Between his time as a grad student (1985-89) and faculty member (1993-2011), Xuming He figures he spent “well over 3,000 days” in Champaign-Urbana.
Not as easy to compute, even for the chair and H.C. Carver Professor of Statistics at the University of Michigan: how many thousands of cups of coffee he consumed during his time here.
But of all the buildings on campus and in Campustown, “the place I remember the best is Espresso Royale on East Daniel Street,” he says of what he recalls being “a laid-back coffee house with warm hospitality.”
“When i was at UIUC, I met with my mentors, colleagues and students there almost every weekday morning, discussing interesting problems in statistics and data science, big or small, over coffee," he says. "We did calculations on napkins, tried to prove mathematical theorems on the back of envelopes — literally — and debated about the future of our profession in multiple dimensions.
“The baristas there were simply great; they know us so well that they did not even have to ask us what we had to order.”