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Steering Committee Invites Involvement in Anniversary Planning

1 January 2012 No Comment
The ASA will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2014. In preparation, column “175”—written by members of the ASA’s 175th Anniversary Steering Committee and other ASA members—will chronicle the theme chosen for the celebration, status of preparations, activities to take place, and, best yet, how you can get involved in propelling the ASA toward its bicentennial.

Contributing Editor
Christy Chuang-Stein is the chair of the 175th Anniversary Steering Committee and head of the Statistical Research and Consulting Center at Pfizer. She served as an ASA vice president from 2009–2011.

The American Statistical Association, the nation’s second-oldest learned society, will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2014. The celebration is for everyone and with everyone. We hope it will be by everyone, as well.

As stated by ASA President Bob Rodriguez in his President’s Corner article, the theme for the 175th anniversary celebration is “Celebrate Our Past, Energize Our Future.” An eight-member steering committee, appointed by Rodriguez and representing academe, government, and industry will stimulate ideas, encourage involvement, and coordinate and communicate activities associated with the anniversary. Committee members will be reaching out to you to solicit your thoughts and engage your participation. Together, we will plan activities that highlight our rich heritage and launch initiatives that will help ensure a bright future for the ASA and the statistics profession.

Steering Committee
Christy Chuang-Stein
Narayanaswamy Balakrishnan
Amy H. Herring
Fred L. Hulting
Dionne L. Price
Stephen M. Stigler
Ronald L. Wasserstein
George W. Williams

Planning has already begun. Over the past several months, members of the committee have received offers to help from some of you, and we were thrilled to hear about early-stage planning of activities by chapters. We will use this column to share information, stories, plans, and dreams associated with this landmark in the life of our association. Each month through the end of 2014, we will hear from members of the steering committee and other ASA members.

Anniversaries provide a time of celebration and reflection on the important moments in a life, relationship, or organization. For the ASA, which as a society is only younger than the American Philosophical Society (founded by Benjamin Franklin), there is much history to celebrate, and we are fortunate that statistician and statistical historian Stephen Stigler has agreed to be part of the 175th Anniversary Steering Committee. You will hear from him in February.

But think for just a moment. How much has statistical science changed since the founding of this association in 1839, and how much has changed since our last landmark—the 150th anniversary? In this sense, we celebrate a relatively young, excitingly vibrant discipline that finds its place in every scientific pursuit and all evidence-based decisions and policies.

The 150th anniversary celebration, which culminated at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Washington, DC, in 1989, focused a great deal on the history of statistics and the association. We will draw energy and wisdom from that celebration when we gather in Boston, chosen because the ASA was founded in Boston.

A preliminary ASA 175th Anniversary website has been set up. Soon you will be able to offer on this website your insight about some of the initiatives the ASA and steering committee are considering. We are bold in our ideas and ambitious in our goals. We would like to have your comments about them, as well as your ideas for other initiatives.

We will be getting in touch with chapters, sections, outreach groups, committees, and others to encourage involvement in this celebration. We ask you to start thinking about how you can be involved personally. Also, visit the reverse time capsule for a fun way to begin celebrating. We look forward to planning this special event with you!

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