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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Rancher, computer graphics pioneer to receive honorary doctorates at NMSU's Fall Commencement

Fourth generation New Mexico rancher Linda Mitchell Davis and computer graphics guru Alvy Ray Smith will receive honorary doctorates at New Mexico State University's Fall Commencement.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, in the Pan American Center at NMSU. About 750 graduating students are expected to take part.

Davis, corporate vice president of the CS Ranch in Cimarron, is being honored for her decades of service to New Mexico's agricultural industry. She has served on the National Livestock and Meat Board, the Beef Industry Council, the New Mexico Beef Council and NMSU's Livestock Industry Advisory Committee.

In 1990 she was named the New Mexico Cattleman of the Year and in 1992 she became the second female recipient of the Golden Spur Award, given to the top cattle rancher in the nation. She was inducted as a Western Heritage Honoree into the National Cowgirls Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1995.

Davis majored in agricultural economics and minored in beef production at Cornell University.

Smith, who earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at NMSU in 1965, is being recognized for his ground-breaking achievements in the field of computer graphics and computer animation. He was involved in several pioneering computer graphics ventures before joining Microsoft Corp. in 1994 as its first Graphics Fellow.

He directed the first use of full computer graphics in a successful major motion picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, while he was director of computer graphics research for Lucasfilm Ltd., 1980-86. The team he formed as co-founder and executive vice president of Pixar, 1986-91, went on to create the first completely computer-generated film, Disney's 1995 Toy Story.

As founder and chief executive officer of Altamira Software Corp., 1991-94, Smith guided the development of a product known as Altamira Composer, which introduced the concept of image objects -- sprites -- to the personal computer imaging world. Sprites are based on the alpha channel concept of computer graphics, which he co-invented and for which he shares a 1996 technical Academy Award. In 1998 he received a second technical Academy Award for digital paint systems as a fundamental contribution to filmmaking.

Smith holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University.