In Memoriam


Narayan BhatU. Narayan Bhat (1933-2021) 

Dr. Bhat served SMU for 38 years, beginning in June 1969 as associate professor, Statistical Science and Operations Research in Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. He was promoted to full Professor in 1971 and served as department chair in multiple academic areas. Dr. Bhat’s administrative roles include associate dean of the School of Engineering, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, Acting Dean and Dean ad interim, Dedman College, and Dean of Research and Graduate Studies. Dr. Bhat authored“Elements of Applied Stochastic Processes”(1972), second edition (1984) and the third edition (2002) which was used for many years as a textbook here for our graduate students in stochastic processes class. He retired in June 2007 as Professor Emeritus of Statistical Science and Operations Research.

Henry Gray

Henry L. "Buddy" Gray, Ph.D. 

Henry L. “Buddy” Gray (1936–2020) held the Frensley Endowed Chair of Mathematical Sciences at SMU from 1973 until his retirement in 2006. During his years at SMU he also served as Associate Dean (1980–1988), Dean ad interim (1988–1989), and Dean of Dedman College and Vice Provost (1989–1991).

Although Buddy was a visionary administrator, his real loves were research and teaching. He was known internationally for his work in time series analysis and the application of mathematical and statistical techniques to real-world problems. He published more than 80 journal articles and three books. He directed over 30 doctoral dissertations and earned grants from DARPA, the Department of Energy, and NASA.

Buddy was an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association. He received the SMU Sigma Xi Research Award, the Donald B. Owen Award for service to the statistical profession, the Phi Beta Kappa Laurence Perrine Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Career Achievement from Texas Tech. 

ch kapadiaDr. C.H. Kapadia

Dr. Kapadia served SMU for 38 years, beginning in June 1963 as Assistant Professor, Statistics Department at Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences.  In 1965, he became Associate Professor, Full Professor in 1980, served as Chair Ad Interim of the department in 1996, and retired in May 2001 as Professor Emeritus of Statistical Science.


Carol Etzel photo

Carol Etzel

Carol Etzel passed away on August 19, 2022 at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer.

She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Ph.D. in Statistics in 1999 and was also an alumnus of Baylor University where she received her Master’s Degree. She began her career at M.D. Anderson, Department of Epidemiology and went on to CorEvitas (formerly Corrona), BioPharma Registry Data in Boston.

She was a woman who encouraged others and fought for the underdog. She should have been a stand-up comedian. She had many, many friends at every institution and employer she was at.

She will be deeply missed by her family, friends and co-workers.

ranil samaratunga

Ranil Samaratunga

Ranil Samaratunga (1972 - 2017) was a native of Sri Lanka. Ranil received his Ph.D. in December 2015 from the Department of Statistical Science at SMU under the direction of Professor Cornelis Potgieter. He came to SMU in 2010 after receiving a Master's degree from Sam Houston State in Hunstville, TX.  His dissertation  "Two New Methods for Estimating the Stability Index of a Stable Distribution," was the first directed by Dr. Potgieter.

Ranil was the husband of Melani Abeyakoon, and the proud father of their two beautiful children. He was a brave and gentle person who will be greatly missed.


jim hess

Jim Hess

Jim Hess (1951 - 2017) of  Carthage Mo., received his B.S. degree in mathematics at University of Missouri, Rolla, and his masters and PhD from the Department of Statistical Science at SMU. After graduating, Jim taught statistics at Kansas State University, was a statistician for E.I. Dupont Co. for 15 years, then moved his family back to Carthage, where he worked for Leggett & Platt for 17 years, retiring in 2012. He volunteered to spend a year with us to revitalize our Consulting Center pro bono. He spent the 2015 calendar year in the department.  The experience he brought to both the Center and to our students through his lectures and mentoring were invaluable.

Jim is survived by his wife Sue, three sons and a daughter, and eight grandchildren.  


ke weng

Ke Wang

Ke Wang (1978 – 2019) was a native of mainland China. Ke received his Ph.D. in 2012 from the Department of Statistical Science at SMU under the direction of Profession Sherry Wang. His dissertation work, titled “Estimating Cumulative Distribution Functions from JPS Data with Empty Strata and Analyzing High-Throughput Data via Hierarchical Bayesian Spatial Modeling”, led to a publication in Biometrics with Prof. Wang, exhibiting a high-level academic achievement and passion in Statistics. Ke is remembered by his SMU friends for his selfless and dedicated efforts on always helping his classmates succeed in their graduate studies. Ke was the husband of Fang Duan, and the proud father of their son. He was kind, athletic, full of energy, and lived his life with infectious passion. He will be greatly missed.