The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science has four interrelated missions by which it serves the University, the state, and the world. These four missions are:

  • to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with strong degree programs and excellent instruction in probability, statistics, and actuarial science;
  • to conduct and publish outstanding research in probability, statistics, and actuarial science;
  • to promote the solid practice of statistics at the University and beyond; and
  • to produce leaders in the insurance, pension, and actuarial consulting industry.

History of the department

Lecture presented on October 2, 2003 in Iowa City. 

I gave Jian [Huang] a title "The History" and then I said, "Jian, put 'On' in there." He said, "What do you want 'On' in there for?" I said, "I don't want to pretend like I know EVERYTHING about the history."

Allen Craig always said, "Now, Bob, when you're publishing a paper, don't pretend like you know everything and put in 'On.'" If you went back and read a lot of Craig's publications, he starts off with "On." And then I went back and read some of Henry Rietz' (he was Allen's advisor) papers that were published, and he started a bunch of them with 'On.' So I think Henry passed that "On" down, and Allen passed it down to me, and now I'm passing it on to you, for whatever it's worth. Probably not very much.

Let's start at the beginning. I'm going back really to the very early years of the last century. And I'm going to talk about Henry Lewis Rietz. He was on the faculty at the University of Illinois. And the first publication I could find on Rietz was on Primitive Groups. Now this wasn't sociology. It was algebra. He was an algebraist. And then clearly someone at the Ag Experiment Station must have asked him some questions about statistics because in 1905 he started publishing some stat papers. And that increased through about 1910. And then in 1911 he published "On the Theory of Risk." It had good probability, good math stat, but this was sort of his beginning with Actuarial Science. And then he continued to establish himself as a scholar in Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science.

Now in 1918 there was an event that happened. If it didn't happen, NONE of us would be here in this room today. I promise you, none of us. Some person over here at Iowa got the bright idea of hiring Henry Rietz as Head of the Mathematics Department. And that changed the whole thing. Luke, will they say that about you 85 years after you were hired? I doubt it. But do a good job anyhow. But really, it really changed the whole thing.

So Rietz came to Iowa and established a nice publication record. I noticed he had some expository papers in there. Oh, I forgot my prop. I was going to bring down the Carus monograph, which is a little blue book. Where did I leave that? If somebody finds that darn Carus monograph, it belongs to the department. It was published in 1927. It was called "Mathematical Statistics." It was published by the Mathematical Association of America. And they did these things. It was a nice one. He talked about frequency functions, and Pearson family of frequency, Gram-Chalier fits, and he gets into correlation. It was a nice book.

But he was attracting students here. The first student I'm going to mention - he was not too well known - is Frank Weida. The reason I want to mention Frank Weida is because when he left here, he went to George Washington University. And in 1935 he established the first Department of Statistics as we know it. There were statistical groups in Business, but this was the first Department of Statistics in Liberal Arts and/or Science. By the way, Ames (I see Dale Zimmerman sitting there), they had their Stat Lab in '33, but they didn't have the department until '47. And so THIS was the first Department of Statistics.

There were a couple other students that he attracted from states down south, and one of them was Sam Wilks from Texas, and the other was Allen Craig from Florida. They both graduated in 1931 under Rietz, with their PhDs.

Allen was a better teacher than Sam, and Rietz kept Allen here. And he arranged for Sam to go to Columbia, and study for a year under Hottelling (Harold Hottelling was brilliant). After that year, he went to England for a year and studied under some of the British statisticians, and then came back to Princeton in '33, and he spent his whole professional career there. I'm going to mention Wilks again later.

I'd like to jump back a little bit to 1930 and actually go up to Michigan, as much as I hate to mention it. There was a statistician there named Harry Carver. And Harry Carver really thought there wasn't a very good place to publish mathematical statistics research. The mathematicians, I think, looked at statistics as a kind of wackery, particularly if it had data. That was a no-no. So Carver started at personal expense the Annals of Mathematical Statistics. ASA (the American Statistical Association) helped out a little bit the first two or three years. But we were in a bad Depression, and they dropped that support. But Harry kept on with the Annals.

