Dr. Karl E. Peace
Karl E. Peace was born into a family of southwest Georgia sharecroppers in Baker County,
Georgia, on July 28, 1941. He overcame an impoverished background to become immensely
successful, both academically and professionally.
In 1959, with a loan of $532 from a businessman in a neighboring county, he enrolled at Georgia
Southern University, prepaying his tuition for the first two quarters. In the third quarter, he
obtained a Georgia State Teacher’s scholarship that, in addition to his seven part-time jobs,
helped him complete his bachelor’s degree in chemistry while providing support for his siblings and
cancer-stricken mother. He went on to earn a master’s degree in mathematics from Clemson
University, teach at several colleges and universities, and earn a PhD in biostatistics from the
Medical College of Virginia (MCV).
Peace began to pursue a career in biostatistics in the pharmaceutical industry in 1978. After
rising from an entry-level biostatistician position at Burroughs-Wellcome to vice president of
worldwide technical operations at Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert, he started Biopharmaceutical
Research Consultants Inc. in 1989. Dozens of international biotech and pharmaceutical
companies relied on his expertise and he played a key role in the development and regulatory
approval of dozens of medicines, including drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease,
hypertension, arthritis, anxiety, depression and panic attacks, and gastrointestinal ulcers. At the
same time, Peace kept one foot in the classroom, serving as an adjunct faculty member at Duke
University, the MCV, the University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina, Temple
University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Peace approached Georgia Southern University officials in 1998 with a plan to establish a
biostatistics center at the university, a corresponding program of study in biostatistics at the
graduate level, and a school of public health. He returned to the Statesboro, Georgia, campus in
the fall of 2000, when Georgia Southern began to offer the masters of public health degree in
biostatistics that he and Charles Hardy developed. In 2004, his endowment to honor his late wife
led to the creation of the Jiann-Ping Hsu School of Public Health (JPHSOPH), the first school of
public health in the University System of Georgia (USG). In creating the JPHSOPH, the board of
regents also named the center for biostatistics the Karl E. Peace Center for Biostatistics.
Peace made many contributions to the literature, publishing 15 books and more than 150 articles.
As much as anyone, he embodied the philosophy of Helvetius: “Education makes us what we
Peace was the recipient of dozens of honors, awards, and citations, and he was internationally
known as an educator, researcher, author, humanitarian, and philanthropist. For example, he was
the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus of GSU; the 2003 GSU Alumnus of the Year in private
enterprise; the first recipient of the President’s Medal at GSU in 2005; the 2009 recipient of the
GSU Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity; the Georgia Cancer Coalition’s
Distinguished Cancer Scholar at GSU (a first for GSU) from 2002–2007; the first recipient at
GSU of a grant from the Georgia Research Alliance; the endower of the first Eminent Scholar
Chair at GSU; the endower of the Karl E. Peace/JP Hsu Eminent Scholar Chair in Public Health
at GSU; the endower of 13 scholarships at GSU; and a benefactor of the GSU library, Center for
Disabled Students, and the music and art departments. He was cited as Georgia Southern
University’s greatest benefactor in the 2004 Campaign for National Distinction.
Peace received the Deen Day Smith Award for Service to Mankind in 2008. On March 26, 2008,
he received a standing ovation from the Georgia House of Representatives as they acknowledged
his contributions to furthering biostatistics and public health in Georgia. Following his
recognition by the House of Representatives, Bruce Grube, president of Georgia Southern, said,
“Few have made such a major impact on their state, and this is a fitting recognition of someone
who has not only made a significant difference in our state, but in our university. Dr. Peace is an
alumnus, faculty member, and a friend and we are pleased that the state of Georgia has
recognized him in such a fitting way.”
In April of 2008, the Georgia House of Representatives passed HR #2118, honoring Peace for
his contributions to the medical field, the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia
Southern University, and the citizens of Georgia. In September of 2009, Peace was cited by the
U.S. House of Representatives for his contributions to drug research and development, public
health education, philanthropy, and professional service. About this honor, ASA Executive
Director Ron Wasserstein said, “What a wonderful, unique, and well-deserved honor! Thank you
for representing our profession and our association in such extraordinary ways. Indeed, you
represent the very best of what it means to be a citizen.” In 2012, Peace received the Regent’s Hall of Fame Alumni Award, from the USG Foundation Board of Trustees.
Additionally, Peace was the 1991 Star Alumnus of the MCV, and the 2005 recipient of the MCV
Founder’s Society Award. In 2014, the Virginia General Assembly passed HJR #5073 recognizing Peace as “a prolific biostatistician and devoted educator, [who] has contributed immensely to his field and inspired countless students at the Medical College of Virginia and other universities to achieve greatness in science and medicine.”
Peace was the 2007 recipient of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Statistics Section Award for his contributions to the pharmaceutical industry in drug research and development. In March, 2014, Peace received the Sellers-McCroan Award for Improving Public Health through academic and laboratory advancement from the Georgia Public Health Association.
Peace was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics; the founder of the Biopharmaceutical Applied Statistical Symposium (BASS); and the recipient of meritorious service awards from the American Society for Quality Control, BASS, Drug Information Association, ICSA, Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition, and Georgia Cancer Coalition.
He is the subject of the Karl E. Peace Leadership Award established by the Gamma Theta Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in 2012, and the Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society established by The American Statistical Association, also in 2012. He received a special recognition award from the Statistics Profession for contributions to the profession and to statistical education in 2013.
Peace endowed two scholarships at the University of California at Berkeley, including the Jiann-Ping
Hsu/Karl E. Peace Chair in Biostatistics; two scholarships in biostatistics and one professorship at MCV; one scholarship and one professorship at Randolph-Macon College; and the Jiann-Ping Hsu Biopharmaceutical and Regulatory Sciences Session at the annual meeting of the International Chinese Statistical Association. He was also a major contributor to the growth of the Philippine Statistical
Association from which he received the Tito Majaries Lifetime Achivement Award in 2010. He was responsible for creating the Office of the International Chinese Statistical Association (ICSA) within the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health in 2007. He was thrice recognized for outstanding contributions to the ICSA.
While living, Peace donated millions to education and health-related activities, enabling
hundreds of students to obtain their BS, MS, MPH, PhD, Dr. PH, or MD degrees. In addition, he
gave up an annual salary of $1.5 million with his company in 2000 to return to teaching at his
undergraduate alma mater.
As the inaugural recipient of the first President’s Medal for outstanding contributions to Georgia
Southern University in April of 2005, Bruce F. Grube said, “Karl’s work in a noble profession
has provided him with not only personal gain, but a sense of fulfillment as he has contributed to
the greater good as a scientist and as a scholar. He has figuratively and literally paved his own
road, and through his efforts, has made it easier for others to travel. The President’s Medal is an
honor that will be conferred rarely and only in extraordinary circumstances. Investing his
reputation as a scholar and scientist, Karl’s academic and monetary contributions will help shape
the future of Georgia Southern. His desire to help his alma mater in its quest for academic
distinction parallels his desire to make a difference in his discipline.”
Peace was elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1991 and was the 2008
recipient of the Tito Mijaries Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philippine Statistical
Association. He was chair of the ASA Biopharmaceutical Section and its work group activity, as
well as chair of the biostatistics subsection of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and
its training committee and the Statistics Section of the APHA.
Although he was proud of his many academic, professional, business, philanthropic, and
educational accomplishments, Peace was most proud of his efforts to uplift others, particularly
his mother, siblings, wife, son, grandchildren, uncle, and numerous friends and students. He also was proud of his efforts within his native Baker County (endowing five scholarships at GSU for students from
Baker County and providing monetary contributions so citizens could undergo cancer
screenings); the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County, Georgia; and various other
organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Georgia Cancer Coalition, Southeast
Georgia Cancer Alliance, Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition, Komen for the Cure, and
American Heart Association. In 2011, the center for academic achievement at the Boys and Girls
Club of Bulloch County was named in honor of Peace.
“I would like to personally thank you for all you have done in the name of education. Your contributions to Georgia Southern University have been greatly appreciated, and I am fortunate enough to say that I am the recipient of one of your scholarships through the University Honors Program at Southern. This scholarship has allowed me to worry less about monetary issues and focus more on the education.” – Rachel Luoma c/o 2015
“I too, come from a rural part of Georgia and spent all of my teenage summers working on a blueberry farm in Baxley. I helped some of my family keep it running for almost five years, and I did enjoy the work. It’s a different vein of life that I have grown to appreciate and cherish for all that it taught me. I have also been working in research for the past three years here at GSU. My work in developmental biology has kept me busy, as I am sure all your biostatistics projects have done the same. Inspired by the research I completed, I will soon be applying for medical school. You played a critical role in a plan that helped me realize my love for medicine, so thank you! I am so humbled to be funded by such a renowned researcher who understands the struggles and heights of the field!” – Kayla Smith c/o 2015