Gerald N. Pitts, professor emeritus of Computer Science, died on Dec. 23, 2016 following a courageous battle with leukemia.
Pitts joined the Trinity faculty in 1981 and served for many years as the chair of the computer science department. He was named the Caruth Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in 1999. A dedicated teacher and scholar, he received the Dr. & Mrs. Z.T. Scott Faculty Fellowship Award for excellence in teaching, advising, and student service in 2000. He also received the Piper Professor Award for superior teaching in 2004.
Pitts graduated from Texas A&M in 1966 with a bachelor's in mathematics. A former A&M football player, he was proud of his Aggie heritage. He went on to earn a master's in computer science from Texas A&M, a master's in management science from American Technological University, and a doctorate in computer science from Texas A&M. In 2005, Pitts was named the Distinguished Former Student from the Texas A&M Engineering Department of Computer Science.
Author or contributor to five books and more than 130 articles and presentations, Pitts was the recipient of numerous research grants, including awards from the National Science Foundation. He pioneered the concept of shared microcomputer virtual reality interface with simulation models and worked in the field for more that thirty years following his involvement with the Apollo space program at NASA.
Pitts was dedicated to promoting computer programming skills in young people. He was a co-creator of the National ACM Programming Contest in 1974, and organized the Trinity University Programming Team upon his arrival in 1981.