Ramanathan Gnanadesikan was born on November 2, 1932 in Madras, India. He received his B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.A. degrees in 1952 and 1953 from the University of Madras and also studied at the Indian Statistical Institute during those same two years. In 1953, he came to the United States to pursue a doctorate degree in statistics at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He studied with Professor S. N. Roy and received his degree in 1957. Then he began a 34-year industrial career at Procter & Gamble, Bell Laboratories and Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies). His time in industry was interspersed with teaching assignments at the Courant Institute, Princeton University and Imperial College. He served as professor of statistics at Rutgers University from 1991 until his retirement in 1998. In 1965, Ram married his statistician wife, Mrudulla, who is well known for her work in statistical education. They have two sons, Anand, a researcher in oceanography, and Mukund, a physician specializing in childhood psychiatry. Ram is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He was elected to the Order of the Golden Fleece for leadership while a student at the University of North Carolina in 1957, honored by the Association of Indians in America in 1989 for his contributions to advance information technologies and their impact on the communications industry in the United States, and singled out by the State of New Jersey Senate for unique contributions to arts and letters and to greater understanding between the people of India and America in 1989.