Mary Whitton attended her first SIGGRAPH Conference in 1977 (San Jose). She was a founder of Ikonas Graphics Systems (1978) and Trancept Systems (1986). Both companies designed and sold high-end user-programmable graphics hardware—think of it as a GPU the size of a dorm refrigerator—and libraries for graphics, image processing, volume rendering, and visualization. The companies’ products were widely adopted in academic and industrial research laboratories for applications including seismic exploration, 3D medical imaging, intelligence analysis, computer animation, and scientific modeling and simulation. After joining UNC in 1994, Whitton co-led the Effective Virtual Environments research group that developed and evaluated technologies to make virtual environment systems more effective for applications such as simulation, training, and rehabilitation. A "mostly-retired" research professor, Whitton spends much of her time these days working on preserving computer graphics history.