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Pioneering Medical School alumnus receives outstanding achievement award

Though he had long wanted to become a physician, John E. Larkin, M.D., admits that he spent most of high school focused on football rather than academics. But when Larkin entered the University of Minnesota in 1949, a General College faculty member recognized and fostered his potential. Larkin thrived, earning his bachelor’s degree in science education in 1953.

After a tour in the Army and additional study abroad, Larkin enrolled in the University’s Medical School, serving as class president in his third year, and earned his M.D. in 1960. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, where he was chief resident during his last year of training, in 1966.

Larkin returned to St. Paul, his hometown, to a solo practice and ran a weekly clinic at the University’s hospital as a volunteer. He performed the first total knee replacement and total hip replacement surgeries in Minnesota, in 1967, as well as the state’s first arthroscopy, in 1971. His friend and colleague Lynn L. Ault, M.D., joined him in practice in 1971. They practiced together until they retired in 1998.

To honor Larkin’s achievements, the University on May 26 bestowed upon him its prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. This award is given to graduates or former students of the University who have attained unusual distinction in their fields or in public service and have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level.

“I am both humbled and so honored to be the recipient of such recognition from my own university, which gave me the tools to pursue an incredibly rich and fulfilling life,” Larkin says.

Larkin’s achievements aren’t limited to the medical field. He has spent a lifetime studying and collecting American art from the 18th through 20th centuries and has written numerous articles on the topic for curatorial journals and museum publications.

He is also an acclaimed horticulturist whose garden has been cited in several publications for its aesthetic beauty, innovative design, and rare plantings.

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