Gary E. Pittman received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award SMU can bestow upon its former students. Pittman and other recipients were honored at the November DAA celebration. Pittman is a multifaceted researcher, whose discovery has transformed the electronics world and our daily lives. While working at Texas Instruments in the 1960s, he and a colleague co-invented the light emitting diode. More commonly known now as the LED, the invention led to formation of the multi-billion-dollar optical communications industry.