Take Five with Dr. Robert Lautin ’66

Dr. Robert Lautin ’66 is a diagnostic radiology specialist in Manhattan. He has been in practice for more than 45 years.

What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?

Confused. My father was Class of ’32 and my three brothers [eventually] went to Columbia but I was number 1 and it was a little bit overwhelming. There were too many things out there.

What do you remember about your first-year living situation?

I was placed in New Hall, when they were looking for someone to put their name on it. [It was eventually named Carman Hall after former Dean Harry Carman.] I remember the elevator always used to sink below the level of the floor; you had to step down to get in. They had to keep shortening the cable! I remember hearing Kennedy give his Cuban Missile Crisis speech in New Hall (not realizing at the time he was the cause of the crisis).

What class do you most remember and why?

The scars of pre-med are what I remember. There were three basic sciences: chemistry, physics and biology. Chemistry was taught in a huge auditorium in Havemeyer; behind each chair there was a number, and they used to take attendance at the end to see who had left! I had the University chaplain for the Core Curriculum; I remember it felt like information overload.

Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?

It was always nice to be by the Sundial on a spring day!

What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?

I did some rowing for the first year or two and that took up a lot of time; it was at the expense of my pre-med performance, although I survived the ordeal.