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In Memorium: Dr. Laurence Lattman (1923-2024)

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - 10:15am

Dr. Laurence H. “Larry” Lattman, who served on the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Natural History & Science for over 20 years, died March 23, 2024 at the age of 100 years old.  Dr. Lattman had resigned from the Board earlier this year for health reasons. As a member of the Board’s Executive Committee for much of his tenure, Dr. Lattman served the Museum’s mission and core values with dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism; and provided invaluable advice and expertise. The Board of Trustees’ President, Gary S. Friedman, who remembered Dr. Lattman at the Board’s most recent meeting remarked: “Larry, even in his later years, had the energy, memory and intellect of a young man.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and a seemingly endless repertoire of jokes. Dr. Lattman was a remarkable person who was passionate about the sciences and natural history, and the important role of the Museum in our community.”

Born Nov. 30, 1923 in New York City, Larry Lattman attended public schools and served in the U.S. Army during World War I, working on the atomic bomb at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and later, the Hanford Site in Washington. He returned to New York and received a B.S. in chemical engineering at City College of New York in 1948. He obtained a M.S. (1951) and Ph.D. (1953) in geology at the University of Cincinnati. 

After teaching at University of Michigan, Lattman went to work for Gulf Oil in Pittsburgh. In 1957, he joined the faculty and earned tenure at Pennsylvania State University.  He received the Penn State Distinguished Teaching Award in 1969. Dr. Lattman thereafter chaired the University of Cincinnati Geology Dept. for five years, and from 1975 to 1983 was at the University of Utah, where he was Dean of the College of Mines and Mineral Industries and served for five years as Dean of the College of Engineering. In 1983, Lattman was offered the role of president at New Mexico Tech, where he served until 1993. During his administration, Dr. Lattman steered the university through financial problems and diversified the offerings for degrees, including environmental and electrical engineering and business administration departments.  

Dr. Lattman was the author or co-author of 45 papers and two books. He served as a consultant to U.S. and foreign companies and government agencies in petroleum and mineral exploration and was a Fulbright Professor at Moscow State University (Idaho) in 1975. A member of several professional societies, Lattman was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a 1981 Distinguished Member of the Society of Mining Engineers.  

Larry Lattman was married for 76 years to Hanna Renate Cohn Lattman, who often  accompanied him to his Museum Board of Trustees meetings.  She predeceased him in 2022. Their children are Martin Lattman and Barbara Diane Lattman. 

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