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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Monday, October 10, 2011

Jim Goodnight, founder and chief executive of SAS, to visit IU and its Kelley School of Business

Oct. 10, 2011

Editors: Goodnight will speak with MBA and undergraduate students and faculty from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Reporters who would like to attend need to contact George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Kelley School of Business will welcome Jim Goodnight, co-founder and chief executive officer of SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, who will visit the Bloomington campus on Oct. 17.

Goodnight, who has served as the company's CEO since 1976, will speak on the topic "The Age of Analytics: Competing in the 21st Century" to an invited group of Kelley MBA, doctoral and undergraduate students and faculty.

The Kelley School's new Institute for Business Analytics is coordinating the visit. Last year, Goodnight visited the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

"The area of business analytics is extremely important and the Kelley School is on the leading edge in preparing students for opportunities in this arena. Within the field of business analytics, Jim Goodnight is recognized as a path-breaker through the creation of SAS, one of the most powerful and widely used data analysis packages available today," said Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School.

"He has enabled countless universities to advance their research missions and non-university organizations to improve the quality of their decision making," Smith added. "I am confident that our students and faculty will benefit greatly from discussions with Dr. Goodnight. It is truly an honor for the Kelley School to host such a distinguished innovator."

SAS, the largest independent vendor in its market, has more than 12,000 employees in 56 countries and had revenue totaling $2.43 billion last year. It also was ranked by Fortune magazine in 2010 and 2011 as the No. 1 employer in its annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list.

SAS software was originally created by Goodnight and North Carolina State University colleagues to analyze agricultural research data. Three decades later, it's doing things Goodnight never imagined in his days as a doctoral student in statistics.

Today, SAS is best known for sifting massive mountains of data for Fortune 500 companies and other well-known organizations. Insurance companies use SAS to flag fraudulent claims. Retailers use SAS to find profitable places to put stores and products within those stores. Financial institutions use SAS to detect money laundering, as mandated by the USA Patriot Act and Basel II. They also use it to sniff out fraud and to score credit applications.

The company's strategy to keep employees and realize peak performance from them was showcased in the July-August 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review. Goodnight co-wrote the piece, "Managing for Creativity," with author Richard Florida, asserting that companies prosper when they make best use of their "creative capital" -- that is, creative thinkers whose ideas generate valuable products and services.

Goodnight, an active speaker and participant at the World Economic Forum, has a doctorate in statistics from North Carolina State University, where he was a faculty member from 1972 to 1976. Together with his wife, Ann, and SAS co-founder John Sall and his wife Ginger, he co-founded Cary Academy in 1996, an independent college preparatory day school for students in grades six through 12, with the goal of creating a model school for integrating technology into all facets of education.

Shortly before Cary Academy opened, Goodnight launched SAS® Curriculum Pathways®, a web-based curriculum resource that helps middle and high schools meet the challenges of the new millennium. Used by more than 50,000 teachers at more than 10,000 schools, SAS Curriculum Pathways provides interactive, online content in the core disciplines of English, mathematics, social studies, science and Spanish. In December 2008, Goodnight made this resource free to all U.S. educators.

Harvard Business School named him a "Great American Business Leader" for his leadership of a business that has changed the way Americans have lived, worked and interacted. He was also named one of America's 25 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, in honor of the publication's 25th anniversary.