Department History

University Hall: early home to the Department of Statistics The roots of the Department of Statistics at The Ohio State University began to form with the 1962 appointment of Arnold Ross as Chair of the Department of Mathematics and D. Ransom Whitney’s interim service as Acting Chair for the year prior to Ross’ formal arrival at Ohio State in 1963. Jagdish Rustagi was added to the Mathematics faculty in 1963 to help develop an interdisciplinary graduate program in Biostatistics.


The Statistics Laboratory (precursor to our current Statistical Consulting Service) was also actively involved in statistical consultation across campus under Whitney’s leadership. Based heavily on the reputation of the Statistics Laboratory, Ross agreed in 1970 to the creation of the Division of Statistics within the Department of Mathematics, complete with its own independent budget, and Whitney was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Division. The next three years saw extensive growth in the fledgling program, including the hiring of six additional faculty members (Tad Archambault, Ed Dudewicz, Keith Eberhardt, Ramesh Srivastava, Tom Willke, and Doug Wolfe).


IBM Punch Card Reader: an example of early computing technology in Statistics.The Department of Statistics was formally established in 1974 with these eight initial faculty members, chaired by Whitney, and a small number of graduate students enrolled in its M.S. and Ph.D. program in Statistics. The tagged Master of Applied Statistics (MAS) degree was added as part of the graduate program with its approval in 1978. Under the guidance of four subsequent chairpersons (Jagdish Rustagi, Prem Goel, Tom Santner, and Doug Wolfe), the Department of Statistics has steadily grown over the years in both size and academic reputation to its current makeup of 27 faculty members (plus two partial joint faculty appointments and three full time Auxiliary faculty appointments) and more than 125 graduate students.