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Software company gives BU $2 million grant

Jan. 19, 2001

Money will help administration cut computing costs

By ANDY JACOBS

Reporter

As Baylor students relaxed at home over the holidays, Baylor administration kept busy, securing a $2 million grant from a large software company. SAS Institute Inc., the world's largest privately held software company, awarded Baylor the grant that is to be distributed during a five-year period.

SAS specializes in 'data mining' software that is used by companies to store and streamline millions of pieces of data used for research, advertising, recruiting and other data-oriented functions.

The software will help Baylor administration cut computing costs because the information stored in the network will become easier to utilize.

Baylor's graduate schools are planning on using the software to sift through their massive amounts of data.

'We have almost a hundred separate graduate degrees and programs, each with distinct missions and unique data,' said Larry Lyon, dean of the Graduate School. 'The Graduate School must integrate these programs to ensure that the overall mission of the university is served. Without comparable, reliable, accessible data, that job cannot be done,' he said.

The SAS software will also help Hankamer School of Business students, who will learn the basics of the software in information systems and management information systems introductory courses. Students with majors in those fields should gain an extensive background in SAS -- the market leader in data mining software.

'Data mining and knowledge management are hot topics across corporate America,' said G.W.K. Willis, professor and chairman of the information systems department and director of the Center for Applied Geographic and Spatial Research. 'Our students will be learning current practices that will help them be more competitive in the marketplace.'

Brian Johnson, a junior MIS major from Texarkana, is excited about the opportunity SAS will bring to information-based majors.

'We have learned a little bit about SAS already, but the software is only located in the business (computer) lab right now,' he said. 'Hopefully, they will integrate it on more computers around campus, so doing assignments will be more convenient.'

Reagan Ramsower, associate vice president and chief information officer, said the software is a big step for Baylor information systems.

'We will be working closely through our SAS partnership to integrate the SAS software into our research and curriculum, and to implement administrative e-intelligence solutions that will enhance our institutional knowledge,' Ramsower said.

Jeff Babcock, vice president of U.S. public sector sales and marketing, sees the grant as an investment.

'Higher education institutions are critical to technological progress, and supporting progress is core to our strategy and philosophy at SAS. We're forging partnerships with Baylor, as well as the other recipients, as an investment in the future,' he said.

SAS also gave four other colleges similar grants this year. University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, the University of California, and Pennsylvania State University also received grants. SAS is based in Cary, N.C.