Outstanding Thought Leader, Scientist and Humanitarian, Passes away at Age 87
It is with immense sadness that we announce that Marvin Zelen, one of the foremost statisticians of our time, widely regarded as the Father of Clinical Trials, and mentor to hundreds of younger colleagues passed away on November 15, 2014. Professor Zelen was the former Chairman of the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health and built it up into one of the best departments in the world by his leadership, personality and ability to attract first-rate scientists. Almost everyone who had the good fortune to work with Marvin went on to achieve fame and success. But beyond his intellectual prowess, Marvin was a wonderful human being. He was gracious to younger colleagues and went out of his way to help them in every way possible.
Marvin played a pivotal role in the founding of Cytel and remained an active member of its Board of Directors till the end. Even when he was ailing in hospital, he never failed to ask searching questions about our progress and future plans and to offer wise advice. Cytel employees were deeply saddened to learn of his passing. Here are some of the sentiments that they expressed spontaneously upon hearing the news:
"He was learned, exacting, and at the same time kind and supportive to those he approved of. No wonder he accomplished so much in his life, and helped launch the careers of so many successful people. He was a man to love, and I am glad I saw him last week."
"So many labels applied to Marvin: scientist, educator, mentor, but perhaps they can be best summed as 'humanitarian'."
"Truly a loss but we can be grateful for his enormous contributions to the field and for having the vision to build the Biostatistics Department into what it is today. As a teacher Marvin did take a bit of glee in seeing his graduate students be tormented by challenging problems! -- But underneath it all he was invested in each person's success."
"Marvin was a great person, friend, adviser, and leader for Cytel. He will be missed."
"He really touched so many people in his life."