Most people don’t know this, but Utah was one of the crucibles from which computer graphics grew as both an academic discipline and an industry:
They knew that they were “onto something big” while outsiders at other universities disparaged the work in computer graphics as an illegitimate application of computing machinery
from The Inception of Computer Graphics at the University of Utah 1960s – 1970s
Gourard and Phong shading, texturemapping, and motion blur, among other important techniques, were first explored at the University of Utah. Industry luminaries, like Ed Catmull (Pixar), John Warnock (Adobe), Jim Clark (SGI & Netscape) were all in the PhD program there.
However, their greatest contribution might be the Utah Teapot, which was originally a demonstration model that has become a ubiquitous icon in 3d computer graphics, an acheivement that won it a cameo in Toy Story.