Class of 1971
Awarded in 2011
John Sall is an environmentalist through and through. From his days living in Beloit’s Ecology House, to his role as co-founder and executive vice president of SAS Institute Inc., he has lived this conviction in ways that preserve and protect our nation’s physical environment, and that preference and improve the work environment at the company he leads and helped to found.
A history major at Beloit, John participated in the very first Earth Day in 1970. Since then, he has worked to preserve our world’s natural spaces as a longtime supporter of The Nature Conservancy, where he chairs the audit committee of its board of directors, and as a member of the Environmental Defense Fund’s National Council. In addition to helping protect watersheds in Latin America, John and his wife, Ginger, have recently helped with conservation and development initiatives in Mozambique through the World Wildlife Fund and CARE.
After leaving Beloit, John earned his master’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University and studied statistics at North Carolina State University, where he met Jim Goodnight. Along with several others, the two founded SAS Institute, Inc. The privately held software and services company has grown into an industry-leader, both for its products and services and its commitment to its own people. In 2010, and again in 2011, Fortune magazine ranked SAS #1 on its list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” As a manager told the magazine, the company is a 14-year veteran of the list, and a two-time winner, because employees there feel “seen, attended to, and cared for.”
This commitment to supporting and caring for people is also manifest in John’s support of educational institutions, including this one. The Goodnights and Salls co-founded Cary Academy, a private college-prep school for grades 6-12 in Cary, N.C., in 1997. And John has also supported his alma mater, returning as an alumni panelist, hosting McNair Scholars on the SAS campus, and serving as a generous benefactor.
The college’s mission compels us to prepare students to live lives “marked by high achievement, personal responsibility, and public contribution in a diverse society.” This is the life that John Sall leads. It is therefore with great honor and pride that we present John Sall with the Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Citation.