The Department of Statistics has established the James R. Thompson Distinguished Lecture Series in Statistics to honor the life and contributions of Professor Jim Thompson. The goal of the series is to bring to campus internationally recognized scholars in the field of statistics to deliver talks to multidisciplinary audiences on topics of broad interest. The lecture series is supported by an endowed endowed fund through the generous contributions of family, friends and colleagues.
From the moment Jim Thompson arrived at Rice University in 1970, he had a powerful impact on Rice’s statistics and engineering students, faculty members and research endeavors. As the founding chair of the Department of Statistics he was an invaluable resource for his colleagues and played a vital role in advancing the department and the George R. Brown School of Engineering into a top-ranked program. As a researcher, he made pioneering contributions to our understanding of Statistical Model Building, Biomathematics, Quality Control and Computational Finance. He has performed ground breaking research in the AIDS epidemic and cancer modeling. In short, his first-rate contributions to education and research at Rice represent the best of who we are and how we strive to influence the world. He was a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Statistical Sciences, and the International Statistical Institute. He received the ASA's Don Owen Award in 1985 and the US Army's Samuel S. Wilks Medal in 1991. He authored or coauthored fourteen books.