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Constance van Eeden Fund

About the Fund

The Constance van Eeden Endowment for Honouring Distinguished Achievement in Statistics was established in 1998, through the generosity of Dr. van Eeden. The Fund promotes learning in Statistical Science, allows students to network far beyond the physical department, recognizes distinguished statistical scholars at all levels, and celebrates extraordinary achievement in the discipline.

About Dr. van Eeden

Dr. van Eeden made important contributions in a wide range of areas, including estimation in restricted parameter spaces, decision theory, nonparametrics, and selection procedures. She was a Fellow in the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Statistical Association, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. She contributed to the development of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Montreal. That department has honoured her by establishing the Prix Constance van Eeden, given annually to the best graduating BSc student in Statistics or Actuarial Science. Dr. van Eeden supervised more than a dozen PhD students and eighteen MSc students. The UBC Statistics Department was fortunate to have Dr. van Eeden spend each fall in the Department. And the Department is honoured that Dr. van Eeden entrusted it with administration of the Fund.

Bringing distinguished visitors to UBC

Since 1999, the Constance van Eeden Endowment allowed faculty in the department to invite internationally renowned statistics researchers for seminars and visits.

Beginning in 2009, the van Eeden Fund supported invitations extended by Statistics graduate students. The students invite, plan for and host a researcher of their choosing. The department has benefitted tremendously from this fund, not only through the stimulating lectures, but also through the opportunity for our graduate students to discuss research and career opportunities with visitors and to learn first-hand how to host an eminent statistician.

