In addition to his role as Professor of Communication in the School of Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology, Jenkins serves as Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at the institution. Jenkins is a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas for his Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree. He then attended Florida State University for his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Communication. Jenkins began his career at RIT in 1992 as an Assistant Professor. Since then, he has held a variety of positions at the institution, including those of Faculty-in-Residence, Assistant Provost for Diversity, and Director of Undergraduate Degree Programs in the School of Communication. In addition, he was the primary architect of the RIT Action Plan for Race and Ethnicity in 2021 and founded the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT in 2001. Under his leadership, the Journalism Degree program at the School of Communication was also formed in 2008.
The winner was chosen by a selection committee that was comprised of a broad collection of professional leaders from the Rochester and Finger Lakes business community. This committee based their decision on the nominations that were received.