Profile

Dr. Kenneth Lee Jones ’59

Alumni, Professionals


 

Published:

April 5, 2012
Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Garden City
 

Dr. Kenneth Lee Jones ’59

Alumni, Professionals


 

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego

Favorite Adelphi memories: “Spending time with the brothers of the Omicron Pi fraternity. We certainly had a reputation for having the most fun!”

Favorite professors: Jim Murray and Jerry March

Unique Adelphi tale: “For almost four years, I rented a small room in the house of Miriam Jewett, the directress of dining services at the college. Needless to say, I ate well.”

Advice to pre-medical students: “Be curious. Enjoy what you are doing. Almost nothing is as fun as learning new information.”

A Physician Inspired to Teach

When Ken Jones arrived at Adelphi in 1955, he found his first housing in a third-floor apartment in the home of University President Paul Dawson Eddy. Indeed, only days before, President Eddy, whom Dr. Jones had met through an acquaintance of his mother’s, had secured a privately funded full scholarship for him, and convinced him to leave Maryland for Garden City. His only previous experience in New York was a Brooklyn Dodgers double-header, an 11th birthday present from his mother.

“As you can imagine, I got to Adelphi and I had a lot of catching up to do,” he says. “I grew up in a small town in Maryland on the Potomac River, and was transported to this incredible place. From the first day, I was challenged by my professors and my peers, who’d had cultural and life experiences I had only dreamed of.”

Dr. Jones soon found his place among the close-knit community of students and athletes, and found inspiration in the classroom. A pre-medical student almost by accident, he initially pursued a biology major before deciding on chemistry, although he later wrestled with the temptation to follow Professor Jim Murray and study English.

“He was a stimulator. He taught me how to think and how to write,” says Dr. Jones. “In the end, science won out, and I cannot overstate the impact that men like Harry Brenowitz, the pre-medical advisor, and Jerry March, who taught organic chemistry, had on my life. They were not merely providers of information but were invested in our learning, and made it clear that it was important to them that we understand the material they taught.”

Outside the classroom, Dr. Jones’ Adelphi experience was shaped by the competition of athletics and the camaraderie of the Omicron Pi fraternity. He lettered in track, cross country, and soccer and served as a co-captain of the lacrosse team during his junior and senior years.

When the time came to embark on his post-Adelphi career, Dr. Jones again faced a difficult transition. Already accepted into medical school, he was unsure how he would support the expense. During each of his years at Adelphi, he had met with the Secretary of the Emmet McCormack Foundation, which had continued to award his full scholarship to Adelphi.

“In my senior year, I had my annual lunch at the Downtown Athletic Club, and the Secretary told me that Mr. McCormack wanted to see me,” says Dr. Jones. “We went up to his office, and he announced that they would be supporting me through medical school as well. It was an overwhelming moment.”

After completing his medical studies at Duke University, he interned at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and spent a two-year stint in the U.S. Army at Fort Benning before returning to Hopkins to complete his residency and chief residency in pediatrics. After residency, Dr. Jones chose to pursue an opportunity in academic medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

“I have always loved teaching and learning,” he says. “And I don’t separate the two. I believe learning keeps you young, and if you love what you do, you’ll keep doing it.”

After 40 years in academic medicine, there can be little doubt that Dr. Jones loves his work. Today an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at UCSD, his career has included 25 years running a research lab in addition to patient care, clinical research, and countless hours in the classroom, on the wards, and in the clinics.

His devotion to teaching has been recognized with several awards and commendations, including two awards as the Outstanding Faculty Teacher from the Pediatric House staff, and the Master Clinician Scholar Award from the Department of Pediatrics and Rady Children’s Hospital.

“I never regretted my decision to enter academic medicine,” he says, “nor to specialize in pediatrics. Children keep you young; they never allow you to take yourself too seriously. I have had many wonderful experiences and have many happy memories of the children for whom I have cared.”

His career has also afforded him the opportunity to continue learning with some outstanding scientists. His two sabbaticals have taken him to the Salk Institute, where he met Jonas Salk and Francis Crick and worked in the laboratory of Roger Guillemin, and to Cambridge University, where he studied with Professor Steve O’Rahillly and where he and his wife also indulged their love of travel and toured much of Europe.

Although semi-retired, Dr. Jones remains active in his field and eager to take on new challenges. He and his wife still enjoy traveling around the world and are always eager to spend time with Sofia, their new granddaughter.

 
Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Garden City
 
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