  • In the fall of 1999, we welcomed our first visitor, Professor William Strawderman, of Rutgers University. Professor Strawderman gave a series of four seminars and lectures on “Improved Estimation of Location Parameters”.
  • In March 2002, Professors Michael Newton and Christina Kendziorski from the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined us.  Dr Newton gave two lectures, “Nonparametric Bayes approaches to infer mixing distributions” and “On Modeling Genomic Aberrations in Cancer Cells”.  Dr Kendziorski lectured on “Mapping Physiological Mechanism to the Genome: A Mathematical Modeling Approach”.
  • In September 2003, Professor Chris Chatfield of the University of Bath, UK, gave a lecture on “Time-Series Forecasting in the New Millennium”.
  • In October 2003, Professor Mark van der Laan of the University of California, Berkeley, discussed “Cross-validated deletion/substitution/addition algorithms in regression”.
  • In the fall of 2004, Professor Jim Ramsay of McGill University and Adjunct Professor in the UBC Department of Statistics presented a two-day workshop on functional data analysis.
  • In the fall of 2006, the department was visited by Professor Jean Opsomer of Iowa State University, who gave two lectures, the first an introduction to estimation for natural resource surveys, and the second, a specialized lecture on variance estimation for systematic samples using nonparametric methods.
  • In the spring of 2007, Professor Michael Woodroofe, L.J. Savage Professor of Statistics at the University of Michigan, gave two lectures: “Shape restricted estimation in the search for dark matter” and “A Kiefer Wolfowitz comparison theorem for Wicksell’s Problem”.
  • In June of 2009, the graduate students arranged a visit by Andrew Gelman, Professor of Statistics and Political Science and Director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. Professor Gelman gave two lectures, “Creating structured and flexible models: some open problems”, and “Culture wars, voting and polarization: divisions and unities in modern American politics”.
  • In the fall of 2009, Professor Graciela Boente of the University of Buenos Aires, Department of Mathematics and Instituto de Calculo presented a lecture entitled “Robust estimators in functional principal components”.
  • In June 2010, Professor Hongkai Ji of Johns Hopkins University gave a seminar entitled “Joint analysis of multiple genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments”.
  • In October 2010, Professor Xiao-Li Meng from Harvard University gave three lectures: “Trivial mathematics but deep statistics: Simpson’s Paradox and its impact on your life”, “The making of sexy statistics and statisticians: some recent Harvard experiments”, and “Thirty years of bootstrap and multiple imputation: joint replications versus conditional replications”.
  • In March 2011, graduate students arranged a lecture by Professor Jianqing Fan of Princeton University. Professor Fan discussed “Refitted cross-validation in ultrahigh dimensional regression”.
  • In February 2012, graduate students invited Professor Michael Jordan, UC Berkeley Computer Science and Statistics. He spoke on “Statistics and computation in the age of massive data”.
  • In January 2013,  Dr Gavin Shaddick of the University of Bath, UK, gave a lecture entitled “Pumps, Maps and Pea Soup: Spatio-temporal methods in environmental epidemiology”. This was the inaugural lecture for a one-term, special-topic graduate course in statistics, given by Dr Shaddick and Dr James Zidek.
  • In February 2013, graduate students hosted Professor Miguel Hernan, of the Department of Epidemiology and Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health. The talk was so well attended, it had to be broadcast into a nearby overflow room. The talk was entitled “Epidemiologic methods are useless. They can only give you answers”.
  • In March 2014,  Dr Rob Tibshirani from Stanford University presented a lecture on “The Lasso: a brief review and a new significance test”, on the invitation of our graduate students.
  • In March 2015, graduate students welcomed  Dr Peter Guttorp from the University of Washington. His talk was called “Projecting the Uncertainty of Sea Level Rise Using Climate Models and Statistical Downscaling”.
  • In September 2015, the department invited Dr Roger Cooke, Chauncey Starr Senior Fellow for Risk Analysis, Resources for the Future (Washington DC). Dr Cooke gave two lectures – one on “Vine regression”, the other on “Structured expert judgment and invasive species in the Great Lakes”. Dr Cooke’s career has mainly been in Delft, the hometown of Constance van Eeden, and he is still active, as Professor Emeritus, at the Delft University of Technology.
  • In January 2016, graduate students hosted Professor Art Owen, Stanford University, who spoke on “Bi-cross-validation for factor analysis”.
  • In April 2017, graduate students hosted Professor Jeffrey Rosenthal from the University of Toronto, who gave a talk called "Adaptive MCMC For Everyone".
  • In March 2018, graduate students hosted Professor Jim Berger from Duke University. Professor Berger gave a talk called "Reproducibility of science: p-values, multiple testing and optional stopping".
  • In March 2019, graduate students welcomed Professor David M. Blei from Columbia University, who gave a talk about "The Blessings of Multiple Causes".
  • In March 2020, graduate students welcomed Professor Daniella Witten from the University of Washington. Professor Witten gave a talk called "Calcium imaging, clustering, and corncob".
  • In March 2021, graduate students will be virtually hosting Professor Geoffrey Hinton from the University of Toronto, who will be giving a talk called "How to represent part-whole hierarchies in a neural network".
  • In March 2022, graduate students will be virtually hosting Professor Tamara Broderick from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will be giving a talk called “An Automatic Finite-Sample Robustness Metric: Can Dropping a Little Data Change Conclusions?”.

Purposes of the Fund

The fund is intended to promote a variety of activities, specifically the Statistician in Residence program, a lecture program, a summer school program, admissions awards, and graduate studentinvited speakers. 

The Statistician in Residence program: This program will bring visitors to the Department for a week or more. The visitor would have demonstrated exceptional accomplishment or potential for such accomplishment by the academic and professional criteria by which success is judged in the discipline of Statistics.

A lecture program: A visitor of great international distinction would visit the Department of Statistics for a period of about one week.

A West Coast Summer School in Statistics program: The school could be designed for graduate students, undergraduate students, or secondary school students.

Admissions awards: These awards would recognize outstanding achievement while enabling the Department to be more competitive in the international competition for prospective graduate students and Postdoctoral Fellows.

Graduate studentinvited speaker: Each year, Statistics graduate students choose a prominent statistician to give a seminar in the Department. The students invite the visitor and organize the visit.