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.

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