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Simon Conference 2023

Dear Friends 

I am pleased to recap the wonderful showcase for research and community engagement that was the 2023 Simon Conference. Our video below, put together by local production firm Good Fruit Video, captures the events as well as spirit of the day, and I’d like to add a few words about what the conference meant to us as a program and as a community.

Our organizing committee focused on two large events, the first being the gala reception at the Graduate Hotel in East Lansing. As a welcoming place for alumni, new visitors, and community members alike, the Graduate played a huge role in kicking off the two day event that was our conference. The good times had at the gala are reflected in the pictures attached, but unfortunately don’t go far enough in detailing the delicious food and beautiful views of the city enjoyed in our dining area. Professor Edward Frees, of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, delivered the evening’s keynote speech and talked about the current state of research of actuarial science. This was a perfect way to get the conference presentations, our second event, started as the following morning saw two high school student groups (our first ever) present their work on sports and data science.

These two groups, associated with the Sports Analytics Club Program (SACP), impressed the audience with their poise and preparation and helped set the tone for the rest of the conference. We also wish to thank Professor Ruodo Wang of Waterloo for (remotely) delivering the second keynote speech earlier that morning, and we hope to have him visit us again in-person in the near future. The conference talks were held at the Brody complex, which allowed for attendees to continue chatting about research and networking by commuting vertically to meals provided. Lively discussions were had, which I couldn’t partake in as I had lost my voice by that morning! Thankfully, my colleagues including Christien Oliver (SACP) as well as Gee Lee and Haiyan Liu (MSU ActSci faculty and organizing committee members) did a fantastic job of carrying on and helped close out the conference with Spartan Style.

This event belongs to you, all of you. As does our shared Actuarial program at Michigan State University. We continue to grow because of the trust you place in us, and the connection you have as industry leaders to connect with our students and faculty, and as alumni who continue to reach back to the program you studied in. We are here for you and appreciate the example you set for future generations. MSU is a special place, and our faculty are dedicated to helping students carry out guided research in classes such as Math 491b as well as individual study. Please contact us directly if you have any questions about these and other avenues for undergraduate student research.

In closing, I want to thank our organizing committee, the College of Natural Science, and all of you for your support. I especially want to thank Ron and Mary Simon for their dedication to young people who are pursuing their dreams in the insurance industry, and for this platform where the future leaders of our field can show the rest of the world today what they are capable of in terms of research.

We are already looking forward to the 2024 Simon Lecture, and those details will be announced shortly.


Albert Cohen, PhD
Director, Actuarial Science Program
Director, Graduate Certificate in Sports Analytics 
Department of Mathematics
Department of Statistics and Probability 
Michigan State University 



Dr. Ruodo Wang

Dr. Ruodu Wang is a Professor of Actuarial Science and Quantitative Finance at the University of Waterloo, and he currently holds Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Quantitative Risk Management. He received his PhD in Mathematics (2012) from the Georgia Institute of Technology, after completing his Bachelor (2006) and Master’s (2009) degrees at Peking University. He holds editorial positions in leading journals in actuarial science, operations research and mathematical economics, including Co-Editor of the European Actuarial Journal, and Co-Editor of ASTIN Bulletin - The Journal of the International Actuarial Association. He is an affiliated member of RiskLab at ETH Zurich. Among other international awards and recognitions, he is the inaugural winner of the SOA Actuarial Science Early Career Award (2021) from the Society of Actuaries, and a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (elected 2022).




Dr. Edward Frees

Dr. Edward W. Frees is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries (SoA) and the American Statistical Association (ASA). There are about twenty-seven thousand members of the SoA and twenty thousand members of the ASA: of these, Professor Frees is the only Fellow of both organizations. He served as founding chairperson of the Society of Actuaries' Education and Research Section as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Actuaries; he has also served as a Trustee of the Actuarial Foundation. In 1999, Professor Frees served as an actuarial representative to the Social Security Advisory Board's Technical Panel on Methods and Assumptions; this panel provided advice to the federal government on the long-term solvency of the Social Security system. Professor Frees was the Editor and is currently on the Honorary Advisory Board for the North American Actuarial Journal. He is also an Associate Editor for Insurance: Mathematics and Economics and Annals of Actuarial Science. Professor Frees also has an affiliate appointment with the Australian National University.


Questions regarding the conference should be directed to:  Alyssa Cappiello    Cappiel6@msu.edu