Now, Rietz, about the same time, thought that maybe the mathematical statisticians ought to band together. And so (this was early in '35) he had Allen write to about 70 to 90 statisticians. I remember Solomon Kuhlbach was in there, Joe Berkson, who turned out to be a famous biostatistician, and Ed Deming, who was a hot-shot quality guy, was in this thing. About 60 or 70 of them came to a summer meeting of the Math Society in Ann Arbor, and they agreed to form the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Henry Rietz was the first president, as you might expect. Walter Shewhart (that's of the Shewhart Control Charts) was the first Vice President, and Allen Craig was the first Secretary/Treasurer. There was a man in the American Statistical Association, Fred Stephen, who really wanted IMS to be a section of the ASA. And I think Rietz might have gone along with that, but Carver didn't like it. He was looking for a home for his Annals. He was afraid of what the Board of Directors might do to the Annals if he turned them over to ASA. You know, they might run a little short of money some year and say let's forget about publishing the Annals and save some money. He was really afraid of this.

So IMS went it alone, and when they got their feet on the ground (this was in 1938), Carver turned the Annals over to IMS as their official journal. The first editor after Carver was Sam Wilks. Great appointment. The two associate editors were Jerzey Neyman (that's of the Neyman-Pearson lemma) and Allen Craig. Now, I want you to think... In that a three-year period (1935-38):

  • Weida, the first Department of Statistics;
  • Henry Rietz, President of IMS;
  • Allen Craig, the first Secretary/Treasurer;
  • Sam Wilks, an Iowa PhD, was the first editor after Carver; and then
  • Allen Craig was one of the two associate editors.

Now think of the influence Iowa had right in that period!

Sam was a great editor. He actually edited the Annals for about 11 years, and he turned it from a so-so journal into a world-class research journal. He did a great job.

The war was coming along, and Allen was about 37 at that time. He didn't have to go into the service, but he volunteered and became an officer in the Navy.

Sam organized a Princeton research group, and also helped a Columbia research group. By the way, the research groups were working on war problems. As a matter of fact, Abraham Wald did his sequential analysis during this period.

Sam and Allen were together one time out East (this was in '42) and they sent a telegram to Rietz and it said: "Dear Uncle Henry, We are taking time out from winning the war to wish you a happy birthday. Sam and Allen." Now the "Dear Uncle Henry" came up because back in the '20s there was a nephew of Henry's, also named Henry Lewis Rietz, and he was here studying actuarial science. Of course, he called him Uncle Henry, and I suspect all the students, behind his back, would refer to him as "Uncle Henry." That's just my guess. And so Allen and Sam, when they wrote this telegram, they called him "Uncle Henry." And I suspect they'd had a couple drinks, to tell you the truth.

But Wilks also did a very nice thing. Rietz was in poor health in early '43, and as editor, he got the IMS Council to dedicate the '43 Annals to Rietz. I thought that was really a nice thing. And Rietz died later on in the year. If you look in the files, you'll see a letter from Rietz to the Council thanking them for the dedication; so he knew about it while he was alive.

Sam tried to get some of Rietz' students to write for the '43 Annals, and Allen sent in a couple publications, one of which was his AB=0 theorem. This was the necessary and sufficient condition for the independent quadratic form in iid normal variables. One way is easy; if AB is equal to 0, it's easy to show that the joint moment generating function factors. The other way is a little harder. At that time Allen was on a destroyer. And he kind of waved his hands on that part of the proof. He knew it was true, because he had a proof back at Iowa, but he was someplace off in the seas and so he couldn't refer to that. And so the proof wasn't really good going the other way. Hottelling picked up on it and tried to give a proof and messed it up. Allen published his proof in '47 when he talked about the independence of two bilinear forms in normally distributed variables. A same kind of argument.

Now what I want to do, I want to drop back a little bit. Back from '47. I want to drop back and mention two other people. The first one is sort of tangential to our program, but I think I ought to mention E.F. Lindquist. By the way, there's a building named after him down there, if you want to know who that Lindquist Center is named after. But Lindquist started the Iowa Testing Program. I suppose the Iowa Test of Basic Skills was first. He used to get high school students to grade these things. He'd give them the answer key, and they'd grade the tests.

After the war he said, "We're going to get a machine to grade these things." And he grabbed an electrical engineer named Edberg, and they invented a machine to grade these tests - that's when you started filling in the little circles with #2 pencils. That's what Lindquist and Edberg started. That was - now Leonard, you've got to correct me - I think it was Measurement Research Center. Actually they were over there on Market Street, where the Phelan and Tucker law firm is now. And eventually after a couple iterations, it's the National Computer System. If you go in the lobby, there's a picture of Lindquist. And as you walk around his eyes follow you. Now, you don't have to go that far to see that. You can go down to the board room in the Lindquist Center and they've got the same picture.

