Washington Statistical Society on Meetup

Morris Hansen Lectures

The Morris Hansen Lecture series was established by the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) in 1990 with a financial grant from Westat, Inc. It was set up to honor Morris Hansen, whose pioneering contributions to survey sampling and related statistical methods during his long and distinguished career at the Census Bureau and at Westat established many standards and methods, mostly still in use, for the conduct of surveys. In 1996 Westat made an additional financial contribution to WSS so that the Hansen Lecture series could continue.

The Morris Hansen Lecture is held in the fall of the year, typically October or November. The usual format is to have a primary speaker of outstanding merit cover an important topic of wide interest, and two discussants, one local. The Hansen Lecture series seeks to achieve balance between theory, applications, and policy; and to highlight the diversity of disciplines that inform survey practice.

2014 Hansen Lecture: Danny Pfefferman, John Czajka, Larry Brown, John Eltinge

The first lecture was held at the National Academy of Sciences and was co-sponsored by the Committee on National Statistics, with tentative plans to rotate the series, and co-sponsorship, among various government agencies. However, when arrangements worked very well in year two, the National Agricultural Statistics Service became a co-sponsor, and it has hosted sessions at USDA's Jefferson Auditorium and Whitten Building Patio ever since. Typically, the Hansen Lecture is held at 3:30 p.m. and is followed by a catered reception. The speaker receives an honorarium of $1000. Expenses are paid for the speaker and discussants.

Annual Lectures

Topics and speakers for the Hansen lectures have covered an appropriately broad range of statistical applications. Some presentations specifically focused on review and extension of Morris's work. Others represented topics that Morris likely would have pursued, either through his own efforts or by asking questions. Most presentations have been by traditional lecturers with discussants. In 2002, a 3-person panel spoke on Privacy and Confidentiality.

Most lectures have been published. The first five lectures were published in the International Statistical Review. The majority of the subsequent lectures have been published in the Journal of Official Statistics, but several of the lectures have been published elsewhere. Abstracts for each lecture can be obtained via the appropriate link below.

Year Award Lecture
2016 Nancy Bates, U.S. Census Bureau Hard-to-Survey Populations and the U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Professor Steve Thompson of Simon Fraser University Adaptive and Network Sampling in Changing Populations

2014 Danny Pfeffermann, University of Southampton, UK; Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; and Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel Methodological Issues and Challenges in the Production of Official Statistics

2013 Stephen E. Fienberg, Carnegie Mellon University Envisioning the 2030 U.S. Census

2012 Kenneth Prewitt, Columbia University
Thank you Morris et al., for Westat et al.
2011 Robert M. Groves and Roderick J. Little, U.S. Census Bureau Missing Conceptual Components, and Design-Based/Model-Based Viewpoints
2010 Carl-Erik Sarndal, Statistics Sweden Dealing with Survey Nonresponse: In Data Collection, in Estimation
2009 Sharon L. Lohr, Arizona State University The Care, Feeding and Training of Survey Statisticians
2008 Louis Kincannon, Former Director, U.S. Bureau of the Census The Federal Statistical System: Is It Stronger Now Than It Was Eight Years Ago?
2007 Joe Sedransk, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio Assessing the Value of Bayesian Methods for Inference About Finite Population Quantities
2006 Michael F. Goodchild, University of California Santa Barbara Statistical Perspectives on Spatial Social Science
2005 Donald Rubin, Harvard University Causal Inference Through Potential Outcomes: Application to Quality of Life Studies with 'Censoring' Due to Death and to Studies of the Effect of Job-Training Programs on Wages
2004 Jennifer Madans, National Center for Health Statistics Bridging the Gap: Moving to the 1997 Standards for Collecting Data on Race and Ethnicity
2003 Paul Biemer, Research Triangle Institute International Simple Response Variance… Then and Now…
2002 Eleanor Singer, Miron Straf, & Katherine Wallman Joint Lectures
2001 Murray Edelman Mitofsky Election Night Estimation
2000 Graham Kalton Models in the Practice of Survey Sampling (Revisited)
1999 David F. Findley Diagnostics for Modeling and Adjustment of Seasonal Data
1998 J. N. K. Rao Some Current Trends in Sample Survey Theory and Methods
1997 Norman M. Bradburn Statistics in the Information Age
1996 Joseph Waksberg The Hansen Era: Statistical Research at the Census Bureau, 1940-1970
1995 Ivan Fellegi Characteristics of an Effective Statistical System
1994 Leslie Kish Developing Samplers for Developing Countries
1993 Norbert Schwarz What Respondents Learn from Questionnaires: The Survey Interview and the Logic of Conversation
1992 Wayne Fuller Estimation in the Presence of Measurement Error
1991 T. M. F. Smith Sample Surveys - 1975-1990: An Age of Reconciliation
Return to top

Committee Membership

The committee consists of a total of 6 members: 2 special members and 4 regular members. The special members represent the sponsoring organization, Westat, and the cosponsoring host organization, currently NASS. The 4 regular members are appointed to serve staggered 4-year terms. One of the regular members is appointed annually by the WSS President. The appointment occurs in the Fall of the year, in time for the new appointee to participate in the Hansen Lecture. Members will be selected to represent a broad view of statistical and survey methodology. The regular members should include government experts and at least one academic expert. The regular member serving the third year of his/her term will be Chair of the Committee.


The committee organizes the Morris Hansen Lectures. This includes selecting and inviting the primary speaker and discussants; making arrangements for the Lecture facility and the reception facility; assuring that WSS has made the arrangements for catering of the reception; inviting the Hansen family to the event; and organizing the participant dinner following the reception. It also includes publicizing the event through the WSS newsletter and the preparation of a special brochure; and arranging for publication of the papers from the event (if appropriate).

Committee Members

  • Ron Fecso (2011 chair)
  • Connie Citro (2012 chair)
  • Don Malec (2013 chair)
  • John Czajka (2014 chair)
  • Eric Slud (2015 chair)
  • Barry Graubard (2016 chair)
  • Linda Young (NASS representative)
  • Keith Rust (Westat representative)
Return to top

Biography of Morris Hansen

The National Academy of Sciences has included a biography of Morris Hansen in its 1996 volume entitled "Biographical Memoirs" (vol. 70) published by the National Academy Press. The memoir of Morris Howard Hansen was co-authored by Joseph Waksberg and Edwin D. Goldfield and is available at the NAS site.

Return to top