Obituary - George P McCabe - Department of Statistics - Purdue University Skip to main content

Obituary - George P McCabe

08-21-2023

George Paul McCabe, 78, Emeritus Professor of Statistics, passed away on August 17, 2023, surrounded by his family.  Over his 50 years at Purdue, George had a huge role in the direction of the department, the careers of uncountable students and colleagues, and the lives of practically everyone he met.  He will be deeply missed. 

George graduated from Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York before receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from Providence College in 1966 and a PhD in Mathematical Statistics from Columbia University in 1970. In the same year, he began his distinguished career at Purdue University as a Professor of Statistics and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the College of Science.

Among his numerous professional achievements are...

  • Purdue’s Statistical Consulting Service (SCS), a service he founded and grew over the 35 years he directed it into one of the model centers in the nation.  He provided innovative management practices and garnered internal support from the university.  This has allowed the SCS to serve both the education (training of statistics students as consultants and non-statistics students as future collaborators) and research roles of the university, without the pressures of funding that oftentimes handcuff these centers
  • The 1989 textbook he co-authored with Emeritus Professor David Moore titled Introduction to the Practice of Statistics. This textbook revolutionized how the field of introductory statistics was taught, focusing on the analysis of real data.  In a sense, this book integrated statistical consulting practices into the practice of teaching introductory statistics.
  • His numerous and impactful collaborations in Nutritional Science, including the effectiveness of Vitamin A supplementation on young child morbidity and mortality in developing countries, the use of lactate curves to track fitness of athletes, the efficacies of interventions for mitigating bone loss due to menopause, and analytic methods to rapidly detect changes in bone calcium retention.
  • His consulting activities for companies concerned with civil rights issues related to compensation, hiring, and promotion as well as property rights between companies.

Among his numerous accolades, George is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He was also the 2012 Don Owen Awardee for Outstanding Contributions to Statistical Research, Applications, and Teaching and the 2022 W. J. Dixon Awardee for Excellence in Statistical Consulting. 

As part of the 10th International Purdue Symposium on Statistics this past summer, we were able to recognize George’s 50 years at Purdue with a special session in his honor titled “Collaboration and Communication: Challenges for Statisticians” and a celebratory dinner.  In the near future, we will plan for a memorial service within the Department and hope to schedule a memorial session at JSM next summer.   We will keep you posted. 

Funeral Mass will be held at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament at 2224 Sacramento Avenue, West Lafayette, Indiana on Tuesday, August 22 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. To share memories and leave condolences with family, please visit https://soller-baker.com/obituary/george-p-mccabe/

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