Ingram Olkin (1924-2016)

Ingram Olkin died in Palo Alto California on April 28, at the age of 91. Professor Olkin was on the faculty at Stanford University since 1961, most recently as a Professor Emeritus of Statistics and Education.

He previously served as a chair of the Statistics Department. Olkin made many invaluable contributions in multivariate statistics, distribution theory, inequalities, and of course meta-analysis. He was a co-author with Larry Hedges in 1985 of the classic book entitled “Statistical Methods for Meta-analysis” a must read for any serious student of meta-analysis.

Olkin received many awards and recognitions during his distinguish career. Among many distinctions, he was named a fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the American Educational Research Association. He was the recipient of the Frederick Mosteller Award for Distinctive Contributions to Systematic Reviewing from the Campbell Collaboration, and was also the first recipient of the Ingram Olkin award, the award for distinguished lifetime achievement in research synthesis methodology of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology (SRSM). 

Professor Olkin was without a doubt an influential and charismatic individual. He co-founded journals such as Statistical Science and The Journal of Educational Statistics (currently Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics). He was recognised with the Elizabeth L. Scott Award for his commitment to supporting women in statistics.

A recent interview in AMSTAT news entitled “Ingram Olkin: Mentor of Many” noted that “in some capacity, Ingram has mentored many of today’s statisticians—possibly more than many other statisticians”.

The Mathematics Genealogy Project currently list more than 200 Ingram Olkin descendants. Ingram valued very much his collaboration with colleagues and students, and he was actively involved in developing new methods for meta-analysis until his last days. Without a doubt we will miss him.

Ariel M. Aloe
Educational Measurement & Statistics
The University of Iowa
Co-Chair Campbell Methods Coordinating Group

Photo image: Stanford University

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