Good Bye Dale Lear, and Thank You!

Dale Lear, one of the founding members of the Rhino development team, will be retiring on August 31, 2021. Dale has been the head mathematician and chief scientist since joining McNeel in 1993. Dale has contributed to the core NURBS and mesh geometry libraries in Rhino; designed the application architecture for the from-scratch rewrite of Rhino 3; designed and maintained the Rhino 3dm file format; contributed to many of the core geometry tools in Rhino including Sweeps, Loft, NetworkSrf; Universal Deformation Technology; water-tight meshing of NURBS geometry; SubD geometry and modeling tools; and has contributed to many many other features.

Dale has consistently reminded me to slow down and do work well, rather than rushing to get something out. He also is able to understand customer needs and hopes, and translate them into wizard-level math programming that solves the problem.

Dale has a great sense of humor, which has contributed to the naming of several prototype features: Elmo, ElmoSrf, Splop, and Sporph are among my favorites.

Please let Dale know how much his work means to you, and help me wish him well on his next adventure.

Dale, thank you for many great years of working with us!


Dale, thank you - we’re still a little alarmed about this though.



Dale Lear’s attention to detail and thoughtfulness has been key to the usefulness and utility of Rhino. This can not be understated.
He will be sorely missed and multiple developers will be needed to fill those roles.
I have valued his friendship, his goofy sense of humor, and his deep competence since he came to work with us.

I wish you Fair winds and Following seas.

John Brock


I am truly grateful for all of your work.

It has directly contributed to not only the career I have now, but 20 years ago Rhino 3D allowed me to quit my 9-5 job, do meaningful and profitable work from home (long before it was “normal”) , put my wife thru med school, and be a full time dad for my daughter as she grew up.

To say that I owe it all to Mcneel as a company, and your work directly is still understating the effect you have had on my family. I am grateful beyond words and wish you an amazing next chapter of your life.

(Between you and me, i’m secretly hoping you’ll be bored to tears and come back)

Cheers to you sir… well done.


Thank you Dale for helping to make what we work on day in and day out rock solid, fun to work on and commercially hardened. I have learned a lot from you over the years and appreciate the skills that you have helped me improve to be better at what I do.

Now go have some fun.


Dale Lear, circa 2000, when he had more hair:

I guess now there will be no doubt which “Dale” is to blame…

Thanks for everything you’ve done for us over the last many years. Can’t wait to hear what your going to do next.

All the best!

– Dale (1.0)


Dale, thanks for everything!!

Y si vienes a visitarnos, trae una pelota y recordaremos partidos pasados…



I’m going to miss you around here. My one-on-one job interview with you is - to this day - one of my most anxiety-producing memories…but I think your retirement is inducing significantly more stress, to be honest.

The compassion, focus, humor, and love you bring is evident in Rhino. I’ve been so lucky to work with you.

Thank you,


Dale was the first McNeelie I met back in 2000…found me waiting on the curb at the airport, sight unseen…back in the day of flip phones and non-existent texting. Who knew that 21 years later I’d be saying farewell to him.

Thanks Dale, for all that you do, all that you’ve done, and all that you’ve taught me over the years, it’s been a great experience working with you and learning from you.

Congratulations! Well done! Well deserved!

Enjoy retirement,



Just thanks!!

Thanks for sharing knowledge, a sharp point of view, an ironic sense of humor and not many, but cool beer moments. I learned a lot from you.

I guess is not needed, but just in case, if you come Barcelona you have people here.

– Kike.


I first met Dale in 1991. I was an insurance agent in training (desperate times…) and Applied Geometry Corp. was on my list of cold calls to make.
They weren’t interested in what I was selling but let me come by and say Hi when I told them I had a PhD in Math. For reasons I never understood,
they let me start working there even though my mathematical background was totally unrelated to the work they were doing.
It turns out Dale was the one there who somehow convinced the rest to give me a shot. That act truly changed my life and I am forever grateful.

Dale was the youngest at AG and was trying to move the company into the 21st Century. When AG started a joint project with McNeel,
which eventually became Rhino, Dale and I were the ones on our side most focused on that effort. After Alias bought AG, Dale decided he’d rather work
for McNeel. As always with Dale, it was a decision based solely on his principles rather than finances. I became the liason between the two companies
and soon saw that he had made the right decision. Once again, Dale stepped up for me and I joined him at McNeel.

