Source: ACM SIGGRAPH Citation
Mary served on the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee, from 1990 to 1999, as President, 1993 to 1995. She led the executive committee through very difficult financial times, stabilizing the organization under sometimes challenging conditions. Mary chaired a long-term planning activity “SIGGRAPH in the 21st century”, that helped shape SIGGRAPH’s growing range of activities for a decade. She was a relentless supporter of SIGGRAPH sponsored Small Conferences and helped initiate the co-location of small conferences with the annual conference.
Mary also served as general Chair of the 2001 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics, and led the Research Triangle Park SIGGRAPH chapter from 1984-1987. She was an ambassador for SIGGRAPH while serving on the ACM SIG Governing Board (1993-1997) and on ACM Council (1998-2000).
We also recognize Mary’s broader activities in our technical community: She was a graphics hardware entrepreneur, exhibiting the then-world’s-most-advanced and flexible graphics engine, the Ikonas, at SIGGRAPH in 1980. She has excelled as a pioneer researcher in virtual environments. In the SIGGRAPH annual conferences, she has co-authored technical papers, been a panelist and course instructor, and exhibited Emerging Technologies.
With this award, ACM SIGGRAPH shows its pride in Mary C. Whitton and recognizes her exemplary and broad contributions to the SIGGRAPH organization, its conferences, and its tradition of scholarship.
Mary was a founder of Ikonas Graphics Systems (1978 — acquired by Adage 1982) and Trancept Systems (1987 — acquired by Sun Microsystems 1988). Both companies made user-programmable hardware that was widely adopted in research laboratories for graphics, high-quality rendering, image processing, and volume visualization. Mary joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994 and is now Research Associate Professor of Computer Science and Senior Project Manager at UNC’s Renaissance Computing Institute. Her research interest is discovering what technologies and techniques make virtual reality experiences effective and using knowledge of human perception to make them more effective. Mary earned a B.A. from Duke University (1970), and an M.S. in Guidance and Personnel Services (1974), and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (1984) from North Carolina State University.