Current Programs

Current Named Lectures, with date created

  • Reitz (1947)
  • Wald (1957)
  • Neyman (1982)
  • Le Cam (2003)
  • Doob (2012) joint with Bernoulli Society
  • Schramm (2013) joint with Bernoulli Society
  • Blackwell (2014)
  • Wahba (2021)

Setting up a new IMS Lecture, Prize or Award


Any individual (member or non-member) may request to establish a named lecture, award, or prize (collectively referred to here as awards) honoring a deceased or living person. The honoree must be a past or current member of the IMS.

• The person should be held in high regard among the statistics or probability community (here and below, statistics and probability are to be interpreted in the broad sense, including data science) and viewed as a role model for others. A named award would carry on the traditions/ideals of that person, would honor their work and contributions to the field, and would allow award winners to continue this legacy.
• The individual should have had a pioneering or otherwise indelible influence on the development of statistics or probability. By naming the awards, we are honoring our history and continuing to educate future generations on the statisticians, probabilists, and data scientists who paved the way for them.
• The person’s contributions to statistics and/or probability should be broad in nature and be known to a range of IMS members. For example, one of the IMS’s longest ongoing lecture series recognizes Abraham Wald’s contributions to theoretical decision theory, applied work on estimation from WWII, and his development of sequential analysis which grew out of some of these applications.
• In only truly exceptional cases, the individual may be living. There should be good reason to name the award while the person is alive. In such cases, the long-term influence of an individual’s contributions may well be harder to establish and so the case should be particularly convincing.

Proposals and Decision Process

Stage 1: Anyone interested in establishing a named award to memorialize (or honor) an individual must have an initial discussion, held jointly with the IMS President and the Chair of the IMS Committee on Memorials, and receive approval to proceed. The purpose of this preliminary approval is to ensure that the potential name and purpose of the award is consistent with the IMS’s mission and core values. This process also ensures the donor or group pursuing the award understands the pros and cons of naming the award and the proposal process and evaluation criteria. If the President and Chair of the Committee on Memorials jointly decide not to proceed, the President then notifies the proposers.

Stage 2: If the decision is to proceed, the donor/group must submit a formal request in writing, including:
• Purpose of the award.
• Format of the award (lecture, award, and/or prize).
• Background on the person for whom the award will be named, including their contributions to the fields of probability and/or statistics.
• A funding proposal with the specification of the frequency of the award. Named lectures should be given at least every three years to maintain visibility in the community.
• At the time of the proposal, the donor/group must provide an alternate name – this would not be an individual’s name, but rather a descriptive name for the award; for example “Applied Probability” or “Machine Learning”. The nature of the alternative could vary, referring to an area of research, or age group, or something else. If evidence arises that triggers the IMS award renaming and if the IMS Council decides to change the name, the alternate name would receive full consideration from the IMS Council.

Stage 3: The IMS Committee on Memorials, in consultation with the IMS President and Treasurer, will evaluate the formal request and report their findings and recommendations to the Council.

Stage 4: The IMS Council will vote to approve or deny the request. The decision of the IMS Council will then be communicated to the proposers by the IMS President.

Review and Sunset

If a fund is depleted or reaches a level below the minimum required to generate sufficient earnings to support the designated disbursement, then the fund is dissolved and any established award may be discontinued at the discretion of the IMS Council. In addition, the IMS Council will conduct periodic reviews of the status of each of the awards to ensure that current guidelines and procedures are appropriate and consistent with the IMS mandate, as well as the donor’s original conditions, in the case of endowed awards. If the program is discontinued for any reason, then the remaining assets of the fund may be used to best serve the needs of the Institute while honoring as closely as possible the donor’s intent.