Silver named Andrews Fellow 2022
by Nathan Warters
March 21, 2022
Nate Silver, an award-winning statistician, journalist and author, will visit William & Mary next month as the university’s Hunter B. Andrews Distinguished Fellow in American Politics.
He is the founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, an award-winning website that analyzes data, statistical studies, polls, election results, demographics, and voting patterns to publish a running prediction on elections, current events, key policy issues and more. Now in partnership with ABC News, FiveThirtyEight.com allows Silver to contribute not only to election coverage, but also to a wide range of areas, including politics, sports and science.
Silver will be on campus April 4-5 to meet with faculty, staff, and students, provide feedback, and answer questions. He is due to speak to government classes and he will do a public question and answer session on Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Tucker Hall Theater.
“William & Mary is delighted to welcome Nate Silver as a 2022 Hunter Andrews Scholar,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. “When we talk about the evolution of the liberal arts in the 21st century, his trailblazing career exemplifies what is possible: a Renaissance man, writing to a wide audience about the issues that drive our society today – using the tools of statistics, mathematical modeling and great “Storytelling in search of deeper wisdom. A journalist driven by an insatiable curiosity to explore fields as diverse as the history and prediction of elections, sports, finance and climate change. A pioneer whose work defined data journalism as we know it today.”
The scholarship was established in 1998 in honor of Hunter B. Andrews, a William & Mary alumnus and Board of Visitors member who died in 2005. During Andrews’ 32 years as a state senator from Virginia, he served as its majority leader and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Silver’s election prediction system has been an accurate predictor in some of the recent US presidential elections, including the 2012 election in which it correctly predicted the winner in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“Sir. Silver’s work has reshaped the way we think about polling and statistical analysis leading up to elections,” said William & Mary Provost Peggy Agouris. services our students graduate in; and Mr. Silver presents a fabulous example of how a deep understanding of data can effectively decode our modern ecosystem. We are delighted to welcome him to the William & Mary campus, and I know that our students will learn a lot from his visit.
Silver originally gained a reputation for his predictive abilities as a baseball statistical analyst. In 2009, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
FiveThirtyEight.com, named after the 538 voters in the U.S. Electoral College, won the Webby Awards for Best Political Blog from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in 2012 and 2013.
“Nate Silver’s visit couldn’t have been better timed,” said Jaime Settle, Associate Professor Emeritus of Wakefield Term, who teaches a course that uses the R programming language to analyze data and communicate the results of that data. “Our students have worked so hard to improve their coding skills this semester and her visit will serve as a reminder and inspiration of the global importance of our company.”
Silver is the author of a series of baseball statistics books, including “Mind Game”, “Baseball Between the Numbers”, and “It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over”. His 2012 book, “Signal and Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t” reached The New York Times Bestseller List for Nonfiction and was named the best book in history. non-fiction that year by Amazon.com.
“It’s really exciting to have Nate Silver on campus,” said W&M Government Professor John McGlennon. “As someone who uses statistics so creatively to understand politics and sport, he brings research to life. We hope to benefit from his analysis to better understand the dynamics of midterm elections, the art and science of redistricting and gerrymanders and legislative politics. Hopefully he can show us how to predict the unpredictable world of pandemics, war and peace and the trajectory of our polarized politics. As a bonus, we might get his take on the NCAA Finals, the fate of Major League Baseball in 2022, and how to pick your fantasy league roster.
Previous Andrews Fellows have included journalist and author David Brooks, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tom Foley, journalist, author and Supreme Court scholar Linda Greenhouse; late Virginia Senator John Warner; former Virginia Governor Gerald Baliles; Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker; and political analyst Bill Kristol.