Kruskal, William H(enry) 1919–2005

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Kruskal, William H(enry) 1919–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 10, 1919, in New York, NY; died of pneumonia April 21, 2005, in Chicago, IL. Statistician, educator, and author. Kruskal was a retired University of Chicago professor and nationally respected statistician who led the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics during its formative years in the 1970s. A Harvard University alumnus, he completed his B.S. with high honors in 1940, followed by a master's degree in 1941. During World War II, he was a mathematician for the U.S. Naval Proving Ground and a lieutenant junior grade in the Naval Reserve from 1944 to 1946. He then attended Columbia University to complete his doctorate in 1955. After serving as a partner and vice president in his own company, Kruskal & Kruskal, for two years, he entered academia as a mathematics lecturer at Columbia University. In 1950 he joined the University of Chicago faculty, where he became a full professor of statistics in 1962 and Ernest De Witt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in 1973. He also served as dean of the Division of Social Sciences from 1974 to 1979 and 1980 to 1984, and chair of his department from 1966 to 1973. Kruskal ultimately retired in 1990. While he was an accomplished educator, many of his colleagues considered Kruskal's legacy to be his work with the Committee on National Statistics. He was invited by President Richard M. Nixon to join the Commission on Federal Statistics in 1970, and was its chair from 1971 to 1978. There he was credited with creating a framework of guidelines and standards that helped federal agencies gather and accurately analyze data, taking into account all possible factors for error. Thus, his committee helped create a vast data source of reliable information that was used to formulate public policy in a wide range of areas. Kruskal also wrote many articles for professional journals and was a member of journal editorial boards. He was the editor of Mathematical Sciences and Social Sciences (1970) and coauthor of Measures of Association for Cross Classifications (1979).



Chicago Tribune, April 28, 2005, section 3, p. 11.


University of Chicago News Office Web site, 27, 2005).

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Kruskal, William H(enry) 1919–2005

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