for Contributions to the Practice of Risk Assessment and Toxicology (2002)
  • Purdue University Distinguished Alumnus Award, School of Health Sciences (2000)
  • Society of Toxicology, Best Platform Presentation in Risk Assessment Award at the 39th Annual Meeting (2000)
  • Society for Risk Analysis Outstanding Risk Practitioner Award (1997)
  • Society of Toxicology, Best Published Paper Award in the Field of Risk Assessment (1995)
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Distinguished Alumni Award (1994)
  • American Industrial Hygiene Association Award for “distinguished contributions to the field by a person under 40 years of age” (Kusnetz Award) (1992)
  • American Men and Women in Science (1993 - Present)
  • Who’s Who in America (1993 - Present)
  • Who’s Who in Health Sciences (1994 - Present)
  • Health Sciences Honorary (Alpha Chi Omega) (1980)
  • Chemical Engineering Honorary (Omega Chi Epsilon) (1974)

Adjunct Professorships

  • Adjunct Professor of Toxicology, University of Michigan (2004 - 2008)
  • Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California at Irvine (1996 - 2005)
  • Adjunct Professor in Toxicology, University of Massachusetts (1993 - 2006)
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Texas, School of Public Health in Houston (1985 - 1989)
  • Adjunct Professor, Purdue University, Department of Toxicology/Pharmacology (1983 - 1984)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Bridgeport, Department of Mechanical Engineering (1983)

Community Involvement and Recognition:

  • 2005 - 2008: Supporter and lecturer at the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This is the first center based at a major university devoted to preserving the material and musical culture of the South. Harry Watson is director.
  • 2005 - 2007: Fundraising advisor and interim executive director to the Web History Center (Museum) which is dedicated to preserving the history of the evolution of the Web. Mountain View, California.
  • 2003 - 2007: Fundraising advisor to the dean for the University of Michigan Center for Risk Analysis and Communication (Ann Arbor, MI).
  • 1997: Member of the Bellarmine High School Board to identify the “vision” for the next 30 years
  • 1976 - 1997: Served as a psychologist/counselor in training (as part of MS degree requirements) at the Indiana State Institution for Juvenile Delinquents
  • 1995: Member of Bellarmine High School Board to review performance criteria for the Office of the President.