But Lindquist wasn't through. He said, "We've tested these high school kids, why don't we start ACT, American College Testing." And he started that. Now they've dropped the "American," and they dropped the "Testing." It's now just ACT because they didn't want people to think it was just American or just college testing. They do other things out there. And because of Lindquist (I'll have to say this because a couple guys are here from the program), we've built up a good Educational Measurement Testing and Statistics program down in Education. I have to say that as H.D. Hoover is sitting here, and Leonard Feldt is sitting here, and they told me I had to say that. Actually, we have great relationships with these guys through the years. So you ought to know about Lindquist.

The other man is Lloyd Knowler. Lloyd got his degree in Actuarial Science in 1937 from Rietz and then went off to Hunter College and taught two years at Hunter, and Rietz hired him back to teach Actuarial Science in '39. Lloyd did a couple other things you ought to know about. During the war, industries were using lots of statistics, primarily Shewhart Control Charts and acceptance sampling. And so a lot of universities started short courses in these things. Lloyd picked up and did this, and actually he was really one of the founders of ASQC, the American Society for Quality Control. And in the 1950s he received the Shewhart Medal, which is the highest honor that society would give.

The other thing that he did which is important for this discussion is that he convinced a number of doctors over in the University Hospital that they ought to be using statistics in their research. And he gave them a short course and eventually that turned into a course for the graduate students in basic biological sciences, and he called it Biostatistics. Those graduate students could see some need for that thing. I don't know what's happened to that course. Is it still around? He also gave one for the medical students called Medical Statistics. The med students just hated it. The graduate students in the basic sciences could understand the need for it. And actually Lloyd kept on with that. Maybe too long, but I do want to mention it because that was really the start of Biostatistics. I'll come back to that later.

In 1947, I came over to Iowa. It was a great day when I walked through that door - for me anyhow, and I hope for Iowa - I walked through that door of the old Physics Bldg (that's MacLean Hall now).

Why did I come here? After the war, universities were very good about helping veterans. Oh, we picked up some credits here and there and elsewhere, and I went to Illinois. And I was able to graduate as a math major. But the spring of '47, I was taking a probability course out of Uspensky. By the way, a nice book. It was taught by a fellow named Evans Monroe, who was a Ph.D. student of Joe Doob. And I remember there were three of us who, after our probability class, walked out of a classroom in the basement of the old math building in Urbana-Champaign in March. "We're math majors. What are we going to do?" And we were sitting there, and I remember a poster on the wall that said: "Do you want to be an actuary?" "What's that?" We went and read a little about that. The poster went on: "If so, come to the State University of Iowa!" By the way, that's still the official name of this university, but when Iowa State College became a university in the '60s, the names "Iowa State University" and "State University of Iowa" were too confusing, so we just kind of dropped the "State" out. It's still the official title, but we did drop the "State" out of the name.

But I came over here. I took a summer course in Matrices and Determinants from Allen Craig, and I fell in love with that guy. And he said there's no good book in this, so, he said, "We'll write our own." He would fill the blackboard three or four times. And as the story goes, he always ended up in the corner, put a period at the end of the last sentence, and walk out of the class. It was a longer blackboard than this one. Perfect sentences! He could write. And that was my contribution to Hogg & Craig - to get Craig to write it, to be honest with you.

Then when I took Theory of Statistics the next year (and I was studying Actuarial Science still), I knew Craig liked me, because he would call on one student a day. When he called on you, you put your pencil down (we didn't have ballpoint pens then), and you just paid attention to what he was saying, so you could answer his questions. And when he wanted to make time, he would call on me because I could come up with the answers pretty quick. Sometimes it was like pulling teeth to get answers out of some of those guys.

So I was finishing in the actuarial program that spring. About March, I wandered into Craig's office and said, "If I took some advanced mathematics and stayed on here, could I work with you?" He said, "Sure." So I did. I got my degree in 1950.

