MANKATO (Feb. 20, 2015) After 27 years of practicing medicine at the Mankato Clinic, Dr. Michael Rath will retire on Feb. 28, leaving behind nearly three decades of experience in his field.

“After almost 40 medical years, I don’t need any more ‘feeling’ moments,” Rath said on his decision to retire. “Other aspects of my life were pushed aside because of work, but now I have the time and resources to pursue some lifelong learning goals.”

After coming to the Mankato Clinic on Dec. 18, 1987, Rath’s practice has consisted of Family Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Urgent Care. Rath credits a family friend for turning him to the medical field.

“I was shaped by a family doctor who practiced into his 80s,” Rath said. “We saw him when we were sick and it meant a lot. He was someone my parents respected, plus, I had a talent for science and math so those subjects were easy to grasp.”

Since coming to the clinic, Rath has been instrumental in guiding the Mankato Clinic to changing trends in primary care by helping to build an Occupation Medicine Department, establish Travel Medicine services and provide Immigration Medical services as a civilian surgeon.

 “Mankato has the largest population of foreign students in the State of Minnesota,” he said. “There’s a need and not a lot of places offer those services.”

In addition, Rath served with the Minnesota Army National Guard for 22 years, rising to the rank of colonel before he retired from the military in March 2011. From 2005-2010, Rath served two tours in Croatia and Kosovo and had three active duty tours to Iraq.

“What you bring to military medical services is your individual training and your civilian training to make sure the soldiers are taken care of,” Rath said. “Any surgeon who served, and asked why they served, will tell you it was to support a buddy, platoon or squad. We’re basically there to support each other, it was never about politics.”

With his career at Mankato Clinic nearing its end in just a few short weeks, Rath is eager to focus his talents on other areas of his life. He plans to pursue hobbies in music and piano and will enroll in drawing courses so he can illustrate his grandkids. Rath and his wife will also continue to embrace traveling to National Parks.

Throughout the last 27 years, Rath has enjoyed seeing former adolescent patients bring in their own children, but what he’ll miss most about practicing medicine at the Mankato Clinic is those he worked with.

“Immediately, I’ll miss my coworkers,” Rath said. “Definitely all of them.”