Data Scientist to be Honored at Homecoming


Head shot of a young man in a coat and tie
Dr. Joel O'Hair

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Joel O’Hair, a 2006 graduate, will be honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by Wayland Baptist University during its spring Homecoming celebration. While the weekend is mostly a virtual affair, the awards presentation will premiere online on Friday, Feb. 19, when it would traditionally have been offered.

In addition, O’Hair will be the guest lecturer for the School of Mathematics and Sciences, with his presentation via Zoom set for 1 p.m. on Feb. 19. He will be addressing students in the data science field as well as guests welcomed via Zoom.

O’Hair earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with honors in 2006, all while running for Wayland’s Track and Field and Cross Country programs, earning four-time national qualifier honors. He then continued his education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, earning his Master of Science degree in 2008 and the Ph.D. in statistical science in 2010.

Following his education, O’Hair held a variety of corporate roles in data science and business analytics for six years before starting a technology industry data science function for the mergers and acquisitions consulting practice at KPMG, a Big Four consulting firm employing 35,000 people in the U.S. Since then, Joel has grown the team to dozens of team members nationwide and annual revenue approaching $10 million, leading to a promotion to managing director in October 2020.

“For a relatively young alumnus, Joel O’Hair has accomplished quite a reputation in a unique field of data science, and he is a great choice to represent our School of Math and Sciences as Distinguished Alumnus,” said Teresa Young, director of alumni relations at WBU. “We look forward to continuing to follow Dr. O’Hair’s career and seeing more great things come from him.”

O’Hair and wife Kristin live in the northern Denver area with their three sons, Logan, Max and Collin. He still enjoys running as well as hiking in the Colorado mountains and playing games with family.

The recorded awards presentation will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, on the alumni YouTube channel with access through the homecoming website, located at www.wbualumni.com/homecoming. The video will remain on the YouTube channel for later viewing as well.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards annually recognize individuals who make a distinctive contribution to their profession, serve in exemplary leadership roles in their community and/or demonstrate a strong loyalty to Wayland through service or giving. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award is for alumni under 35, and the Distinguished Benefactor Award honors a faithful donor to the university. More information can be found on the alumni website at www.wbualumni.com.

In addition, an Alumnus of the Year is chosen by previous Distinguished Alumni Award winners, including the winner for each external campus across the Wayland system. That winner will be announced during the awards presentation in February.

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