Luther senior Justin Madsen awarded Jenson Medal for service and achievement

June 19, 2009

Justin Madsen, a Luther College senior from Farmington, Minn., was named the recipient of the colleges Jenson Medal at May 24 commencement ceremonies for the Luther Class of 2009.

Madsen, a 2005 graduate of Farmington High School, is the son of Terry and Terri Madsen of Farmington. He earned the bachelor of arts degree magna cum laude from Luther with a major in accounting and theatre/dance.

Luther College's Jenson Medal is presented each year to an outstanding senior, selected by the graduating class, who best demonstrates the ideals of the college through service to students and the college community. The Jenson Medal was established through an endowment gift from Luther alumni Elizabeth A. Jenson, Class of 1945, and Paul G. Jenson, Class of 1947, of Vassalboro, Maine.

The award includes a $500 stipend.

Madsen will begin an audit and assurance services position with Ernst and Young of Minneapolis in September. This summer, he is performing in the Decorah community theatre production of "Anne of Green Gables."

The Jenson Medal citation read by Ann Highum, dean and vice president for student life, lauded Madsen for his academic achievements and service to the college and community.

"As an active participant in our community over the past four years, Justin has combined the best of what the liberal arts has to offer," said Highum. "He accompanied his dual major with a wide variety of other experiences that overlap and interact."

A three-year member of choral ensembles at Luther, Madsen acted and directed in many plays and musicals, assisted with an operas direction, served as SPIN Theatre president and directed a cabaret as a benefit concert for his cousins medical expenses. He also participates in the local Decorah community theater organization, the New Minowa Players.

Madsen's campus and community service work also includes performing with his AWKappella singing group at benefits, churches and admissions events.

As a scholar, Madsen held internships within both of his academic majors, first at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro and later at Ernst and Young. He also completed a student-faculty research project with Jeff Dintaman, Luther professor of theatre, in which the duo wrote and performed a play incorporating both people and puppets.

For his senior project, Madsen directed a 14-member cast in a production of "Godspell," which he considers the ultimate way to end his college career. At each of the productions three performances, a standing-room-only audience turned out to see the culmination of Madsen's creativity and hard work.

"We were able to create an amazing show and had to turn away close to 50 people on our final performance because there was just no room for anyone else," said Madsen. "As a Christian student at a liberal arts college, 'Godspell' was a great choice for me, and it seemed to go over very well with the Luther community."

In addition to his student work assignments as a student manager for Peace Dining Room, Madsen served as a Paideia tutor and accounting department teaching assistant. He is well-known in the development office because of his work as a Phonathon co-chair, member of the annual fund council, and leader in the Class of 2009 Alumni Challenge, Luther10.

A dean's list student all eight semesters at Luther, he was the recipient of several academic scholarships and came to Luther as a Regents scholar. Next year, Madsen will continue to serve Luther through his work as a class agent for the Class of 2009.

Madsen credits his first-year Paideia professor, English professor Amy Weldon, with affirming his decision to come to Luther early in his college career. "Her passion in the classroom, dedication to her students, and energy in every class period made me want to learn and grow," said Madsen. "This was the most incredible start to my college career, to feel like every class period I was learning new things, appreciating and embracing different perspectives, and Dr. Weldon was largely responsible for that."

Justin Madsen (left) receives Jenson Medal.