H. Robert van der Vaart

(from the News and Oberserver, November 19, 2002)

H. ROBERT VAN DER VAART died Saturday, November 16th, 2002. Born March 2, 1922 in Makassar, Indonesia, Dr. van der Vaart grew up in The Hague, the Netherlands. He graduated cum laude with a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden having completed the requirements for degrees in both mathematics and biology. He simultaneously earned a Masters degree in piano performance. After rising to full Professor at Leiden, Dr. van der Vaart came to the U.S. for 18 months on a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at N.C. State University in 1957.

Eventually he returned to NCSU permanently as Professor of Statistics and Mathematics in 1962. A researcher and teacher, he published over fifty papers in diverse fields including mathematical statistics and theoretical biology and was a member of numerous honorary and scientific societies. He was named Drexel Professor of Biomathematics in 1974 and an Outstanding Teacher at NCSU in 1975. When he retired in 1992, Professor van der Vaart pursued his love of linguistics by translating Latin and Greek with his surviving wife of 52 years, Henderika A. van der Vaart. Also surviving him are his children, Marjolein Smith of Raleigh, Hubertus J. van der Vaart of Annandale, VA, and Donald R. van der Vaart of Raleigh, as well as seven grandchildren.