David Senjem '64

Rochester, Minn.

Luther College broadcasts far and wide that—among other things—“it helps students connect life's work with service."  Minnesota State Senator David Senjem ’64 could be the “poster boy” for that claim. 

Dave grew up in Hayfield, Minnesota, which his great-grandfather had represented in the legislature and where his father had served several terms as mayor.  A biology major, Dave joined the staff at Mayo Clinic soon after graduation for a 44-year career bearing the titles Environmental Affairs Officer and Institutional Biosafety Officer. Over that period, this whole professional area grew and changed, and he stayed on top of this rapidly changing area of responsibilities at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

Dave Senjem has led an active and valuable professional life. But he has led an equally active life in his church, his community, and his state. In 2002, he was elected to the Minnesota Senate and was re-elected in 2006. In 2007, Dave was elected by his peers as the Minority Leader of the Minnesota State Senate--and in 2012 he was elected Majority Leader. His colleagues have noted that, "Dave is a consensus builder, a steady, mature hand who can get us working together as a team." He holds that, "the Legislature is a place where ideas should clash but people shouldn't."  Even in these trying times for state government, he continues to hold and to practice the belief that if you establish friendship and rapport, irrespective of party, that it will help you be an effective legislator.

David Senjem is a fine example of a Luther graduate successfully connecting life’s work with service.