Statistics 50th Anniversary Celebration

Statistics 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Department of Statistics celebrated 50 years of excellence on May 17, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. Statisticians from all over the world (as far as Nigeria) returned to Aggieland to celebrate with current faculty, staff and students in this spectacular event! It is an honor knowing that the Department of Statistics has produced some of the world’s most renowned Statisticians that continue to break the barriers of what the world sees as necessary data analysis. Our department has become the third-largest and one of the most respected in the country. We owe this to our founding father, H. O. Hartley and all of the Statistics Department Heads for their superior leadership and expertise.

The gala began with a Red Carpet Reception where several former students, current faculty, staff and students were interviewed as they entered the reception. Several alums were asked “what has changed the most in College Station since their time as a student.” Roland Acra was most impressed with the commercial development and vowed to come back to visit Aggieland more often. Jerry Oglesby said everything was much bigger than he remembered! Veera Baladandayuthapani commented that the students appeared to look much younger than standard college entrance age and he immediately noticed that there were more coffee shops since his time here.

When asked, ‘which statistics professor had the most influence on their career’, several alums named notable faculty such as Ron Hocking, H. Joseph Newton, Randy Eubank and Jim Calvin. However, only one statistician was named Most Influential Professor and the award goes to our beloved Associate Department Head, Dr. Michael Longnecker! In the spirit of Aggie traditions, we salute Dr. Longnecker with an honorable “WHOOP!!”

Ralph Kodell mentioned that James Matis was an excellent mentor during his time at Aggieland but also included that Rudy Freund “had several activities that were a lot of fun but he definitely made life interesting!” We got the impression that he probably wanted to skip class a few times… William Smith mentioned that his most difficult task as Department Head was recruiting Distinguished Professor, Emanuel Parzen. “It wasn’t easy but it was one the best decisions I ever made as Department Head!”

The evening concluded with presentations from the evening’s co-hosts, Simon Sheather and Michael Kutner. Sheather presented plaques, books and commemorative wine boxes to several colleagues for their distinguished service as well as members of the Department of Statistics Alumni Advisory Board for their guidance and vision of the 50th Anniversary. Michael Kutner presented a series of gag gifts to colleagues that included different items ranging from golf balls to bottles of wine! One of the highlights of Kutner’s presentations was to Mike Speed who received an actual tail in recognition of “clients who require a ONE-TAILED TEST.” Jerry Oglesby also made the official announcement regarding the gift from SAS to fund the new Masters in Analytics program at the dinner. What an incredible evening!

The celebration continued on Saturday with a picnic at Bachman Community Park where guests enjoyed a Texas BBQ. There was great food, laughter, door prizes and fun for the kids too! Everyone enjoyed reminiscing with their colleagues and shared their stories of Aggieland from over the years.

An enormous amount of time and effort went into coordinating the special commemorative video and planning a milestone event such as the Department’s 50th Anniversary. A very special Thank You to Jennifer South and Elaine James for their tireless dedication and commitment! We appreciate everyone who had a hand in making this anniversary a celebration to remember. For the official press release, please visit: To watch the commemorative video that was premiered at the event, please visit