At a dedication celebration attended by more than 300 faculty, students, friends and alumni, Chancellor James L. Oblinger announced that the university’s newly completed mathematics and statistics building would be named SAS Hall in honor of the founders of the Cary-based software company.
The 119,000 square-foot building houses advanced classrooms, computer labs, tutorial centers and meeting and study space for students and faculty in the mathematics and statistics departments. A partnership with Cisco will improve digital communications for students by providing access to live and on-demand video content from anywhere on campus.
Construction of the $32 million building was made possible by the Higher Education Bond Referendum passed by North Carolinians in 2000, as well as by gifts from private donors, including a substantial contribution from SAS.
SAS was born out of a research project that began in the NC State Department of Statistics in the early 1970s. Since then, the company has grown into one of the largest software providers in the world. Two of the company’s founders, CEO Jim Goodnight and Executive Vice-President John Sall, as well as their spouses, remain close partners and staunch supporters of the departments and the university.
“At SAS, we believe that it is vital for students in the mathematical and statistical sciences to learn in an environment that provides state-of-the-art facilities and instructional technologies,” Sall said. “It’s also critical that they participate in the kind of collaborative initiatives they’ll experience in the work place. That type of environment produces the type of employee and person we want at SAS, and it’s the type we want to produce at NC State. That’s why we decided to make a significant contribution toward ensuring that this building would become a reality.”
NC State boasts a longstanding tradition of excellence in teaching and research in mathematics and statistics. The university currently ranks fifth nationally in total R&D expenditures and in competitive federal R&D expenditures in the mathematical and statistical sciences. The Department of Mathematics is one of the largest producers of doctoral degrees in mathematics in the nation. The Department of Statistics is among the nation’s oldest and most prestigious, having been founded by renowned statistician Gertrude Cox in 1941.
“NC State’s mathematical and statistical science programs rank among the best in the nation,” said Daniel Solomon, dean of the university’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. “We now have a state-of-the-art facility that is worthy of the stature of our students and faculty.”