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Garry W. Jenkins
Garry W. Jenkins

2022 Diversity & Inclusion: Garry W. Jenkins

University of Minnesota Law School

This year’s entering class at the University of Minnesota Law School is the most diverse in the school’s history. That achievement summarizes the progress enabled by Dean Garry Jenkins’ focus on making diversity, equality and inclusion efforts a priority.

“After the George Floyd murder, there was a lot of concern how that would affect institutions of higher learning,” said Jenkins, who came to the U of M from the Ohio State law school seven years ago. “We have leaned in to racial justice issues.”

“There are no magic bullets” to further the cause of diversity in the legal profession, Jenkins said. “Part of what we have to do is make sure we are reaching out to and supporting our student pipelines and encouraging students to go into the profession.”

Under his leadership, the U of M law school recently hired its first assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion: Ra’Shya Ghee, an alum from the class of 2013.

This fall, the Law School will launch a Racial Justice Law Clinic. Additionally, in the spring of 2023 the Law School will launch a new civil rights appellate clinic. The school has also added curriculum offerings to further the cause of DEI.

Jenkins has worked with the U of M’s Law School Advancement team in increasing funding opportunities for students of color. The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law made its first award to a recipient in fall 2021.

“We think our institution will be stronger if it is more diverse,” Jenkins said. “The quality of intellectual exchange and education will be strengthened. The goal is to create a truly diverse environment where everyone can belong and contribute to our institution and then go out and contribute to the world.”

Jenkins serves on the board of Equal Justice Works, which seeks to fulfill the promise of equal justice to all, including underrepresented communities. In addition, Jenkins recently agreed to serve on the board of the National Women’s Law Center.

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