It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to respected colleague, mentor and friend, Rick White, who passed away on September 2, 2016.
In honour of Rick's work and impact, the Statistics Department has established The Rick White Memorial Fund. The fund will commemorate Rick’s long-time contributions to the Statistics Department and his dedication to applied statistics, collaborative research and the profession of statistical consulting. Funds will support a variety of activities, including stipends and workshops for students, conference travel, special lectures and the Rick White Award.
Learn how you can support Rick's memory. The Statistics Department will match all gifts up to a total of $5,000, meaning your gift could mean double for our students.
A two-time UBC alumnus, Rick received his Bachelor of Science with a major in Mathematics in 1990 and his Master of Science in Statistics in 1992. He began his career assisting Professor John Petkau as a consultant for the Statistical Consulting and Research Laboratory, eventually moving up to the role of Managing Director of what is now the Department’s Applied Statistics and Data Science Group. Rick was a true data scientist, long before the term became widely known. He provided statistical support and training to many, furthering the goals of researchers and administrators both within and outside the Statistics Department. He was an enthusiastic leader, known for his “weird and warped” sense of humour, his big heart and his generous nature. His statistical expertise helped many investigators use their data effectively, to reach their goals. His mentorship and training helped many students on their career paths.
You can see Rick in the photo on the far right, in a white shirt. The photo is of the April 2016 STAT 450 Case Studies poster session. Rick worked with the teams of undergraduate students in STAT 450, who had the chance to help members of the UBC community answer their questions using data. In fact, with Rick's mentorship, one of the teams went on to win an award in the 2016 Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition of the American Statistical Association and the Consortium for Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education. The title of their work was "Analysis of Factors Affecting Resignations of University Employees" and the students were Grace Hsu, Geoff Roeder & Andrew Lee.