We are saddened to hear about the passing of Constance van Eeden on 21 September 2021. She was an honorary member of our society and was one of the pivotal Dutch statisticians with a career spanning over half a century.
Professor Van Eeden was born in Delft in 1927. She earned her PhD-degree in 1958 in Amsterdam, working at CWI with David van Dantzig and Jan Hemelrijk. She was the first woman in the Netherlands who obtained a PhD-degree in statistics and would remain the only one until 29 years later.
After graduation she moved to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and worked at the University of Minnesota and the Université de Montréal until her retirement in 1989. There, she played a major role in the development of statistics in the French speaking part of Canada.
Her research focused on nonparametric statistics and decision theory. The textbook ‘A nonparametric introduction to statistics’, written together with her husband Charles Kraft, has been the first introduction to nonparametrics for many statisticians for decades since it came out in 1968.
In 2013 she became an honorary member of the VVSOR. Other honours include being a fellow of the American Statistical Assocation and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. She has received the Henri Willem Methorst medal from the International Statistical Institute in 1999 and the Gold Medal of the Statistical Society of Canada, where she also was an honorary member. In her honour, CWI will establish the Constance van Eeden PhD Fellowship for talentfull female scientists.
After her retirement she returned to the Netherlands. Despite her high age, she remained a regular visitor of our society’s annual meetings. We will remember Constance van Eeden as a warm and kind colleague and grateful for her many contributions to statistical science.
Header picture: Constance van Eeden in 2011.
Photo: Peter Macdonald.