Statistics professor Geoffrey Vining awarded Shewhart Medal
April 11, 2011
G. Geoffrey Vining, professor of statistics in the College of Science has been awarded the Shewhart Medal from the American Society for Quality.
The medal is the highest award for technical leadership in the field of quality control. It is presented annually to an individual who has made the most outstanding contributions to the science and techniques of quality control or who has demonstrated leadership in the field of modern quality control.
“I am both humbled and honored to receive this award,” Vining said. “The list of past winners is extremely distinguished, filled with people who truly made significant contributions to the improvement of industrial quality, productivity, and reliability.”
“The award recognizes the exceptional contributions Geoff has made in industrial experimental design for the past 20 years,” said Eric Smith, professor and department head. “It also shows that Virginia Tech continues to be a leader in the area of industrial statistics.”
Vining’s research areas include experimental design and analysis for quality improvement, response surface methodology, and statistical process control. He has won numerous professional awards, authored and co-authored several books, and has been editor of the Journal of Quality Technology. He served as department head and in 1990, received the Brumbaugh Award for the most influential paper published in an American Society for Quality Journal. He received his Ph.D. in 1988 and returned to the university in 1999 as head of the statistics department.
Vining is the fifth Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Statistics to have won this prestigious award. The other four are: Emeritus Professor Ray Myers and Bill Woodall, professor of statistics, both from Virginia Tech; Emeritus Professor John Cornell from the University of Florida; and Doug Montgomery, Regents Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Arizona State University.
Myers, who joined the department as an assistant professor in 1962, advised and mentored all four of the other Shewhart winners from the department.
By the time he retired in 1995, Myers had directed the research of 42 Ph.D. students, was a well-published researcher, authoring or co-authoring numerous books and journal articles, and was a popular teacher, winning the Wine Award for Teaching Excellence in 1980 and Virginia Professor of the Year in 1985. Recently, Myers endowed a fellowship award for worthy students in the department. Liaosa Xu, of Lhasa, China, a Ph.D. student, was the first recipient.
“Ray is the best lecturer I have ever known,” Woodall said. “I think many of his students would consider him to be the best teacher they ever had.”
In fact, former student Angela N. Patterson, now with GE Global Research, published “A Conversation with Ray Myers” in the journal Quality Engineering last year.
“Working with Ray when I was a student gave me a solid foundation in the industrial applications of statistics,” Vining said. “He was one of the first people I called to thank when I learned I had received the award.”