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
2008 at the Radisson Hotel adjacent to campus.
- This year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Don B.
Owen Award begun in 1983 to honor the contributions of Dr. Owen
of Communications in Statistics) to the profession: excellence in
research, contributions to editorial activities and service to
community. To mark this anniversary the first recipient, Dr. Robert
L. Mason, Institute Scientist with Southwest Research Institute,
an honorific plaque to Professor N. “Bala” Balakrishnan,
Professor of Statistics at McMasters University in Canada.
- Dr. Balakrishnan has emerged as one of the premier scholars
in statistics over the past decade. He has a multitude of publications
statistics, reliability theory, nonparametric statistics, robust
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
twenty volumes in statistics including many in specialized areas
statistics and others in widely read volumes such as Continuous
Univariate Distributions Volumes I and II and Discrete Multivariate
with Norman Johnson and Samuel Kotz.
- He has edited 25 research volumes and handbooks and additionally
the sixteen volume set of the Encyclopedia of Statistical Science.
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
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
of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and an elected member of the
International Statistics Institute (ISI).
- Bala has worked fervently as an ambassador for statistics globally
as manifested by his contributions to universities in China,
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.
- 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
tale of how he was shuttled between departments of Mathematics
before settling in Statistics.