N. Balakrishnan Honored
with 25th Anniversary Don Owen Award

N. Balakrishnan Honored with 25th Anniversary Don Owen Award
Left: Bob Mason, first recipient of the Don Owen Award
Right: N. Balakrishnan, 25th Anniversary winner of the Don Owen Award in 2008


The Don B. Owen Award is annually presented by the San Antonio Chapter of the ASA at the Conference of Texas Statisticians, which was held this year on March 28-29, 2008, at the Downtown Campus of The University of Texas at San Antonio. The conference was organized by Professor Nandini Kannan and her colleagues at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The dinner banquet was held on Friday evening March 28, 2008 at the Radisson Hotel adjacent to campus.

  • Presentation
    • This year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Don B. Owen Award begun in 1983 to honor the contributions of Dr. Owen (the founding editor of Communications in Statistics) to the profession: excellence in research, contributions to editorial activities and service to the statistical community. To mark this anniversary the first recipient, Dr. Robert L. Mason, Institute Scientist with Southwest Research Institute, presented an honorific plaque to Professor N. “Bala” Balakrishnan, Professor of Statistics at McMasters University in Canada.

  • Scholar
    • Dr. Balakrishnan has emerged as one of the premier scholars in statistics over the past decade. He has a multitude of publications in order statistics, reliability theory, nonparametric statistics, robust inference, multivariate analysis, progressive censoring and many others areas of statistics; the total sum of his publications is now measured in hundreds. In addition to his hundreds of journal articles, he has authored or coauthored twenty volumes in statistics including many in specialized areas within order statistics and others in widely read volumes such as Continuous Univariate Distributions Volumes I and II and Discrete Multivariate Distributions with Norman Johnson and Samuel Kotz.

  • Editor
    • He has edited 25 research volumes and handbooks and additionally the sixteen volume set of the Encyclopedia of Statistical Science. He has a distinguished record of journal editorship as well and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Communications in Statistics-Theory and Methods and Communications in Statistics-Simulation and Computation and the Executive Editor of the Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference. It suffices to say that his editorial service has few peers. Dr. Balakrishnan is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and The Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and an elected member of the International Statistics Institute (ISI).

  • Ambassador
    • Bala has worked fervently as an ambassador for statistics globally as manifested by his contributions to universities in China, Greece, India, Iran, Turkey, Taiwan, and many other places. He has even played a role locally in the PhD program in Applied Statistics at site of the host school through his research with Professor Nandini Kannan, who wrote the department’s PhD proposal and chaired the department during its implementation.

  • Teacher and Steward
    • Dr. Balakrishnan has supervised 45 MS theses and more than twenty dissertations in the last twelve years alone. He serves as an advisor to many and graciously takes his time to review many ideas with both young and seasoned statisticians. Even with his penchant for mentorship, one still must marvel that he has won the McMaster Students Union Teaching Award on five (5) separate occasions. It is worth noting that some of his students were in attendance to see Bala receive this award. Bala is a beloved teacher, trusted mentor and renowned researcher.

  • Acceptance
    • Dr. Balakrishnan graciously accepted the award and a $500 honorarium from the Taylor & Francis Group. He shared many personal memories of how he came to be a statistician. He shared his early love of literature and especially that of Tamil poets and amused the audience with his tale of how he was shuttled between departments of Mathematics and Statistics before settling in Statistics.