Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS, speaking at conference

The redefining moments in SAS history at a glance

SAS History

Discover how SAS has consistently pushed boundaries and redefined what's possible in the world of analytics, from our start in academia to becoming a global analytics leader

In the late 1960s, eight Southern universities came together to develop a general purpose statistical software package to analyze agricultural data. NC State had always been a leader in developing code for analyzing agricultural data. It was a natural fit to house the project at the university’s Cox Hall because the mainframe there could process enormous amounts of data.

The resulting program – the Statistical Analysis System – gave SAS both the basis for its name and its corporate beginnings.

Since then, SAS has grown to become one of the largest privately held software companies in the world.

Preparing for launch

Beta release of the Statistical Analysis System.


Open for business

Company incorporated as SAS Institute Inc. and opens in July with four employees. Base SAS® software, consisting of about 300,000 lines of code, is released as the company’s first product.

User conference debuts

First SAS conference, SAS.ONE, takes place in Kissimmee, FL. Renamed SAS Users Group International (SUGI) in 1977, then SAS Global Forum in 2007, more than 5,000 people attend every year.


HQ on the move

The company quickly outgrew its space on Hillsborough Street across from NC State and relocated to Cary, NC, where global headquarters grew to encompass more than 300 acres.


Culture takes shape

SAS reaches the 100-employee milestone and opens its first on-site childcare center.


Going global

The first European subsidiary of SAS opens in the United Kingdom, beginning a global expansion that would reach more than 400 offices around the world.


A focus on health and wellness

SAS opens the Recreation and Fitness Center and Health Care Center in Cary. Approximately 28 acres are dedicated to the physical fitness of employees — plus abundant jogging trails.


Overcoming language barriers

Entire SAS system is rewritten in the C programming language, replacing IBM-only PL/1 language.


JMPing for joy

JMP® is released as the first packaged statistical program for the Mac.


Education at forefront

The Educational Technologies Division is formed to develop high-quality educational software for secondary schools. This evolved into Curriculum Pathways and continued SAS efforts to advance digital literacy in schools.

An educational vision emerges

Cary Academy opens. A vision of the Goodnight and Sall families, the school integrates technology into middle and high school curricula and boasts 100% advancement to college for attendees.


Fortune smiles on us

SAS is named on Fortune magazine’s inaugural list of the Best Companies to Work For in the US.


A silver anniversary milestone

SAS celebrates 25 years in business and commemorates with a new logo and tagline. The Power to Know® was the first step in increasing SAS’ visibility and global recognition.


Accolades roll in

SAS Marketing Automation and SAS Text Miner are named products of the year by readers of Datamation magazine.


Breaking down educational barriers

SAS establishes the Triangle High Five Math Collaborative, partnering with five NC public school districts. The goal: Address disparities in mathematics achievement related to race and income.


Great Places to Work

In 1999, SAS Australia was the first SAS office outside the US to be recognized as a Great Place to Work. Over time, SAS offices in the UK, Mexico, Portugal, Finland, China, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden joined the coveted list.

A toast to No. 1

SAS ranks No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s Best Companies to Work For in the US list – and repeats its top ranking in 2011. SAS United States has been named one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since 1998.


Sustainability for the win

SAS Building C is awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification. Building A earned LEED Gold certification in 2019.


Best multinational workplace

SAS ranks No. 1 on the World’s Best Multinational Workplace list.


VA @ the UN

Jim Goodnight demos SAS Visual Analytics at the United Nations.


For teachers + learners

SAS launches SAS Analytics U, a broad higher education initiative that includes free SAS software, university partnerships and engaging user communities that support the next generation of SAS users.


Validation: Four decades in business

SAS celebrates 40 years of innovation and creativity. SAS is ranked the No. 1 most valuable career skill in a Money magazine and Payscale analysis of 54 million employee profiles across 350 industries.


Free downloads climb

Free SAS downloads and registration for teaching and learning analytics reach 1.45 million. Curriculum Pathways® reaches nearly 3.5 million users.

Diversity and inclusion

Jim Goodnight joins 500 other CEOs of leading companies to pledge and advocate for change and the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Great Place to Work for Millennials

Fortune announces SAS ranks No. 2 on its Best Workplaces for Millennials list. For SAS, the ability to attract and retain employees is a cornerstone of the company’s long-standing success.

People Magazine: Companies That Care

People magazine names SAS in the top five of its first annual “50 Companies That Care” list. SAS also made the list the next year.


Solar farm in the spotlight

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signs an executive order for a clean energy economy in North Carolina, and support for the Paris Agreement, at the SAS solar farm.


Supporting our communities

SAS donates more than $222 million to nonprofits globally. This includes $221 million of in-kind training, software, hardware, services, volunteer time, and surplus equipment and furniture.

Education and training are tops

Downloads and registrations of the no-cost registrations of free SAS software for academics topped 2 million.


Leadership honors

Jim Goodnight receives the CEO Great Place to Work For All Leadership Award for his long-term dedication and commitment to employee development by providing a world-class, innovative workplace culture along with motivating and challenging work.

Accolades abound

SAS receives 13 global workplace and leadership awards, including Great Place to Work, Top Employer and America’s Best Employer for Diversity.

Supporting the future

SAS prioritizes sustainability and social innovation by committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Empowering life-saving decisions

As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, hospitals and government agencies around the world use SAS to predict impact, optimize critical resources, forecast economic outcomes and improve situational awareness.


Charting a path to IPO readiness

SAS announces its intention to be ready for an initial public offering (IPO) by 2024. This next chapter helps ensure the brightest possible future for our employees, customers, partners and communities.


Innovating responsibly

Formalizing a longstanding commitment to ensure that AI is ethical, equitable and sustainable, SAS launched a responsible innovation initiative, guided by the SAS Data Ethics Practice.