Manny Villafana to Receive Honorary Doctoral Degree From the University of Iowa

MINNEAPOLIS, May 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Manny Villafaña, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Kips Bay Medical, Inc. will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Iowa on Saturday May 17, 2014.

Manny is globally recognized as a "Living Legend of Medicine," a title awarded to him in 2006 by the World Society of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons.

Manny, a South Bronx native, has started seven public companies and earned the USA Master Entrepreneur Award as well as the nickname, the "Cardiac Kahuna."

Manny lives in Wayzata, Minnesota with wife Elizabeth Elder Villafaña and college-bound daughters Manuela and Elisa.

As recipient of this prestigious honor, Manny expressed his gratitude, "I cannot put into words how honored I feel to have been bestowed this recognition by The University of Iowa. Education has been a cornerstone of our family and we make every effort to support that. I am sincerely grateful to Sally Mason, University of Iowa President and the Iowa Board of Regents."

Manny's achievements have transformed the industry of cardiac surgery. He has received numerous pacemaker, heart valve and stent patents. Since launching Cardiac Pacemakers in 1971, his accomplishments include:

  • Co-Inventor of the first lithium powered pacemaker and Founder of Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. (CPI)/Guidant Corporation.
  • Co-Developer of the St. Jude heart valve and Founder of St. Jude Medical, Inc.
  • Co-Inventor and Founder of ATS Medical.
  • Co-Founder of the Lillehei Surgical Society.
  • Kips Bay Medical, Inc. was launched in 2007, a medical device company that focuses on developing and commercializing its proprietary external saphenous vein support technology, or eSVS® Mesh, which is designed to significantly improve the performance of saphenous vein grafts used in coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG, surgery.

Manny has guest lectured at Harvard University, The University of St. Thomas, Miami of Ohio University and The University of Minnesota. He has also served as a faculty member at several medical meetings.

Manny also has a deep seated passion for philanthropy. His interests focus on youth and education related charities. In 1982 Manny was a Horatio Alger Award nominee. As a poor boy, who attended Cardinal Hayes High School in the South Bronx, Manny credits the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club of New York for keeping him off the streets. For ten years the club was his surrogate home.

Remembering the organization that took him under his wing and gave him opportunities, Manny visits the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club a few times a year. His generosity has financed a new swimming pool, awarded several high school scholarships and contributed to a new Tech Center while also encouraging other successful individuals to support worthy causes.

Today as CEO of Kips Bay Medical, Inc., recalling his youth and determination to work his way out of poverty, Manny is optimistic about the future of Kips Bay Medical vowing to never give up on the challenges that a start- up company faces.

CONTACT: Kips Bay Medical, Inc.
Manny Villafana
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Scott Kellen
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer