Raja Velu to receive prestigious Chancellor's Citation for Excellence

Raja Velu, professor of managerial statistics at the Whitman School, will receive the 2013 Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence at a campus ceremony and reception on Monday, April 1.

The Chancellor’s Citation awards were first presented in 1979 in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship and creative work. Over time, the focus of the awards has changed to reflect new priorities and institutional directions. The emphasis on excellence and outstanding achievement remains unchanged.

Each year, members of the University community are invited to nominate a colleague or co-worker for recognition. A selection committee composed of faculty and staff from across campus reviews the nominations, and award winners are honored each spring.

Velu is recognized for his extraordinary contribution to SU’s vision for Scholarship in Action. Nancy Cantor, president and chancellor of SU, and Don Mitchell, distinguished professor of geography and chair of the Citation selection committee, commended Velu in his award letter for his facilitation of the strategic partnership between SU and JPMorgan Chase, his important advances in managerial statistics and his work with leading high-tech internet firms.

A professor in the Whitman School of Management since 1998, Raja Velu’s research focuses on Multivariate Analysis and Data Mining among others. He has published in numerous premier journals in statistics, and his work in data mining is driven by extensive contacts with leading high-tech Internet firms, including Yahoo!, Microsoft and IBM. His intellectual contributions have resulted in several patents and his articles in data mining are presented at the most prestigious global technology conferences. 

With Microsoft, Velu worked with data scientists and engineers to develop Prodcast, a price prediction engine for high-end products sold on the Internet. At Yahoo!, he was the lead advertising marketplace  architect for Sponsored Search division and developed a signature click-bid landscape based on empirical analysis of search/impression/click-bid data.  

Velu has led and worked on seven sponsored JPMorgan Chase research projects, bringing a total of $1.8 million to campus and producing results that are poised to appear in the most prestigious academic publications in finance and in data mining. He was chosen in 2011 as an inaugural JPMorgan Chase Faculty Fellow, serving as a liaison and facilitator between JPMorgan Chase and SU and helping to foster deeper understanding between the two institutions and facilitating collaborative research. In this capacity, he helped JPMC managers develop awareness of Syracuse University’s faculty excellence in several areas of expertise and facilitated faculty connections with JPMC teams.

“Raja’s intellectual contributions exemplify the ‘innovative curiosity and experimentation that contribute to new understandings of our world and creative responses to its problems,’” says Michel Benaroch, associate dean for research in the Whitman School of Management, who nominated Velu for the award. “Throughout his time at Syracuse University, Raja’s focus has been on bringing his real-life industry experience to the classroom and on enabling students to learn methodologies that help them make informed business decisions,” says Benaroch. “Raja is a professor who truly cares about student learning and keeps in touch with students long after they graduate.” 

Velu has taught courses at all levels and spearheaded the development of statistics courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Velu has served as a department chair in Whitman and numerous college committees; including dean’s and associate deans’ evaluation committees. He is also a well-known leader in his professional communities and has held a visiting appointment in the statistics department at Stanford University since 2005.

Velu is joined by four other 2013 Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence honorees:

Luvenia Cowart, professor of practice in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics; Edward L. Galvin, director of archives and records management, University archivist and Pan Am 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster archivist; James T. Spencer, Meredith Professor of Chemistry and associate dean for science, mathematics and research in The College of Arts and Sciences; and Marion Wilson, associate professor of art, design and transmedia in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and director of community initiatives in the visual arts.