DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS
The University of Michigan was among the first American universities to offer academic programs in mathematical statistics, but among the last major universities to establish a separate Department of Statistics. The Mathematics Department offered graduate programs in probability and mathematical statistics through the late 1960s and continues presently with programs in probability. The Department of Statistics came into formal existence in the fall of 1969 with William A. Ericson as Acting Chairman and with quarters in Mason Hall. The period of 1969-76 was one of growth and development. The number of active graduate students increased from 5 to 40 and course enrollments virtually doubled. During the period, 13 students earned doctorates in statistics and approximately 50 earned master's degrees. Highly successful courses in applied statistics were introduced, and joint master's degree programs were established with the departments of Economics, Sociology, and Psychology.
Page 227The 1976 year was one of crisis for the department. In 1973-74 the College began an overall evaluation of departments and programs. During early summer 1976 this department was evaluated by a distinguished panel of statisticians: David Blackwell (Berkeley), Herman Chernoff (MIT), and Frederick Mosteller (Harvard). They found the department to be generally healthy and made several specific recommendations. The morale of the faculty was raised considerably when the College endorsed the major recommendations of the Blackwell-Chernoff-Mosteller report. A Statistics Instruction Committee was established in fall of 1976.
On the expiration of W. A. Ericson's second term as chairman in 1977, Michael B. Woodroofe assumed that post.