At that time, it was pretty hard to get a job because enrollments had ballooned up in '46 and '47 with the veterans. The Korean War came along in the '50s. Of course all the veterans had graduated by then, and so the enrollments were about two-thirds of what they were at the high point. And we had a small math department, only twelve. Two actuaries. Knowler was chair of the department then, and he hired a man named Byron Cosby, who was a really good teacher. He taught for us until the early 1960s. Then he went to Texas. Craig was the only statistician, and they needed a statistician, and so I was hired. It was a great thing for me.

I published my thesis in 1951. In the summer in '51, Craig came back and he said, "You know, when you're sampling the normal distribution, every time x-bar is independent of another statistic, like s2, that other statistic has a distribution free of mu." He said, "Maybe there's something to that."

We found that to have a sufficient statistic, the underlying density had to be a Koopman-Pittman-Darmois exponential form. And so we worked on it, and came up with Basu's Theorem with one statistic and one parameter. That's all.

I submitted that paper. I don't know why Allen didn't put his name on that paper, but maybe he knew it was going to get rejected. I got a report back from Ted Anderson, who was the editor at the time, and it read something like this. He said that Neyman (who we had acknowledged) had done that, and the referee had proved Basu's Theorem in generality. This was in '52. And I thought, oh my gosh. And he referred us to an article on completeness that Lehmann and Scheffe had written in 1950, and we had overlooked it. That would have changed my whole life. We really looked around for papers, but I didn't get that one.

And I always figured it was one of those Berkeley hotshots that refereed this thing. I even became kind of close friends with Erich Lehmann in the last few years. And after I saw him at a meeting about 3 or 4 years ago, I sent him the correspondence I had on this paper. And I said, "Do you know anything about this?" He didn't answer me. And I've seen him at meetings since then. Very friendly. Never answered. I think he was the referee. And I think he's the one who proved Basu's Theorem, to be truthful with you.

But we started using Basu's Therem in '53 and '54. I suspect Berkeley did too. Basu proved it in '55. I had lots of examples. As a matter of fact I used to go through the journals and try to spot independence of statistics. I thought I was the fastest gun in the West in spotting independence. Never had a shoot-out, but I was good. Still probably not too bad.

We actually gave a paper in 1956 (about a year later after Basu's proof) at an IMS meeting at the University of Chicago. We gave an hour paper. Allen gave the first half hour, and I gave the second half hour. And we had practiced, practiced, practiced. We gave that talk to each other lots of times. When Allen gave his paper, he forgot to give a little point that he wanted to make. Of course, I picked it up and I put it in my part of the talk. And when I said it, I looked at Allen and he was shaking his head, yes, he knew that he forgot that thing.

The first question after our talk, which I think is important was: Where do you get the students?

All these people at the meeting, probably 80-85% of those so-called mathematical statisticians hadn't heard what we were talking about in this particular paper that we were giving. At that time, we had a sequence in Probability, Math Stat I and Math Stat II. And then I would give a readings course to the actuarial students; and this was just extra. It used to be 22S:197 (now it's 22S:180). We just drilled them. We'd start off with about 60 students in Probability and then we'd lose a third of them. We were down to 40 in Math Stat I. And then we'd lose a third, and we were down to about 25 for Math Stat II. This was the third semester, and most of those students were actuaries and they were smart students.

Now, they didn't need this material to pass the actuarial exams. However, they were good students and they could learn it, and most of them were actuaries. As a matter of fact, when the actuarial students would take their examinations, I would meet with four or five or six of them the next day. I would sit down there and take notes. I'd say, "What about this problem?" They could reproduce the 50 questions in about an hour and a half. Now, this is not plagiarizing because I kept changing the density function and I changed the wording. That's when I started creating my list of questions, and I probably have them someplace around here: 700 or 800 questions. Some of them made their way into Hogg & Craig.

But it was that paper we gave, which was published in 1956, and some of this other background that went into Hogg & Craig.

Okay, I'm into the '60s. I'd better get going along here.

There were just the two of us at Iowa, Allen Craig and Bob Hogg, and I could see other departments of statistics were expanding, and I said, "Allen, we've got to move." He agreed, although I think he would have been happier just to have the two of us there until he retired to be absolutely truthful with you. But he agreed, and we added John Birch to the faculty, and we started the interdepartmental program in Statistics in which we could give degrees. And then in '65 we created the department.

There was a question of duplication with Ames on the Department of Statistics. They had a great Department of Statistics over there. Why did we need one at Iowa? And so they asked Ted Bancroft, who was the head of the department over there, and by the way a very loyal Iowa State guy. And Ted said, "I can't imagine a major research university without a Department of Statistics." And so that just shot down all the duplication things.

Incidentally, when we formed the interdepartmental committee, Leonard Feldt was helpful, Paul Blommers was in there, Dee Norton was there too. Dee was one of Lindquist's boys, and Dee actually ended up in the Psychology Department as a statistician for psychology. He even chaired it for years. Of course, he wasn't a psychologist. He was a statistician! But they put up with him. He must have done alright chairing the department for he did it for a number of years.

Anyhow we got the department in '65. There were five of us. Oh, Jim Hickman was now with us. Byron Cosby had left and Jim Hickman had got his master's degree in Actuarial Science, went to Banker's Life, which is now Principal, and then decided he wanted to come back and earn a PhD. So he came back in about '57 or '58, earned his PhD, as I remember, around '61 and '62.

Well, Cosby was leaving at that time and we had a head of the department, W.T. Reid. By the way, it was hard to get actuaries then, too. He said, "You know, we'd better hire Jim Hickman to be our actuary." And he was a great choice. He left us in the '70s sometime to go to Wisconsin because he wanted more involvement in the Business College and eventually became the Dean of the Business College up there in Wisconsin. Good PhD. Iowa had all those high-quality PhDs. Well, for the most part.

Tim Robertson was the hire in 1965 and was very helpful. By the way, Tim came from Missouri. So did I, as I'm from Missouri originally. And we had that handicap to overcome, didn't we? Well, you did. I did too, although I was from the educated part of Missouri.

Tim was so helpful; here he was young, just an assistant professor. Money was flowing back then. We had about three NDEAs - National Defense Education Act. By the way, this was after Sputnik. You want to make sure you put "Defense" in there. Tim had two of our NDEAs: Ed Wegman, Dick Dykstra (with Jon Cryer, I believe). And I worked with Doug Wolfe, and Doug had an NDEA too. But Tim took on both Ed and Dick. He was just an assistant professor. Allen was through doing this sort of thing, and I was busy. We'd started the department, and I had Doug in the wings. But Tim - with two good students - Tim saved us really. I don't know what we would have done with those students. Sent them over to Educational Statistics or someplace else. And so Robertson was very helpful.

We hired Jon Cryer in 1966. Fred Leone came on then as a senior applied statistician, but then he went on as the executive director of ASA. Tim Wright is in there someplace, and he was a great addition to the faculty. Ron Randles was another great addition to the faculty. Jim Broffitt in '70. George Woodworth started around then. George started our Statistical Consulting Center.

Jim Broffitt later recognized toward the later '70s that we were having trouble in Actuarial Science. Actually when Jim Hickman left, we were sort of staggering along. Lloyd was still here. But Jim came to me around '77 or '78, and he said to me, "If I took off a couple years and not do any research and studied the first five exams (the first five made you an associate), would you penalize me?" He did that. We needed an actuary so bad, I said, "I would treat you as if you had two good research years." I hope that I fulfilled that. I can't say what the other chairs did after me. Jim was very helpful. I remember he finished that (Associateship) in about '80.

In the '70s, Russ Lenth came. Hannes Ledolter also. John Ramburg had a joint appointment with Engineering. He was primarily with I.E., but he participated in our seminars. I can't name all of them.

Stuart Klugman was a great addition in Actuarial Science, and then he left for Drake. I'll go quickly with what the actuaries did. I made a couple bad appointments in Actuarial Science that I won't mention; so I'll skip over that.

Jim Broffitt was here and helped us, and then Stuart came along. Stuart left. Elias Shiu came along, and probably was our most famous appointment in Actuarial Science. Actually Bruce Jones came shortly after Elias. He was a good faculty member. He had a wife, Kelley McKeating. Kelley helped out with some administrative work and taught elementary courses. But the best thing she did, she organized Friday night beer parties. We had some fun then. As a matter of fact, I saw Joe Lang the other night and I said, "Remember, Joe, when you were dating Karen, Russ was dating Jane, and I was dating Ann. I was the spring of 1994, and we used to go to those Friday beer things." Tim and Joan [Robertson] were really regulars. Dykstra would show up every once in awhile. Of course, then we had some young guys who showed up, like Jens Praestgaard. He was a crazy man. But a good statistician. But the best example of an absent-minded professor that I ever knew was Jens.

And then Bruce left after about three years. And then Sheldon Lin came, and he was a great partner for Elias. And then he left. And so now we're sitting here with Elias and Jim. And Gordon Klein is helping out as a lecturer. We really need another good professor of Actuarial Science. And I stress GOOD.

I might trace the biostatistics activities now. Lloyd started it, and probably carried it along too long. Finally the Dean of the Medical College, a doctor named Bob Hardin - Bob was my personal physician, so I knew him - he called me over and said, "Hire me a statistician." And I made a couple attempts, even a Bayesian. I failed at that. But then Paul Leaverton came. Lloyd had been trying to carry all those courses during that time, and Paul was a good start on this sort of thing, but left shortly. Then Tony Lachenbruch came along, and he hired some statisticians. One of them was Skip Woolson. And when Tony left, Skip was chair of that group. And then he left a couple years ago, and then we were able to hire Kathryn.

After we got Kathryn [Chaloner] and Luke [Tierney] together, I saw Ingram Olkin shortly after that, and Ingram said, "Iowa did well hiring two senior people." That's hard to do. And so, Luke, we appreciate it. You can tell Kathryn that too.

By the way, I'm leaving out a lot of names of the biostatisticians. I think that I mentioned most of the Educational Measurement statisticians. Of course, Lindquist and Paul Blomers and Len Feldt, and then Dee Norton (well, he was in Psychology), H.D. and Bob Forsythe. I won't get into Tim and Steve. All these other guys are retiring. Young people are left, although I don't think Steve and Tim would probably say they're too young anymore.

By the way, there is another fellow over there, Bob Brenan, who is the Lindquist Chair and is a very good multivariate guy. And somehow or another I wish we had a little more connection with them. We should have had more connection with the biostat group. We're getting it. Jian has a joint appointment. George, Dale, Kate. Keep it going! I think that's a great connection.

Gosh, putting all of this together, we've got a pretty big statistics department. I think we ought to increase that relationship, I would say. I look at Jian and Kung-Sik. I won't try to name all you guys.

Dick, I hired you. Ralph Russo, I think you were the last one I hired.

But I look at this department, and I think, "Good gosh, this is a great gang of people." John Geweke is also a senior person. I just think we're really good. And I say, don't mess it up! Now, when I say that, I don't mean do things like Bob Hogg did in the '50s, '60s and '70s. That was all right for back then. But this is a new game. We got to keep modern. I always say that if I come back in the next life, I'm going to come back as a Bayesian and I'm going to make that computer hop!

I would say there's a little more to running the program than just teaching and research. Those two things are very important, and I would put them right at the top. However, you know, but sometimes you've got to schmooze and do things, even with Iowa State. Ted Bancroft and I turned out to be good friends, and we got along fine with Iowa State. You've got to do this.

One of the best things I ever did - it was brilliant! - I didn't know it was brilliant at the time... When Craig retired, I said I'm going to start an Allen Craig Scholarship Fund. I had at that time some stock that had appreciated pretty well. For that time it was quite a bit of money. And I talked my wife into putting it into the Allen Craig fund. He meant so much to me, and I wanted to do that. You know that we were a new department, and we didn't have rich alums. We were only five years old then. BUT I knew all those actuaries from the '60s and '50s and '40s. I wrote a letter to all those guys. (The Math Department never knew I did this.) But then I went back to those guys in Mathematics in the early '40s and even the '30s. With the first letter I sent out, I don't know how long it took me to sign those letters, for if I knew something personal about them, I'd write them a sentence or two. But even the guys I didn't know, I'd say, "I think maybe you had a course or two from Allen Craig. Maybe you'd like to contribute to this fund." And at that time when we had the Craig Fund, we also created a general department fund for Statistics AND Actuarial Science. We did have a small actuarial fund at that time as well. So we had these three funds. I figured, oh, we'd get $35,000 or so in each of them. And Jim's letter two years ago -- By the way, all you students will get one of these letters, and the faculty too... Now we don't expect you to contribute very much if you don't have it. But when you get into the chips, send a small percentage back, if you feel favorable to Iowa. Jim said in this letter two years ago that we had given $82,000 to students. That's scholarships, fellowships. Now if the actuaries take a test and pass it, we give them their fee back. Travel. And then, in addition, we were helping the faculty with some travel, some computer material and some entertainment. And you think about that. We spent over $100,000. You know that these funds are worth quite a bit. These funds have really been very useful. I didn't know how brilliant it was. It was just dumb luck because I like Allen Craig, and I wanted to have a Craig Scholarship Fund for him, to be absolutely honest with you.

