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City News

Dr. Marc Jenkins receives Richfield’s Key to the City

Post Date:06/25/2020 5:31 PM

Marc Jenkins 2 

For decades, Dr. Marc Jenkins has been a major contributor to his field of study on both the world and the local stage. He is one of the world’s foremost immunologists, who was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and has helped build a stronger community as a resident of Richfield. For his professional and personal efforts, he has been awarded the Key to the City.  

“Dr. Jenkins is credited with so many achievements, but I think he most important accomplishment is that he is a living, breathing example of someone who just loves the community, loves to share his knowledge and loves to contribute to the greater good,” explained Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez.

On April 27, Dr. Jenkins was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for his work in immunology. The National Academy of Sciences has approximately 2,400 members and 500 foreign associates.

Founded in 1863, the academy is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Current and former members of the academy include Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Stephen Hawkings and Noam Chomsky.

“Being elected to the National Academy of Sciences is a dream come true for any scientist,” said Jenkins. “It has been more than 50 years since a University of Minnesota scientist faculty member has been elected, so it is quite an honor.”

Currently, Dr. Jenkins is the director for the Center of Immunology, regents and distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. 

A Minnesota native, Jenkins received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Minnesota and his doctoral degree from Northwestern University. After finishing his post-doctoral work at the National Institute of Health, he returned to the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor in 1988.

Dr. Jenkin’s most recent work has revolved around developing an antibody test for the novel coronavirus. His team researched, tested and helped administer clinical trials of the test that aims to determine a person’s immunity to the virus.

He is also known for his mentoring work both inside his profession and in the Richfield community.

“I am always willing to help Richfield kids interested in pursuing a career in the sciences,” remarked Jenkins. “They are always welcome to visit my lab and I can help them make connections in the various science fields. Many students have taken me up on the offer in the past and I will continue to help them for years to come.”

Dr. Jenkins, his wife Karen, and their three adult children, who all still live in Richfield, have all been active members in building a stronger, more cohesive Richfield community. Most notably, he served as a member of the Richfield School Board from 2004-2008. 

“To paraphrase Alan Alda, scientists are professional curiosity machines,” stated At-Large Councilmember Mary Supple. “Our city’s youth need to be curiosity machines and I am glad they have a role model like Dr. Jenkins to look up to.”

The City of Richfield rarely awards Keys to the City, with less than a handful being distributed every decade. The last person to receive the Key to the City was exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, back in 2017.

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