Dave Durenberger '55 (February 2009)


The McCarthy Center hosted former U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger '55 as scholar-in-residence

Former Senator Dave Durenberger, a 1955 graduate of Saint John's University, conducted the second annual Eugene J. McCarthy Residency from February 9-13 at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

Highlights of the residency were two panel discussions, including one with three former senators and a former representative from Minnesota. The panel consists of Durenberger, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1978-95; former Sen. Rod Grams, who served from 1995-2001; former Sen. Mark Dayton, who served from 2001-07; and former Rep. Mark Kennedy '79, who served in Congress from 2001-07

Durenberger was also part of the panel, "Faith, Ethics and Health Care," which included Bernard Evans, associate professor of theology at CSB/SJU and the Virgil Michael Chair in Theology; Kathleen Twohy, professor of nursing and chair of the department at CSB/SJU; and Toby Pearson, executive director of the Catholic Health Association of Minnesota

The McCarthy Center also held an invitation-only luncheon and discussion with Durenberger and Dr. Guy Clifton, a neurosurgeon, clinical investigator, administrator and health policy advocate who is now devoting himself to health policy reform. Durenberger also spoke to political science, nursing and senior ethics seminar classes at CSB and SJU.

Born in St. Cloud, MN, Durenberger was the son of long-time SJU athletic director George Durenberger. While attending SJU, he was involved in Army ROTC, becoming the program's first cadet battalion commander and the top honor cadet. He went on to serve in the Army as a military intelligence officer from 1956-63.

In 1978, Durenberger defeated Minneapolis businessman Bob Short in a special election to complete the unexpired term of Sen. Hubert Humphrey, who had passed away earlier that year. He was reelected in 1982 (defeating Dayton) and 1988 (defeating Skip Humphrey). During his tenure in the Senate, Durenberger served as chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee.

Durenberger is currently a senior health policy fellow at the University of St. Thomas, and chairs the National Institute of Health Policy, a program of St. Thomas' Opus College of Business. He was also named by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to lead the Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs.