Robert B. Platt, III

Class of 1933 / Inducted 1972 - Charter Member / Men's Track & Field

Dr. Robert Platt III was a professor emeritus, a consultant to federal agencies and private corporations, a reputed conservationist, and a World War II veteran. Among all these achievements, he was also an outstanding track & field athlete while a student at Emory & Henry, earning him induction into the Sports Hall of Fame in its charter year, 1972.

Platt, who served as a captain of the track team in 1932-33, was a sprinter, jumper, and hurdler who did not lose a single high or low hurdles race during his junior or senior year. He set a record in high hurdles which stood for many years. He often placed in multiple events each meet, including the 100-yard dash, 220-yard dash, 440-yard dash, broad jump, high jump, and – of course – hurdles.

Platt went on to earn a master of science degree from Peabody College and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After serving in World War II as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, Platt went on to a career as a professor at Emory University in Georgia. A pioneering ecologist with a professional career spanning 60 years of teaching and research, Platt wrote over 100 scientific papers and books and was a consultant to a number of federal agencies, such as the Atomic Energy Commission, as well as private corporations, including Lockheed and Allied Gulf. In addition, Platt was a passionate conservationist who was a founding Trustee of the Georgia Conservancy.

Upon retiring from Emory University in 1978, Platt was given the title Professor Emeritus. He and his wife moved to Big Canoe, Georgia, where he became the resident ecologist of the land development project. After 17 years, they retired to Pine Mountain, Georgia, where he continued to pursue his interest in ecology and conservation.

Platt’s numerous career recognitions include a Guggenheim Fellowship for European Studies, the Sigma Xi Research Award from Emory University, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from Emory & Henry. Emory University also honored him with the Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest award it can bestow on a faculty member.

Robert Platt died on March 11, 1998 at the age of 85.