Foley, James

Foley 2006
James Foley (left) and Robert Ball experimenting with exhibits at the IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization (InfoVis) in Baltimore, MD on November 1, 2006.

James D. Foley (1942 – ) is a leading expert in computer graphics. Along with fellow pioneer Andy van Dam, and later with Steven Feiner and John Hughes, Foley co-authored several fundamental texts on computer graphics. In 1991, he founded Georgia Tech’s GVU Center (previously the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center), which in five years became the nation’s leading graduate research institute in the fields of HCI, information visualization, mixed/augmented reality, wearable computing, educational technologies, online communities, and computer graphics.

Foley was elected to the SIGCHI Academy in 2001 and was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He is a Fellow of AAAS, ACM, and IEEE, as well as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Foley received the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven Anson Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics in 1997.

“Jim’s early book on ‘Computer Graphics’ with Andy Van Dam is one of the true classics that guided many young researchers to understand the user interface aspects of graphics.  Jim was an early partner in shaping the Software Psychology Society (1976-1996) that promoted HCI in the Washington, DC area and nationally.  Jim’s been a trusted and valued colleague, who gave generously to his students and to professional groups, such as the Computing Research Association, while always expanding his elaborate model train installation.” Ben Shneiderman


  • Ph.D. in Computer, Information, and Control Engineering; University of Michigan (1969)
  • M.S. in Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan (1965)
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Lehigh University (1964)


  • Professor, Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology (2000 Present)
  • Director MS-HCI, Georgia Tech (2011 2014)
  • Executive Director later CEO, Yamacraw Economic Development Initiative (1999 2000)
  • President, Mitsubishi Information Technology America (1997  1999)
  • Director, Mitsubishi Electrical Research Laboratories (1996 1997)
  • GVU Center founding director, Georgia Tech (1991 1996)
  • President, Computer Graphics Consultants (1983 1995)
  • Professor later Chairman, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, George Washington University (1977 1990)
  • Computer Systems Analyst, Bureau of the Census (1976 1977)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina (1970 1976)
  • Guest Professor, Technische Universität Berlin (1972)
  • Real-time Systems Group Manager, Information Control Systems (1969 1970)


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