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Department of Statistics Honors Three Outstanding Alumni


Fall 2007 Outstanding Alumni - Reda, Gnanadesikan, Deely
Fall 2007 Statistics Outstanding Alumni: (left to right) Domenic Reda (MS '76), Mrudulla Gnanadesikan (PhD '66), John J. Deely (PhD '65)

On Friday, September 7, 2007, the Department of Statistics awarded Dr. John J. Deely, Dr. Mrudulla Gnanadesikan, and Dr. Domenic Reda with the Department of Statistics Outstanding Alumni Award. The award honors the alumnus for their contributions and leadership within their profession.

A full day of events was planned for the Outstanding Alumni. In the morning, they participated in a career panel discussion with Statistics students. They shared their career path with the audience and offered an inside look at various career options. Recognizing that today's students live in a different world than when they were students at Purdue, the three Outstanding Alumni offered timeless messages to students: pay attention to what interests you and then follow those interests, always be both a student and an educator, and hard work always pays off. Later that day, they toured Purdue's campus, attended a presentation by STATCOM, and were briefed by faculty and students on some of the research being conducted in the Department of Statistics today. The day culminated with a reception and dinner held in honor of the Outstanding Alumni at the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center.

Meet our Outstanding Alumni

Dr. John Deely

Dr. John J. Deely of West Lafayette, IN, is Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Canterbury, and Continuing Lecturer in the Department of Statistics, Purdue University. Deely served as Chair of Statistics at the University of Canterbury for 28 years, expanding their program from one statistics course with one hundred students and a staff of one, himself, to eight statistics courses with over 800 students and a staff of five. He supervised eight Ph.D. students and sixteen M.S. students. Deely is a Bayesian specialist as well as a specialist in statistics education. He has a passion for making statistical theory accessible to the practioner. Deely was named Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2007. A two day conference, held on July 5-6, 2007 at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, honored his contributions both to the field of Statistics, and to the lives of all those he has touched throughout his career. He received his M.S. in Mathematics from Purdue University in 1958 and his Ph.D. in Statistics from Purdue University in 1965.

To read more about John J. Deely, read his alumni profile here.


Dr. Mrudulla Gnandesikan

Dr. Mrudulla Gnanadesikan of Edgartown, MA is Professor Emeritus, Fairleigh Dickinson University. She was the founding chair of the Department of Computer and Decision Systems which is now the Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences. In addition to her academic experience, Gnanadesikan has consulting experience with Bell Telephone Laboratories and AT&T. She has also been active in the New Jersey Chapter of the American Statistical Association serving as Vice-President from 1984-1985 and President from 1990-1991. From 1983-1988 she served as a member of the Joint Committee on the Curriculum in Statistics and Probability of the American Statistical Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. This committee created the Quantitative Literacy Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, which was an effort to introduce up-to-date statistical topics into mathematics courses in grades 7-12. Gnanadesikan was a member of the Quantitative Literacy Project team and a team leader and instructor for Quantitative Literacy workshops for Mathematics teachers. She co-authored a book for the project titled The Art and Techniques of Simulation (with R. Scheaffer and J. Swift, 1987, Dale Seymour Publications) which introduces simulation as a procedure for answering questions about complex, real-world problems by running experiments that mirror the real situation as closely as possible. Her second book titled, Activity Based Statistics (with R. Scheaffer, A. Watkins, J. Witmer, revised by T. Erickson, 2nd edition, 2004, Key College Publications), is a collection of statistical activities and investigations that can be used to supplement classes from grade school to the college level. Gnanadesikan earned her Ph.D. in Statistics from Purdue University in 1966.

To read more about Mrudulla Gnanadesikan, read her alumni profile here.


Dr. Domenic Reda

Dr. Domenic Reda, of Burr Ridge, IL is the Director of the Hines Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center, Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA Cooperative Studies Program supports the development and evaluation of proposed studies and provides the funding, central administration, data processing and statistical analysis for ongoing studies. These studies are typically large, multi-hospital, randomized, prospective clinical trials, the results of which often have a major impact on the direction of health care in the VA and nationwide. A study conducted on coronary artery revascularization prior to major elective vascular surgery was named a Top Medical Story of 2005 by the editors of Journal Watch. He has written over 100 research articles which have been published in prestigious medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Archives of Internal Medicine, Circulation, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. He received his M.S. in Applied Statistics from Purdue University in 1976 and earned a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Illinois in 2001. Reda received the Chapter Service Award, Northeastern Illinois Chapter, American Statistical Association, in 2006.

To read more about Dr. Domenic Reda, read his alumni profile here.

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