Raynald Levesque
Montreal, Quebec, Canada — July 2005
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Ray poses on a rainy day with Montreal in the background

The first time Raynald Levesque saw my name (as far as I know), it was attached to an e-mail I felt compelled to send him in October 2001:

You are some kind of mad genius with a big heart…and do you ever sleep? Reading your contributions to the SPSSX listserve is delightful time after time.

The motivation for my impertinent message was Ray’s response to a complex question posed to the SPSSX e-mail list. I had been following Raynald’s contributions to the SPSSX e-mail list since 1999, printing and collecting his solutions in a binder, along with those of some other SPSS experts whose work I admired. Raynald’s response was, as is typical of him, both kind and direct:

I feel that it has been a two way street. I have helped many on the list but the list has provided me with a continuous source of various problems.

Answering those questions allowed me to learn SPSS syntax and macros inside out. I am currently putting the emphasis on scripting while continuing the development of the web site.

I currently average 140 visitors per day and my objective is to reach 500 per day. However, I wonder if 1,000 is attainable.

My hunch is that by now Ray has met his modest objective. The web site he refers to is a treasure trove of SPSS-related tools, information and solutions that he has accumulated and put on the web at his own expense. More than 200 universities from 30 different countries link to his web site, the main purpose of which is “to present useful code and techniques to increase productivity of all level of SPSS users.” Raynald wrote most of the hundreds of sample syntax examples, macros and scripts included in his site. The site also contains contributions by many other programmers, including some of the other experts I interviewed for this project. Hector Maletta translated Raynald’s home page into Spanish and the site is currently being translated into Russian.

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