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Students and/or Colleagues
Department of Statistics

PROFESSOR GIFT SIROMONEY was the founder chairman of the department of statistics, Madras Christian College. It was established as a separate department under his guidance in 1970 and this year marks the completion of twenty-five years of its life. On the eve of the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the department, it is but appropriate to recall and cherish the memories of our association with this great man who passed away on 21 March 1988, after a brief illness. This day marks the end of a great era what we call as the Siromoney era.

It is difficult to realize the fact that he is no more with us. It is much more difficult to write about him without becoming sentimental. He was a gift of God to us and we could not have asked for a better friend, better colleague in the department. Scores of his students in the outside world deem it a great privilege to have been associated with him at least for some part of their lives.

Dr. Siromoney fashioned the Department of Statistics into one of the most productive establishments of its kind, which has come to be recognized as a center for teaching and research in Statistics. In fact, the department has carved a niche for itself in conducting annual public opinion surveys, the first of which was conceived and organized by Prof. Siromoney way back in 1971. Such surveys continue to provide the much-needed experience in collection, compilation and interpretation of data to the students of Statistics. The results of the surveys are widely sought after by those in power and others alike. Another distinctive feature of the department is the importance given to the computer education. Thanks to the vision of Dr Siromoney, computers have become indispensable tools in statistical analysis. He played a crucial role in introducing computer programming in the under-graduate curriculum and formal languages and automata theory in the post-graduate curriculum in Statistics of the University of Madras. Later, when the college was granted autonomy, he introduced several courses on programming languages. Dr. Siromoney was instrumental in putting Madras Christian College in the International map on research in formal languages. He was also responsible for establishing the Kibble Computer Center of the college. Hundreds of his students working in the information technology industry bear testimony to the initiative he took to revolutionize the computer education in the college.

Prof. Siromoney was a much-loved teacher and a highly productive research scholar with a wide range of interests in different fields. In fact, there was virtually no area of life that failed to attract his attention. For purposes of enumeration, one can list them as statistics, computer science, epigraphy, art, history, linguistics and music. He had the rare ability to be fascinated by everything around him.

He guided hundreds of his students and/or colleagues on a variety of research projects and many of them on to doctoral degrees. There were scores of others who shared the love of enquiry and the intellectual joy of understanding the world around us. He was a prolific writer who had authored several books and more than hundred research papers in a variety of national and international journals. So prolific was his output and so highly esteemed that recognitions came to him fast and thick in distinguished awards like Homi Bhabha Fellowship, Best Teacher Award,  grants from the University Grants Commission, the Electronics Commission and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Chandrasekaran M. (B.Sc. and M.Sc. 1968-73, Ph.D. 1982, Colleague: 1973-88)
Currently: Statistician, Quality and Process Analysis, Test Division, Kulicke & Soffa Interconnect Inc., Gilbert, Arizona 85233, USA.

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