Documenting statistics: A trip down memory lane

SAS is celebrating the International Year of Statistics. Thinking about the importance of statistics in our lives and in my professional life, takes me for a moment down memory lane.

I came to SAS a LONG time ago because I had a Master’s degree in Statistics and SAS wanted someone to help write the statistics documentation. They picked me!

Now, to put things in perspective, the SAS User's Guide at that time was one book, which contained all of the documentation for SAS. There was no distinction between SAS/STAT and Base SAS as there is today.

SAS is so much more powerful today. There are 102 chapters in the SAS/STAT User’s Guide and the authors of the analytics software are the developers themselves.  Only they have the depth of knowledge to explain how each procedure works.

We are very proud of the statistics and analytics expertise that we have at SAS. No wonder we are celebrating the International Year of Statistics. We are the analytics company, after all!


  1. Sunil Gupta
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks Kathy for your many contributions to making SAS easier to understand and apply!

  2. Susan Slaughter
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink


    I'd like to hear more. How did you hear about the job at SAS? What did you think the first time you heard that there was a group working on the Statistical Analysis System? Had you used SAS before you started, or did you literally learn it all on the job? How have statistics changed since you started? When you started did you imagine how important SAS and computing would be for the field of statistics, or did you just gradually realize it? When you were hired, did you expect that you would still be working for SI all these years later, or did you expect to work there a few years and move on?


    • Kathy Council Kathy Council
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      In 1970, I started working at North Carolina State University (NCSU) as a statistician fresh out of college with a BA in math. While there, I worked on a masters degree in statistics. My job was in Student Affairs Research, where we researched student trends and predicted student success. I used SAS from the very beginning, using PRINT, MEANS, SORT and also ANOVA and REG. People from Student Affairs (from Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid, etc) came to me for "quick and dirty" reports that took too long going through the administrative computing center. I had access to all the student and faculty data.

      The SAS project was part of NCSU at the time and some of the founders were in some of my classes. Everyone in the Stat department knew about SAS.

      Statistics changed because SAS was about statistics and our expertise covered every possibly area in statistics. We were committed to covering all components of statistics that were needed in any field.

      I never have taken a job with the idea that I would move on. I worked at NCSU for 7.5 years and then was contacted by Jim Goodnight in 1977 because he knew of my writing experience and by degree in Statistics. I've been here for 35 years and plan to stay another 35. I love this place!

      Truly, I've had a remarkable life at SAS.

  3. Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Susan. Come on, dish the dirt or at least the details.

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    I’m Maggie Miller and I’ll be providing you the latest updates about SAS books, documentation, tips and industry trends here on the SAS Bookshelf. Follow along with my talented colleagues, and guest posters as we bring the written word to life and share helpful content with our fellow SAS book enthusiasts.
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