Archie Roberts, M.D. 1965
The only two-sport individual to be honored in the inaugural class of the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame, Archie Roberts embodied the true essence of the student-athlete. One of a very few Columbia student-athletes to letter in three sports, Roberts excelled at football, basketball and baseball and went on to become one of the country's leading heart surgeons.
Roberts was named the 1964 ECAC Co-Eastern Football Player of the Year, set 17 Columbia and 14 Ivy League records and was voted first team All-Ivy three times, while playing full time on both offense at quarterback and on defense as a defensive back. He was a member of the 1964 Playboy All-American Team and was selected for the prestigious Coaches All-America Football Game as one of three quarterbacks; the other two were Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach of Navy and John Huarte of Notre Dame. He was also 6th in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1964.
No less effective in baseball, Roberts was a rifle-armed shortstop who attracted the attention of major league scouts throughout his four years. As a senior in 1965, he batted .386 and led the nation in runs batted in with 30 in just 21 games. The 1965 Met Player of the Year, he was first team All-Eastern League and All-East, and was named the first team All-American shortstop as a senior, a rare honor for a northern player (and one that would be duplicated by first team All-American third baseman Gene Larkin 19 years later).
He was scheduled to be drafted by the Kansas City Athletics as the first pick in the draft, but chose pro football and medical school instead. A draft selection of the New York Jets in the AFL, he was signed by Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to a unique contract. For two years, Roberts participated only in pre-season practice with the Browns; the rest of the time, he attended medical school full time at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, funded by the team. His third year, he convinced Case Western to grant him a six month leave of absence so he could play actively with the Miami Dolphins (an expansion team in 1967).
Upon graduation from medical school in 4 years, he did his hospital-based residency training. Subsequently, he became a nationally known cardiac surgeon performing over 5,000 open heart surgeries and training dozens of young doctors in the art of cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. Roberts, himself, trained at Yale, the National Institute of Health and Cornell New York Hospital. He practiced as a heart surgeon at six hospitals around the country, including a period as Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Boston University. He has published over 120 peer reviewed articles and written 5 books. Dr. Roberts is currently the Founder of the Living Heart Foundation (LHF), a 501 (c) (3) national organization dedicated to combating cardiovascular disease and obesity. In this role, he travels the country, working with physicians, hospitals, NFL players & the public everywhere, in the battle to create "HOPE" (Heart, Obesity, Prevention, Education).
His professional awards include: Visiting International Professor to China & India; Columbia College John Jay Award for Distinguished Achievement; Silver Anniversary National NCAA award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution; American Heart Association Humanitarian Award 2012 (Washington, DC area) for preventive health; and National Football Foundation's 2011 Distinguished American Award for leadership, teaching, research, clinical excellence and motivation skills.