North Carolina State University formally dedicated its new mathematics and
statistics building on Friday, May 1. At a dedication celebration attended by more than
200 faculty, students, friends and alumni, NC State Chancellor James L. Oblinger
announced for the first time that the building will be named SAS Hall, in honor of the
founders of the Cary, North Carolina-based software company.
The 119,000 square-foot building will house state-of-the-art classrooms, computer labs, tutorial centers and meeting and study space for students and faculty from NC State’s 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 department 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.”
“The technology resources in this building will indeed have a very positive impact
on teaching, learning, consulting, and research in our departments,” said Sastry Pantula, the Head of the Department of Statistics at NC State. “I must say, so will the physical layout of the spaces within this beautiful building. A lot of thought has gone into the overall sense of community, and collaboration we wanted these spaces to convey. Our departments take great pride in mentoring, and vertically integrating research and education! Teaching and discovery don’t happen exclusively in the classrooms, or behind a closed office door. These happen in informal chats between a professor and his/her students over a brown bag lunch. They happen when colleagues strike up a conversation about the day’s events over a cup of coffee in the commons. It happens late at nights when undergraduate and graduate students play together in our computer labs- our modern incubators. It happens when our retired faculty, successful alumni, and friends visit us frequently to share their wealth of experiences. We are very grateful to the donors for their support and for their vision, to the taxpayers of North Carolina, to Dean Solomon, and to every single person involved with this masterpiece, from the conception to completion.”
NC State boasts a longstanding tradition of excellence in teaching and research in
statistics. Its Department of Statistics is among the nation’s oldest and most prestigious, having been founded by renowned statistician Gertrude Cox in 1941. The university currently ranks fifth nationally in total R&D expenditures and in competitive federal R&D expenditures in the mathematical and statistical sciences. It also received the Departmental Teaching and Learning Excellence Award at NC State a few years ago.
“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.”