January 16, 2016

Two Texas A&M University statistics professors have been appointed to endowed chairs within the Department of Statistics, announced Dr. Valen E. Johnson, professor of statistics and head of the department. The George P. Mitchell '40 Endowed Chair in Statistics and the Susan M. Arseven '75 Chair in Data Science and Computational Statistics were funded by generous donors and established through the Texas A&M Foundation.

Michael Longnecker has been appointed to the George P. Mitchell '40 Endowed Chair in Statistics, established in 2006 by Mitchell, Texas A&M Class of 1940 and a distinguished petroleum engineering graduate, for the specific purpose of supporting former Dean of Science H. Joseph Newton in his efforts to advance programs within the College of Science for the duration of his tenure as dean and, subsequently, faculty and related programs within the department.

Bani K. Mallick has been appointed as the inaugural holder of the Susan M. Arseven '75 Chair in Data Science and Computational Statistics, established this past summer by Texas A&M Statistics graduate Ersen Arseven '74 to honor his late wife and support statistics faculty who are successful in both publishing and attracting funding in the areas of integrating statistical and computational methods for application in diverse areas of science, technology and engineering.

"The department is truly grateful for the opportunity to host the Susan M. Arseven '75 and George P. Mitchell '40 endowed chairs," Johnson said. "The resources that these chairs will provide to Drs. Mallick and Longnecker will enhance statistics research and education, which will continue to have an extremely positive impact on graduate students and faculty within the Department of Statistics. Both professors have proven track records of excellence and are more than worthy of this tangible acknowledgement of their many contributions and overall standing in the field."

Dr. Michael Longnecker

Longnecker is a professor of statistics who has made significant contributions in research, statistical education, training, consulting and mentoring as well as departmental administration. He joined the Texas A&M Statistics faculty in 1977 one year after earning his Ph.D. is statistics from Florida State University. Equally revered for his leadership and educational skills, he has served as interim head of the department from 2004 to 2005 and as associate department head from 2000 to 2004 as well as from 2005 to the present. Longnecker has served on more than 150 statistics students' master's and doctoral committees and also on approximately 350 such committees for non-statistics students. In each instance, he has provided expert advice on the experimental design of student research studies as well as guidance on proper modeling and analysis of data resulting from those experiments. In addition, he has directed the research of eight statistics Ph.D. students and more than a hundred master's students.

A fellow of the American Statistical Association, Longnecker also is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. His contributions to teaching and scholarly knowledge generation have been acknowledged with a 2011 National Statistics Education Award from the National Statistics Honor Society Mu Sigma Rho, a Western Michigan University Distinguished Alumni Award and Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards in Teaching at both the college and university levels. In addition, he is co-author of a textbook on statistical methods currently in use at nearly 100 campuses nationwide.

"One of Mr. Mitchell's purposes in endowing this chair was to advance programs within the Department of Statistics," Longnecker said. "I hope to be a worthy holder of the chair and to use the income from the chair to benefit the department in the long-term through the development of several new programs to assist both our junior faculty and our students."

Dr. Bani K. Mallick

Mallick is a distinguished professor of statistics and director of both the Center for Statistical Bioinformatics and the Bayesian Bioinformatics Laboratory. He is considered one of today's most influential and productive statisticians as a pioneering researcher in the field of Bayesian nonparametric regression and classification. He joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1998 four years after receiving his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Connecticut. One of his major contributions is a publication widely used as both a resource and a textbook, Bayesian Methods of Nonlinear Classification and Regression, which is regarded as one of the definitive works in the discipline. Mallick is equally renowned for his ability to do major collaborative research with scientists from myriad fields beyond his own, such as bioinformatics, engineering, veterinary medicine and traffic mapping. He often develops novel methodology and theory that is essential for sound scientific research in these collaborations and has several currently funded research grants to support such endeavors, including a prestigious National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant (R01). He has authored and edited six books and many research publications.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the Royal Statistical Society, Mallick also is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He has been honored with the Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the Indian Statistical Association as well as a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research.

"I met Ersen Arseven through the Department of Statistics and was immensely impressed with his interest in computational statistics and its applications in big data analysis," Mallick said. "His passion for computational statistics led him to endow this chair, and I am excited to be the first holder and to have the opportunity to benefit both my department and university and the broader profession."

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Valen E. Johnson, (979) 845-3141 or vjohnson@stat.tamu.edu.

This article was originally published by the College of Science.

Texas A&M Foundation 
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities. 

You can support faculty in the College of Science with a gift of an endowment to the Texas A&M Foundation. For additional information about how to benefit the college, contact Don Birkelbach ’70 with the Foundation at (800) 392-3310, (979) 845-7560 or dbirkelbach@txamfoundation.com.