W. Edward Senn '79
Grinnell Major: Biology
Past President of Alumni Council
Executive Committee, Alumni Awards Committee
Ed began his career at Grinnell as a dishwasher at the Quad dining hall, and, by the time he graduated in 1979 with a degree in biology, he had progressed to Admission Department tour guide, bartender for the Board of Trustees' dinners at Grinnell House, and desk attendant at The Forum. He sang with the Celestial Sacred Harp Choir, a student-led choral group singing early American religious folk music, often causing students in Burling or in The Forum to pause as they studied for finals.
After graduating from Grinnell, Ed was a field organizer for John Anderson's 1980 Presidential campaign in Boston, Austin, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh. From 1981 until 1990, he served as the Legislative Director for Congressman Tom Tauke (R-IA), focusing on energy, environment, and telecommunications legislation.
After his years on Capitol Hill, Ed worked as the federal lobbyist for NYNEX, Bell Atlantic, and finally Verizon Communications. In 2006, Ed moved within Verizon to Vice President of State Public Policy and Government Relations concentrating on state public policy issues across the country. He is now Verizon's Vice President of State Government Relations.
In his spare time, Ed studies Italian, enjoys wearing a kilt as a member of the St. Andrew's Society, and in tribute to his Grinnell Sacred Harp experience, Ed serves on the board of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington. He is also active in the Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars, and the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Ed is also an avid rider of RAGBRAI, having completed eight rides, including the last six with the Grinnell alumni group.
Updated August 10, 2015.