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People News for June 2022

1 June 2022 No Comment

Mark Becker

ASA Fellow Mark Becker, who is president of Georgia State University, will serve as the next president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, effective September 1.

“Mark brings a critical blend of institutional and higher education community experience that make him uniquely qualified to serve as APLU’s next president,” said Rebecca Blank, chair of the APLU Board of Directors and chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “His longstanding engagement with APLU—including as a member of the board of directors—and [his service as] a former board chair of both the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and the American Council on Education, will allow him to hit the ground running. I expect him to further strengthen and advance the work of APLU’s members and advocate for public and land-grant universities’ interests in Washington when he assumes leadership of APLU later this year.”

Trained as a statistician, Becker has had a distinguished career in biostatistics and public health sciences. For most of his professorial career, he was a member of the faculty in the department of biostatistics at the University of Michigan, where he also held appointments in the Institute for Social Research and department of statistics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was a guest editor for Sociological Methods and Research and the Journal of the American Statistical Association.

Read more about Becker’s appointment at the APLU website.

Karl E. Peace

Karl E. Peace

Karl E. Peace

The President’s Visionary Award was given to ASA member Karl E. Peace during the Gratitude Gala hosted by Georgia Southern University April 1. He was honored for his lifetime support and transformational giving to the university.

“The Gratitude Gala is a chance for us to celebrate you,” Trip Addison, vice president for university advancement, said to the group of awardees. “Each one of you has gone above and beyond in your support of the university, and for each student who is chasing an incredible dream, your support is helping them to take hold of it.”

Karl E. Peace grew up humbly in southwest Georgia and worked seven part-time jobs to help fund his college education at Georgia Southern. His story is one of perseverance and determination, and he has made it a mission to give back.

After graduating from Georgia Southern, Peace went on to earn a PhD in biostatistics and make his mark on the pharmaceutical industry, including contributing to the first drugs the US Food and Drug Administration approved for the prevention of NSAID-induced gastric ulceration, reduction of coronary heart disease risk, and the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Discouraged by the lack of public health and biostatistics degree programs in his native state, Peace named and endowed the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern—the first school or college of public health in the University System of Georgia—after his late wife. He is also the architect of the MPH in biostatistics, which is the first biostatistics degree program in the USG.

Through the years, Peace has endowed numerous scholarships to help recruit outstanding students to Georgia Southern. He created the Karl E. Peace Center for Biostatistics on campus, as well as faculty chair positions and graduate assistantships for the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. He also created scholarships for students from Baker County, where he grew up, so they can attend Georgia Southern University and have the same opportunities he had. In total, Peace has created 14 endowed funds at Georgia Southern that generate more than $200,000 annually for the university to assist students with their degree programs.

Peace is the recipient of more than 50 awards, including the first President’s Medal for outstanding contributions to Georgia Southern, the USG’s Regents Hall of Fame Award, GSU Outstanding Alumnus, and Outstanding Researcher. Finally, he has been cited for contributions to biostatistics and public health by both houses of Congress and both houses of the congressional bodies of Georgia and Virginia.

Ingrid Van Keilegom

Ingrid Van Keilegom of KU Leuven in Belgium was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of A Coruña (UDC), Galicia, Spain, on June 16. The ceremony was held in the auditorium of the UDC rectorate in conjunction with the International Symposium on Recent Advances in Statistics. Eight invited speakers who have collaborated with Van Keilegom presented their work.

For more information, visit the symposium website.

Sam Behseta

Sam Behseta

Sam Behseta, ASA Fellow and professor of ­mathematics at California State University, Fullerton, is this year’s recipient of Fullerton’s 2022 Outstanding Professor Award. Behseta was selected based on his exemplary contributions as an educator and scholar.

“In data science, it is critical for students to develop a solid understanding of the basic ­concepts in theoretical and practical aspects of probability, statistics, and computing early on,” Behseta said. “Many students mistakenly believe this will be too hard for them. I tell them, ‘If you fail, it’s because I failed as a teacher. It’s my job to help you understand.’”

Behseta has supervised the work of more than 50 undergraduate researchers, many of whom are first-generation students, and has taught a large number of applied mathematics and statistics classes, including graduate and undergraduate. But if he had to pick his favorite classes to teach, it would be his introductory classes. “In those classrooms,” Behseta said, “I have found some of the most outstanding research students, who in their own right are now pathbreaking educators or visionary data scientists.”

Beyond being a beloved teacher, Behseta is also an accomplished researcher who has published extensively, a director for the Center for Computational and Applied Mathematics at California State University, Fullerton, and a former editor of CHANCE magazine (2011–2013).

Read more about this award and what students have said about Behseta.

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