H. O. Hartley Award

The H. O. Hartley award is given annually to a former student of the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University for distinguished service to the discipline of Statistics. The award is in honor of Professor H. O. Hartley who founded the Institute of Statistics in 1963. Hartley was a pioneer and leader in the development of the theory and real world applications of statistics. He was also an avid proponent of good statistical practices who, through his teaching, lectures and national/international service, significantly advanced the understanding and use of statistics across myriad other disciplines. A brief summary of Professor Hartley’s career is described below, and a partial list of his publications appears here. Thus, the intent of the Hartley award is to provide recognition to former students that reflect the Hartley tradition of outstanding service to the discipline in the broadest sense.

The award was presented for the first time in 1980. Nominations are solicited each spring and the recipient is announced at the Aggie Reunion, which is held at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings. The Selection Committee members are the Associate Department Head and the four most recent  recipients of the Hartley Award.  Please submit nominations and supporting documentation by March 16 to Dr. Samiran Sinha, Department of Statistics, MS 3143 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3143, or by email to elaine@stat.tamu.edu.

Previous H. O. Hartley Award Recipients
1980 James H. Matis  1995 Jane M. Booker  2010 James Hardin
1981 James E. Gentle  1996 Douglas M. Scott  2011 Eileen King
1982 William B. Smith  1997 J. Richard Alldredge  2012 Hua Liang
1983 Ralph L. Kodell  1998 Kathy Ensor  2013 Jerry L. Oglesby
1984 Michael H. Kutner  1999 F. Michael Speed  2014 Jane Harvill
1985 Lyle D. Broemeling  2000 Patricia Smith  2015 Yongtao Guan
1986 Lynn R. LaMotte  2001 Dennis King  2016 Scott H. Holan
 1987 Richard K. Burdick  2002 Ching-Yun Wang  2017 Marcella Moore Johnson
 1988 Randall L. Eubank  2003 Ersen Arseven 2018 Veerabhadran Baladandayuthapani
 1989 James M. Lucas  2004 Lee H. Smith 2019 Yehua Li
 1990 Paul P. Biemer  2005 Scott Grimshaw 2020 Bo Li
 1991 Roger C. Pfaffenberger  2006 Essam Al-Hussaini 2021 No recipient named
 1992 Vincent N. LaRiccia  2007 Shane Reese 2022 Kristin P. Lennox
 1993 Larry J. Ringer  2008 Todd Ogden 2023 Eun Sug Park
 1994 William J. Wilson  2009 Jeff Morris








Herman Otto Hartley (1912-1980)


Herman Otto Hartley (HOH) was born Hermann Otto Hirschfeld in Berlin, Germany in 1912. While short in stature (5’ 1’’), Hartley stands tall professionally being widely recognized as one of the most prominent and influential statisticians of the twentieth century. He was affectionately known and referred to as HOH throughout his illustrious career. In 1934, shortly after completing his Ph.D. in mathematics from Berlin University, Hartley migrated to England to launch the start up of his highly productive career in many branches of statistics. For example, an early highly regarded and frequently cited Hartley paper in contingency table analysis provided the mathematical basis for the widely used multivariate technique called “correspondence analysis” (Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1935). He did post-graduate work under John Wishart at Cambridge (1934-36) where he earned a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics in 1940. He also obtained a D.Sc. in mathematical statistics from the University of London. During the period 1936-38, he took a post as statistician with Harper Adams Agricultural College, Newport Shropshire, England, where he met and married Grace. At Adams he designed and analyzed poultry experiments at three Agricultural Experiment Stations. He lectured agriculture students and also published seven manuscripts that clearly exhibited his cleverness and innovative use of numerical techniques.

Prior to and during World War II (1938-1946), Hartley was heavily involved working as a Scientific Researcher with Scientific Computing Services, London, and with L.J. Comrie, a famous computer scientist. Much of his work during WWII involved wartime surveys and military applications.

Hartley’s first academic appointment after WWII began as lecturer in statistics at University College, London, where he became a close colleague of Egon Pearson. This collegial relationship led to the famous Pearson and Hartley two-volume series Biometrika Tables for Statisticians published in 1954 and 1972, respectively. He also developed Hartley’s F-max test for equality of variances (Biometrika, 1950). He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics shortly after a brief association with S.S.Wilks at Princeton University in 1948-49.

In 1953, Hartley took a one year visiting Research Professorship position at Iowa State College. From 1954-63, Hartley remained at Iowa State as Professor of Statistics with a research emphasis in sample survey theory and methods as well as statistical computing. He was initially involved in scientific computing consultation for members of the entire Iowa State College and was available for statistical consultation as well. Hartley was instrumental in growing the stature and ranking of the Department of Statistics at Iowa State during this period. In fact, Hartley was the inventor of EM algorithm (Biometrics, 1958) and the EM algorithm is now one of the most widely used estimation methods. He was elected as Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 1953 and was elected President of the Eastern North American Region of the Biometric Society in 1959. He also was an elected member of the International Statistics Institute.

Hartley left Iowa State in September 1963 to become distinguished professor and inaugural Director and founder of Texas A&M University’s Institute of Statistics. While at Texas A&M, he grew the Institute by hiring highly acclaimed statistical faculty members including two of his Iowa State doctoral students J.N.K. Rao and Ron Hocking. He published prolifically in top-tiered journals during his tenure at Texas A&M. Major research efforts included work in sample survey design for which he was highly regarded, in addition to mathematical optimization, estimation with incomplete data, variance component estimation and the development of designed experiments to estimate safe doses of carcinogenic agents.

While at Texas A&M, Hartley and J. N. K. Rao published a highly acclaimed manuscript using a maximum likelihood method for finding variance components in linear mixed models (Biometrika, 1967). They also developed a new estimation theory for sample surveys (Biometrika, 1968) that provided one of the earliest nonparametric arguments in what may be the very first maximum empirical likelihood estimator. Additionally, Hartley and R.R Hocking published a seminal manuscript on the analysis of incomplete data (Biometrics, 1971).  Hartley served as President of ASA in 1979 and was recognized and honored many times during his career that included winning the prestigious S.S. Wilks Medal in 1973.

After his mandatory retirement as Director of Texas A&M’s Institute of Statistics in 1977, Hartley remained active at A&M until 1979, when he took a full-time visiting professorship position at Duke University until his death in December of 1980 after undergoing heart surgery.

His legacy at Texas A&M is still unfolding with an annual Hartley Award given to a former Aggie Department of Statistics alumnus for distinguished service to the profession and a biannual lecture series named in his honor.

-Author: Michael Kutner, Ph.D (1971); Hartley Award Recipient (1984)


Primary documents utilized herein include:

Smith, William B. (1981). In Memoriam: Herman Otto Hartley (1912–1980). The American Statistician, 35(3): 142-143.

Smith, William B. (2005). Statistical Careers in History: Herman Otto Hartley.  Amstat News, Sept.:10-11.