NCNM Awards Honorary Degree to Cajun Philosopher Michael G. Manes

PORTLAND, Ore. (Aug. 14, 2012) — National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) awarded Michael G. Manes, past member of the NCNM Board of Directors, an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the college’s commencement ceremony held in late June. Manes, whose 13 years of board service spanned a significant period of growth and national recognition for the accredited natural medicine college, was recognized for his outstanding service to NCNM and for his contributions to natural medicine, health care, and health care financing delivery systems.

The college also conferred a Doctor of Science degree on noted mycologist, author, biodiversity researcher and advocate Paul Stamets, and a Doctor of Laws degree was awarded to celebrated herbalist and botanical medicine educator, Cascade Anderson Geller.

In conferring Manes’ degree, NCNM Board Chair Nancy W. Garbett praised his dedicated service to NCNM and the natural medicine profession, and his health advocacy for communities throughout the nation.

“We are honored to recognize Mike for his long-lasting contributions on behalf of the college,” she said. “We also pay tribute to his achievements as a highly respected author and consultant to the health care industry. Mike’s business acumen, gentle Cajun humor and wit, and his deep reservoirs of wisdom have long been appreciated by NCNM and its board,” Garbett said.

“By helping us focus on the market—on prospective and enrolled students—he has always helped us to remember whom we’re here to serve,” Garbett told the 116 new medical graduates and their families and friends. “At the same time, Mike has kept us looking ahead to the future, even as we remember to stay true to our traditions.”

Manes earned his BA in Political Science at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. After serving in the U.S. Army, he began a long and illustrious career in the insurance industry—health, property, casualty—where his areas of expertise in sales and marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation support eventually led him to a distinguished career in business consulting. A public policy advisor and advocate in Louisiana, Manes is also a highly regarded educator. He has presented at numerous national and state conventions, and has spoken at medical schools on risk and change management, organizational architecture and communications. He has also contributed numerous articles to local and regional publications, and is the author of Gumbo: Cooking up the Organization of the Future.

In accepting his honorary degree, Manes told the graduates a story about his “alter-ego,” Boudreaux: “Boudreaux was rooting around on all fours under a streetlight looking for his lost car keys after a night of carousing with his good friend, Comeaux,” Manes began.

“Comeaux says, ‘Mais, Boudreaux, why are you looking out here for your car keys? There’s no way your car keys can be out here! You know we’ve been inside all night long!’ Boudreaux says, ‘Mais, I know dat, but the light is so much better out here.’”

Manes added, “And as silly as that story is, it speaks volumes to each of us: Because we would rather root around in the light of our status quo, our comfort zone, than to venture into the darkness where the challenges and opportunities lie.”

Founded in Portland in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America and an educational leader in classical Chinese medicine and CAM research. NCNM offers four-year graduate medical degree programs in naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, and a Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research degree. Its community clinics offer low-cost or free medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area, and, in addition to the campus-based NCNM Clinic, NCNM practitioners attend to approximately 33,000 patient visits per year. NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute conducts rigorous evidence-based research to advance the science of natural medicine and improve clinical practice. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

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