Dale, I seriously have no idea where I’d be or what I would have been doing for the past 30 years had I not had the good fortune of running into you.
It’s been a pleasure working with you. I’ve particularly enjoyed the times when we would bounce ideas for new functionalty off of each other.
We’ve done many things together outside of work and I know that will continue.

Congratulations! I know you’ll enjoy a well deserved retirement.


I only met Dale once when he visited Finland in 2007 so I can’t say I’ll miss ‘hanging out’ with him. But I will miss his interesting and funny comment style.

So long Dale. I hope your retirement will be as robust as your code.


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The greatest gift I ever received was the ‘still stuck’ Yankee drill Dale gave to me. I know he was looking for just the right recipient. I am that guy. When I retire, I am going to unstick the stuck.
All seriousness aside, Dale we have enjoyed poking fun at each other whenever the time is right (or wrong). If you are ever up north, give Ferntucky a call and we’ll open the doors to the castle.
Bob Koll

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Thank you all for the kind words.

My job has been one of the best anyone could hope for. I’m thankful to have had it and thankful talented young people will pick up the pieces I’ve left scattered about.

Bob, Sandy and Lowell created and grew this enterprise and provided a place where people like me could flourish. For years, Michael, Lowell and I hammered away at what became Rhino 1. During that time we lived off the work of everyone else in the company. Their hard work funded the long and expensive R&D project.

Much of what I was able to accomplish was a result of Lowell’s support, mentoring, guidance, and encouragement. Bob provided an extraordinary amount of free rein and a rock solid, well run, and honorable company. Michael’s vision and passion to create a fun, easy to use, and useful 3d modeling tool is still visible in Rhino 7.

As for 1991 … I recall Chuck dressed in a suit and knocking on the front door of Applied Geometry. I opened the door, we chatted a bit, and he handed me a reprint of Prime Length of Crossed Products (which I still haven’t got around to reading). He was clearly smart and hungry. Whenever we dabbled with intelligence tests, Chuck won. So it’s no surprise that much of the good stuff we’ve done together is based on ideas that Chuck had and I helped type up. He is also better at spelling and correctly pronouncing words. Lucky for me that misspelled function and variable names work just fine.

None of this would have come to fruition without loyal customers helping us make Rhino a useful and valuable tool for doing useful and valuable real work.

It’s a privilege to stand on the shoulders of all y’all.


Happy retirement Dale, and thanks for everything, you will be sorely missed!
Hope you’ve got interesting projects lined up for you. A new language perhaps, or some hot new dance moves.


Meeting Dale for the first time was a grounding experience. I am certainty not immune to moments of grandiosity, and I certainly back than I was young (ish) and had an inflated opinion of myself.

Dale was the first genius that I met. He’s the kind of guy that causes everyone around him to up their game - and that, probably, is a decent part of what has made this team successful…certainly over the last 20 years that I’ve been witness to it.

You will be missed, Dale. Personally I will miss your sense of humour, and your remarkable drive. You have always been an inspiration to me.

Having said that, I’m going to start rewriting all of your code next week. :stuck_out_tongue:



Never meet @dalelear but still so grateful to be one who made rhino such a great piece of software.
We will miss you for sure!
Thanks for your amazing job.
Enjoy your retirement boss!

Riccardo Gatti

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Hi Dale,

thank you for all you have done. I love it.

All the best for your retirement


P.S.: I’ve read an article, where you have suggested “Carl de Boor: A Practical Guide to Splines” for understanding NURBS. This book stands in my bookshelf, and now I know, there is a difference between buying (books) and knowing (NURBS). :wink:

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I have met @dalelear only via Slack and our Zoom meetings, but I have always enjoyed the calm and collected way of speaking and the meticulously crafted written communications that always had all the info necessary to act appropriately. Something we all could learn from.

Enjoy your new life.

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I have been a Rhino user since Rhino 1.1, and Dale has helped me to overcome some major obstacles in my workflow as an orthopaedic last designer.
Thanks a thousand times for your help through the years, and I wish you well.

Erik Hondebrink

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