Dr. James Watkins
                                                                                  Dr. James K. Watkins
                                                                            Class of 1948, Valedictorian

 

Dr. James K. Watkins - Class of 1948. Earned an unprecedented 12 varsity letters in three sports: football, basketball, and track & field. He started every athletic contest during his high school career. Dr. Watkins was All-Conference for two years in football and three years in basketball. In track & field, he competed in the sprints, broad jump, high jump, and distance events. In 1948, he was Regional Champion in the high jump and was a state qualifier. In football, he played tailback, punter, place kicker, and defensive back. As point guard in basketball he introduced the jump shot to the league courts. Following graduation as class Valedictorian in 1948, Dr. Watkins received a U.S. Navy Scholarship to the University of Michigan, where he played basketball for one year. Upon graduation he began active duty as a Gunnery Officer. He attended Medical School at U of M from 1955-1959, interned at Munson Hospital in Traverse City, and completed a Fellowship in Surgery and Urology at the Cleveland Clinic in 1964. Dr. Watkins returned to Grand Rapids where he practiced as a urology/renal transplant surgeon for thirty years. He and his wife of 50 years, Janet, continue to reside in Grand Rapids and Dr. Watkins is still active in athletics by running, playing tennis, golf, and squash. At age 64 he bicycled from Los Angeles to Orlando, a distance of 3420miles!