On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science (SAS) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Professor Mary Thompson as a faculty member in the department. Many current faculty and staff and a number of retired professors gathered in the SAS Lounge and celebrated Mary’s milestone with cake, coffee and fruits. The Vice-President, Research & International, of University of Waterloo, Professor Charmaine Dean, who was a PhD graduate from the department, sent a beautiful bouquet to congratulate Mary on this special occasion. A couple retired faculty members turned the clock back and told stories about Mary during the early days of the department. Mary thanked the department for being her academic home for the past 50 years, and told the younger generation of faculty members that SAS is a “can-do” place to fulfill their full potential and aspiration.
Mary joined the department in 1969 as one of the first group of statistics faculty members, when the department was still in its infancy (established in 1967). Over the past half a century, Mary has become a fixture of the department, a highly accomplished scholar, and a great inspiration and role model for many students and young faculty members. She has provided dedicated services to the statistical community at all levels, including chair of the department, acting dean of the faculty, first scientific director of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute, and president of the Statistical Society of Canada.