SIGGRAPH 2000 Outstanding Service Award: DeFanti

  • ©2000, Thomas (Tom) A. DeFanti



    Outstanding Service Award


    Tom DeFanti and Copper Giloth are each a recipient of this year’s SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Award. DeFanti has been an inspirational executive committee member and conference contributor, helping create many of the organizational activities and conference venues that we now take for granted. Giloth’s dedication to her vocation, computer art, and to SIGGRAPH, enabled her to launch the conference’s first Art Show and grow it into an internationally acclaimed annual event. While DeFanti and Giloth are being honored separately, we acknowledge that they are also contemporaries. With enthusiasm and hard work, they supported and inspired one another over the years, and contributed to SIGGRAPH’s international stature. We appreciate this opportunity to publicly thank them for their outstanding service to SIGGRAPH.

    When asked what SIGGRAPH activities he was most proud of, DeFanti responded, in no particular order:

    The growth of SIGGRAPH conferences
    The quality of A/V at SIGGRAPH conferences
    The inclusion of women and artists
    The international stature of SIGGRAPH
    The SIGGRAPH Video Review
    The popularization of scientific visualization
    The proliferation of projection-based virtual reality
    Lifelong friendships
    From SIGGRAPH’s first conference in 1974, DeFanti championed video as a communications medium for science and art, started the annual Film and Video Show (which subsequently became the Electronic Theater and is now the Computer Animation Festival), helped architect the conference’s outstanding audio/visual environment, and was founder (and still is editor-in-chief) of the SIGGRAPH Video Review (SVR). He served on the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee for 12 years. During his four-year tenure as Chair, DeFanti provided leadership as the organization and conference blossomed in quality and attendance. DeFanti built a sand box and invited his scientific, engineering and art friends to play, providing encouragement and seed money for new, special projects. He elevated SIGGRAPH to international stature by cooperating with computer graphics organizations in Europe and Japan.

    In 1987 he co-edited the landmark Visualization in Scientific Computing publication. For SIGGRAPH 92, he co-created and introduced the projection-based CAVE(tm) automatic virtual environment to hordes of screaming fans. Most of all, DeFanti continues to inspire others, particularly the students of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago, feeding new ideas and energy into the life blood that is SIGGRAPH. DeFanti has a BA from Queens College and a PhD from The Ohio State University. He is co-director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


    ACM SIGGRAPH Press Release, 2000