51. James Goodnight
In the 1960s, NC State joined 7 other universities to find a better way to analyze large amounts of U.S. agricultural data. The result was Statistical Analysis System, or SAS, a data-analysis program, and Goodnight, then an NC State doctoral statistics student, was among its developers. He and NC State student John Sall (No. 150) then left academia and cofounded a company based on the consortium’s work. More than 4 decades later, Goodnight and Sall still own and run $3.2 billion (sales) SAS.