The Actuarial Science Program at Robert Morris University has been designated a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries, an honor shared by only nine other universities in the United States.
The Center of Actuarial Excellence designation is based on a rigorous evaluation of a wide range of categories such as curriculum, quality of faculty, quality of graduates, appropriate integration with business and communication, connection to industry, and research/scholarship.
“It is a huge honor to receive this award, especially for such a young program. I never imagined when we started with two students in 2001 that we would ever reach such a high level in such a short period of time,” said Len Asimow, professor of actuarial science and mathematics and the founding director of the Actuarial Science Program at RMU.
RMU’s Actuarial Science Program is one of only about 60 in the United States that is specifically designed to prepare students for the first four professional actuarial exams, which are administered jointly by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.
Most actuaries are employed by either insurance companies or human resource consulting firms, where they design health and retirement benefit plans. Actuary has been ranked among the top two or three careers by Jobs Rated Almanac since its first edition in 1988. The most recent edition once again places actuary at number one based on criteria such as security, stress, compensation and future prospects. The Wall Street Journal named actuary the best job in the nation in its 2010 list of best and worst jobs.
Currently, 83 students are majoring in actuarial science at RMU. This year’s graduating seniors have achieved an average GPA of 3.78. The freshman class of 38 is the largest in the program’s history. High school students who want to enter the program must score at least a 650 on the mathematics portion of the SAT – putting them in the top 25 percent of all test-takers -- and about one-third who enter the program have scored at least a 700, putting them in the top 10 percent.
“The Center of Actuarial Excellence award has placed Robert Morris in the upper echelon of actuarial science programs as the program continues to evolve and grow. This designation is a tribute to the RMU faculty, administration and above all, the high-quality students who have elevated the program to this elite status," said David Hudak, associate professor of actuarial science and mathematics and director of the Actuarial Science Program at RMU.
Other institutions that have achieved this designation include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Iowa, Illinois State University, and Georgia State University.
“Having seen Dr. Asimow and his colleagues build the program from the ground up, it is gratifying to see actuarial science at RMU take its place among the elite programs in the country. We are the only university of our size to have earned this achievement. It is a great honor for us,” said Maria Kalevitch, interim dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at RMU.
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is a professional organization that governs practicing actuaries in North America. Admission to the society is gained by passing a lengthy and challenging series of exams that demonstrate mastery of technical material involving risk analysis and statistics, as well as regulatory and legal issues.