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In Memoriam

Mir Maswood Ali (1929-2009)

Mir Maswood Ali, 80, Professor of Statistics Emeritus, University of Western Ontario and a brilliant statistician of Bangladeshi origin, died 18th August 2009 in London, Ontario, Canada, due to pulmonary complications. It is my great honor and privilege to write this obituary for my elder brother who was very dear to me and who had a tremendous influence on my career.

Ali received his B.Sc. degree in Mathematics in 1948 and his M. Sc. degree in Statistics in 1950 both from the University of Dhaka. He belonged to the first batch of graduate students in statistics and had obtained a first class degree and secured the highest mark for which he was awarded a gold medal. He served as Lecturer in the Department of Statistics at Dhaka University from 1950 to 1952. He then worked from 1952 to 1957 as an Actuarial Assistant at Norwich Union Life and Canada Life. In 1958, he obtained a second Master’s degree in Actuarial Science at the University of Michigan and worked there as a Teaching Fellow until 1959. He then went to the University of Toronto where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Statistics in 1961 under the supervision of Don Fraser after merely two years of studies. He then joined the Mathematics Department at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in London, Ontario, Canada as Assistant Professor in 1961. He was the first faculty member in statistics in the Department and was quickly promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1963 and to full Professor in 1966; he remained there until his retirement in 1994 when he was named Professor Emeritus. Ali had developed the graduate and undergraduate programs in statistics in his Department and he was instrumental in the creation of a separate Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences at UWO. He supervised 15 Ph.D. students, a number of whom are now well-known statisticians, and 40 Master’s theses. He published in leading statistical journals such as the Mrs. Margaret de Ruiter-Molloy ISI Newsletter - Volume 33, Number 3 (99) 2009 9 Annals of Mathematical Statistics, the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, the Journal of Multivariate Analysis, the Pacific Journal of Mathematics, and Biometrika, to name a few. His research interests encompass many areas of Statistics and Mathematics, including order statistics, distribution theory, characterizations, spherically symmetric and elliptically contoured distributions, multivariate statistics, and ndimensional geometry and his two highly rated papers are in geometry, which appeared in the Pacific Journal of Mathematics. He was a man of strong principles.

He was also a very decent and humble man who never sought recognition for anything that he did or achieved. He was a dedicated family man and he devoted a lot of his time to his family. He left behind his loving wife of 47 years Surayia, and eight grown children, Rayhan, Yasmin, Selina, Sharmeene, Sadek, Nasreen, Ayesha, and Adnan, and seven grandchildren. His youngest daughter Ayesha followed her father’s footsteps and now teaches Statistics at the University of Guelph in Canada. It was due to my elder brother’s influence that I got into statistics as a student in 1953. He was a great mentor, a great teacher and a friend, and he was all that I wanted to be in life. I will miss him dearly. In loving memory of my brother,

Mir Masoom Ali
George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Statistics
Ball State University



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