It is with mixed emotions that I write to say farewell as head of the Department of Statistics. I will be stepping down effective July 1, 2016, to become dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as department head and provide leadership to the extraordinary group of faculty, staff and students in our program.
Eighteen years ago, I accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at NC State because I was offered the opportunity to work across disciplines. At the time, it wasn’t universally accepted for a statistics department to support interdisciplinary research and I am proud to say that our department was a pioneer in this important direction. Our department has continued to grow over the years and it has given me support from the very beginning to grow and develop with it. I have thrived in our department as a researcher, teacher and mentor, as well as an administrator. I have received excellent mentorship from our provost and executive vice chancellor, Warwick Arden, who was the commencement speaker at our graduation this year. Countless other mentors and individuals have made a huge impact on my academic career over the years at NC State. I have also had the pleasure of mentoring undergraduates, Ph.D. students, and postdoctoral students in the department. All of these experiences have brought me to where I am as department head and Goodnight Distinguished Professor, positions that I am honored to hold.
Reflecting on my time in the department, the best word that I believe sums it up is “family.” The department has been a wonderful home. We have completed our most recent faculty search and are welcoming three new faculty hires to our departmental family. Five more faculty positions will open next year, including my position. I want to assure our current and future faculty and staff that our department will be in great hands. There are opportunities to build your career in the department as I have done. To the students, I want to tell you that I am proud of you. You are the future and, given the talent in our department, our future is bright! To the alumni, I want to tell you thank you for your continued support of our department.
Please accept my thanks and gratitude for 18 years of being a member of this wonderful departmental family. I am confident about the future of the department and look forward to watching it grow and excel.