I think I've sort of covered it. It was pretty fast, and that's why it's "On" the history, you understand.

I can simply say it's been a great ride. Really, when I mention going through those doors of the old Physics Building the first time, it really was a great day for me. And, I say, I hope for Iowa. I'm honored that I've been able to associate and work with all these people I mentioned. I didn't know Rietz. I just knew Sam Wilks a little bit. I met Harry Carver. I didn't know him well either. But most of these other people I knew pretty darn well. I knew all the presidents from Virgil Hancher and Howard Bowen to David Skorton. Most of them I liked. There was one I didn't like. The big, tall guy. I'm not going to say his name, but it's alright it didn't work out. I think David Skorton is going to be a good president. But the deans, not only the Liberal Arts dean (now of Arts and Sciences), but a lot of other deans around. A lot of schmoozing around there.

It was really an honor for me to know those people and to work with them. I feel very fortunate and, you know, I wouldn't even trade places with Warren Buffett.

I promised Tim I wouldn't sing, but I can say: Thanks for the memories. I've loved it from the start. Right back from those late '40s to early '50s, that was great, but now it's time to part. (My wife is sitting in the back there. I mentioned her in the beer section. And I'll take Annie out to our lovely home in Colorado.)

And so old Bob Hogg thanks you from the bottom of my heart. How lovely it was.


Transcribed by Tammy Siegel.

P.S. from R.V. Hogg:
It should be noted that this talk was given by Hogg, without using any notes, so he apologizes for omitting certain events and persons, one of whom was Mel Novick, a Bayesian with the Education gang. And I must thank Tammy for making some sense out of my ramblings, in addition to all the help she has given me over the years.

Historical timeline of the department

  • 1847

    The University of Iowa is founded.

  • 1902-03

    The first actuarial course, entitled "The Mathematical Theory of Insurance," is taught by Dr. Westfall. (Actuarial courses have been taught at Iowa every year since 1913.)

  • 1910

    Department of Mathematics offers "Least Squares and Statistics," the first statistics course at Iowa.

  • 1918

    Henry Lewis Rietz is appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics.

  • 1947

    Robert V. Hogg arrives at Iowa to study actuarial science.

  • 1965

    Department of Statistics is established.

  • 1965 – 1983

    Bob Hogg is named department chair.

  • 1981

    Actuarial Science major is established; department is renamed: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.

  • 1983 – 1986

    John Birch is named department chair.

  • 1986 – 1989

    Joe Sedransk is named department chair.

  • 1989 – 1992

    Dick Dykstra is named department chair

  • 1992 – 1993

    Bob Hogg is named department chair.

  • 1993 – 2004

    Jim Broffitt is named department chair.

  • 2004 – 2010

    Luke Tierney is named department chair.

  • 2009

    Designated by the Society of Actuaries as one of its 12 inaugural Centers of Actuarial Excellence.

  • 2010 – 2011

    Dale Zimmerman is named department chair.

  • 2011 – 2015

    Luke Tierney is named department chair.

  • 2014

    Renewal of designation as a Center of Actuarial Excellence. (Through December 2019)

  • 2015

    Semi-Centennial Symposium, April 24-25.

  • 2015 – 2019

    Joe Lang is named department chair.

  • 2018

    Data Science major is established.

  • 2019 – present

    Kung-Sik Chan is named department chair.

  • 2020

    Renewal of designation as a Center of Actuarial Excellence. (Through December 2024)

    75% of classes taught by Online and Hybrid teaching due to Covid-19

  • 2022

    MS in Data Science approved by the University of Iowa Board of Regents, classes will start in the fall of 2022.


    The SOA has granted us University-Earned Credit (UEC) status for four exams:
    FM (ACTS:3080), FAM (ACTS:4130 & 4150), ALTAM (ACTS:4280), and SRM (STAT:4560 & 4561). To obtain UEC credit for an exam, a student must score at least 85% in the corresponding university course(s). More information about SOA's UEC program can be found in https://www.soa.org/education/resources/uec/uec-program