Román Viveros-Aguilera, Distinguished Service Award 2012

Román Viveros-Aguilera
Distinguished Service Award

Román Viveros-Aguilera, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University, is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. The announcement was made at the opening of the Society's Annual Meeting held in Guelph, ON, June 3-6, 2012. The award recognizes a member of the SSC who has made substantial contributions to the running or welfare of the SSC over a period of several years. It rewards devotion and service to statistics in Canada as shown by exceptional service to the SSC.

Born in rural Mexico in a hamlet around the Gulf area, Román studied mathematics at Universidad Veracruzana (BMath) in his native state of Veracruz and at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (MSc) in Mexico City. He then came to Canada where he earned a PhD in statistics at the University of Waterloo. His thesis, written under the supervision of David Sprott, received the Pierre Robillard Award. After his PhD studies, Román held an academic position at the Faculty of Computer Science at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico) and a three-year academic appointment in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at University of Waterloo. Since 1990, Román has been affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University.

Román's first SSC conference was the 1984 Annual Meeting held at University of Guelph when he was a graduate student. He has been a regular member since 1990. Over the intervening years, Román has served in a variety of SSC committees, chairing many of them, including Elections, Membership, Awards, Pierre Robillard Award, Education, Statistics Chairs, Publications, Program, and an Ad-hoc Committee on Priorities. He has also served as SSC Local Representative at McMaster and to the Canadian Mathematical Society. For the 1996 JSM held in Chicago, Román represented the SSC in the Program Organizing Committee. He was elected to represent Ontario in the Board of Directors of the Society for two consecutive terms. Currently he serves for the SSC in the COPSS Awards Committee.

A number of other roles and duties have occupied Román's time in the SSC. In 2000, he co-founded (with Bovas Abraham from the University of Waterloo) the Business and Industrial Statistics Section of the SSC, and served as its founding Secretary for four years. He later served as the Section's President. Román has also served as Editor of Liaison, the newsletter of the Society, for the period 2000-2004 and co-editor (with Angelo Canty from McMaster University) during June-December 2007. He has been an Associate Editor of Liaison since 2008. Jointly with Angelo Canty, Román negotiated the agreement with Wiley for the publication of The Canadian Journal of Statistics. He was the organizer for the Canadian side of the 1st Canada-Mexico Statistics Meeting held at the Center for Research in Mathematics in Guanajuato, Mexico in February 2008. In 2007 Román was elected President of the SSC, serving as President-Elect (2007-2008), President (2008-2009) and Past-President (2009-2010).

On the research front, Román has spent time studying statistical methods for small samples and their applications to survival and reliability studies. In recent years, his focus has been on industrial statistics methods. His research articles have appeared in The Canadian Journal of Statistics, Technometrics, Journal of Chemometrics, Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, Statistics in Medicine, and Journal of Quality Technology, among other journals.

Teaching statistics and mentoring graduate students have received high priority in his career. He is an enthusiastic teacher of statistics. Román received the McMaster Student Union Teaching Award for Arts and Science in 2005. Over the years, Román has supervised over 20 Master and two PhD students in statistics. He served as Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Statistics at McMaster for over three years.

Román has been married to Carolyn for 22 years. They met at the University of Waterloo when they were graduate students. They have twin sons, Dominic and Michael, who recently began their university studies, and a dog. Román enjoys squash, golf (with limited success), walking and card games. He treasures the many family escapes to the small lakes and forests of Ontario.

Asked about his SSC experience, he says, "The SSC's ultimate strength is its volunteers. They keep the SSC oiled and running in ways I have not seen in other societies. It is not just the willingness to help but the strong commitment to get things done. I was struck by the large number of SSC members involved. It is almost magic to see how the planning of an annual meeting begins, with an amorphous one-page sketch, evolving step by step, and culminating in a professional performance in early June, time and again.''

The citation for the award reads: 

Román received the 2012 SSC Distinguished Service Award "for his long and exceptionally devoted services to the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) and its Business and Industrial Statistics Section (BISS), notably as President of the SSC, President and Founding Secretary of BISS, and Editor of Liaison."