Before there was SAS
In 1966, there was no SAS. But there was a need for a computerized statistics program to analyze vast amounts of agricultural data collected through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants.
Development of such software was critically important to members of the University Statisticians Southern Experiment Stations, a consortium of eight land-grant universities that received the majority of their research funding from the USDA. The schools came together under a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a general-purpose statistical software package to analyze all the agricultural data they were generating.
The resulting program, the Statistical Analysis System, gave SAS both the basis for its name and its corporate beginnings.