April 23, 2010

Dr. Gary Koch enjoys a presentation at a dinner to honor him, held during the biostatistics department's 60th anniversary celebration.

Dr. Gary Koch enjoys a presentation at a dinner to honor him, held during the biostatistics department’s 60th anniversary celebration.

More than 300 alumni and friends of UNC’s biostatistics department came to Chapel Hill, N.C., on Oct. 12, 2009, to celebrate the department’s 60th anniversary.

A series of presentations illuminated the department’s distinguished history, and attendees from as far away as Brazil shared remembrances about their experiences in Chapel Hill. The multiple-day event was a happy mix of scholarship and friendship.

“A key theme that emerged in our celebrations and presentations was the invaluable role of the student-mentor relationship,” said Michael Kosorok, PhD, professor and chair in the department.

“We were all moved at how many of these relationships stay vibrant and alive, beyond campus walls and past graduation.”

A fitting emblem of that phenomenon, Kosorok said, is Gary Koch, PhD, whose Festschrift* was a highlight of the celebration. Colleagues and former students presented lectures and testimonials to honor the longtime professor’s achievements. A special issue of the journal Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research, to appear in late 2010 or 2011, will include scientific articles honoring Koch.

One of the celebratory events was a breakfast for Lawrence Kupper, PhD, Alumni Distinguished Professor of biostatistics, who retires in 2010 after 40 years on the UNC faculty.

The department was established in 1949, under the leadership of inaugural chair Bernard Greenberg, PhD. Greenberg chaired the department until he became dean of the UNC public health school in 1972.

A gallery of photographs from the event can be seen at sph.unc.edu/bios/biostatistics/.

To honor the department’s 60th anniversary, ensure its continued preeminence, and/ or honor a mentor, contact Stephen Couch, the School’s associate director of development, at (919) 966-0219 or stephen_couch@unc.edu. Ask about the Koch Scholars Program, Gary G. Koch Student Travel Funds, Global Scholar Funds and other giving opportunities.

– by Linda Kastleman

* A Festschrift is a volume of essays contributed by many authors to honor a colleague.

Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.

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