Northwestern State University will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Natchitoches physician Dr. James D. Knecht at spring commencement exercises Friday May 6 at 10 a.m. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System has approved the awarding of the honorary doctorate.
Knecht has been instrumental in creating a solid foundation for the establishment of an extensive medical community in Natchitoches over the past 35 years. He has maintained a widely recognized private practice in family medicine during that periodwhile also playing a major role in attracting new medical personnel, facilities and services to the parish.
Since joining his medical mentor Dr. Joseph Thomas’ family practice in Natchitoches in 1982, Knecht has earned a far-reaching reputation for prominence in the medical profession. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice and has served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Academy of Family Practice. Knecht has been recognized as a Diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice. He is a member of the Louisiana Medical Society and the Natchitoches Medical Society. Knecht has served as a member of the family medicine faculty at LSU Health Science Center in Shreveport.
Knecht has been a member of the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center staff since 1982 and serves as chair of the hospital’s Continuing Medical Education Department. He is considered a driving force in the substantial expansion and enhancement of thehospital over the years.
Throughout his medical practice in Natchitoches, Knecht has served as a physician for Northwestern State Universityathletic teams. He has provided those services to the university since the early 1980s without pay, spending countless hours atathletic events in Natchitoches and numerous other sites and in treating injuries, conducting physical examinations and providingother medical assistance to Northwestern State student-athletes.
Knecht has also supervised internship and practicum experience programs for students at Northwestern State who wereworking toward degrees in allied health fields. He has been a mentor for dozens of high school and college students who wereinterested in careers in the medical profession.
Knecht has been active in local civic, cultural and historic preservation programs. He has been King of the St. Denis Art League Spring Festival and is a member of the Natchitoches Historic Foundation and Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society. He is vice president of the Mystic Krewe de St. Denis and has served as captain.