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Albert H. Bowker

photo of Al Bowker

Al Bowker is one of the founding fathers of the Department of Statistics at Stanford. After an undergraduate career at MIT and work with the renowned Statistical Analysis Group at Columbia University, he arrived at Stanford in 1947. His remarkable skill in program building was immediately demonstrated when, after playing the leading role in our department's creation, he became its inaugural chair in 1948 before completing his own PhD.

Bowker’s administrative genius was to recognize that statistics research alone would not be able to sustain a large department. By generating liaisons with other departments in the form of joint appointments, he created a template that would ensure the new Statistics Department a greater impact within the University as well as an ability to carry out its research agenda in multiple substantive fields. Bowker soon was involved in the founding of the Department of Operations Research, the Department of Computer Science, and the establishment of both the Stanford Linear Accelerator and the Stanford Hospital. He continued to chair the Department of Statistics until 1959, when he became Dean of the Graduate Division, a post he held until his departure from Stanford in 1963 when he was appointed chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY).