James D. Foley

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James David Foley
Born (1942-07-20) July 20, 1942 (age 77)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan,
Lehigh University
Known forComputer graphics
AwardsIEEE Fellow, ACM Fellow, NAE Member, ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award, ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award
Scientific career
FieldsComputer graphics,
Human-computer interaction
InstitutionsGeorgia Tech,
GVU Center

James David Foley (born July 20, 1942) is an American computer scientist and computer graphics researcher. He is a Professor Emeritus and held the Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He was Interim Dean of Georgia Tech's College of Computing from 2008–2010.[1][2] He is perhaps best known as the co-author of several widely used textbooks in the field of computer graphics, of which over 400,000 copies are in print and translated in ten languages.[3][4] Foley most recently conducted research in instructional technologies and distance education.


Born in Pennsylvania, Foley attended Lehigh University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1964. Foley was initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Tau Beta Pi while at Lehigh. He received his Ph.D. in computer, information, and control engineering from the University of Michigan in 1969.[5]

After completing his graduate studies, Foley was first employed by the University of North Carolina. In 1977, he accepted a faculty position at George Washington University, where he became chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Foley joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 1991.[3]

Shortly after moving to Georgia Tech, Foley founded the GVU Center, which in 1996 was ranked first by U.S. News & World Report for graduate computer science work in graphics and user interaction. That same year, he was appointed director of the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Foley also served as editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Graphics from 1991 to 1995.[3]

In 1997, Foley was recognized by ACM SIGGRAPH with the prestigious Steven A. Coons Award. The receipt of this biannual award places Foley among the company of computer graphics pioneers such as Andy van Dam, Jim Blinn, Edwin Catmull and Ivan Sutherland.[3][6]

In 2007 he was recognized by ACM SIGCHI with their Lifetime Achievement Award.[7]

Foley accepted the position of chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Information Technology Center America (MEITCA) in 1998, directing corporate R&D at four labs in North America. He returned to Georgia as Executive Director and then CEO of Yamacraw, Georgia's economic development initiative in the design of broadband systems, devices and chips.[3]

Foley became chairman of the Computing Research Association (CRA) in 2001. He stepped down from this position in 2005 but remained on CRA's board of directors until 2006.

Foley Scholars Endowment[edit]

The Foley Scholars Endowment was established in honor of James Foley as part of the GVU Center's 15th anniversary celebration. The endowment funds two $5,000 scholarships awarded annually to GVU-affiliated students who demonstrate "overall brilliance and potential impact."[8] The first two Foley Scholars were named in 2008.[9]

Notable awards[edit]

  • IEEE Fellow, 1986. "For contributions to computer graphics."[10]
  • ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics, 1997.[3]
  • ACM Fellow, 1999. "Through his books, courses, papers, organizational, and professional contributions, Foley has had a broad and lasting impact on the computer graphics field and on ACM."[11]
  • ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007. "It is difficult to think of anyone who had a larger role in the institutionalization of HCI as a discipline."[12][13]
  • National Academy of Engineering Member, 2008. "For contributions to the establishment of the fields of computer graphics and human-computer interaction."[14]
  • Georgia Tech Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award, 2008. "The highest honor Georgia Tech bestows on faculty."[15]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Foley, James; A. van Dam; S. Feiner; J. Hughes (1995). Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice (2nd C ed.). Reading, MA, USA: Addison-Wesley. p. 1174.
  • ——; ——; ——; ——; R. Phillips (1993). Introduction to Computer Graphics. Reading, MA, USA: Addison-Wesley. p. 559.
  • ——; ——; ——; —— (1990). Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice. Reading, MA, USA: Addison-Wesley. p. 1174.
  • ——; —— (1982). Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics. Reading, MA, USA: Addison-Wesley (IBM Systems Programming Series). p. 664.


  1. ^ "James Foley Named Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications" (Press release). Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. 2001. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  2. ^ "Faculty Director: James Foley". Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "1997 Stephen A. Coons Award". ACM SIGGRAPH. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  4. ^ "Foley Named Interim Dean of the College of Computing" (Press release). Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  5. ^ "James D. Foley: Education". James D. Foley. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  6. ^ "The Steven A. Coons Award: Recipients". ACM SIGGRAPH. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  7. ^ "2007 SIGCHI Awards". ACM SIGCHI. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  8. ^ "Foley Scholars Endowment". GVU Center. Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  9. ^ "First Foley Scholars Named" (Press release). Georgia Tech College of Computing. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  10. ^ "IEEE Fellow Class of 1986". IEEE. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  11. ^ "ACM Fellows Award: James D. Foley". ACM. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  12. ^ "SIGCHI 2007 Awards". ACM SIGCHI. Archived from the original on 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  13. ^ "Jim Foley Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from SIGCHI" (Press release). Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  14. ^ "National Academy of Engineering Elects 65 Members and Nine Foreign Associates" (Press release). National Academy of Engineering. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  15. ^ "Distinguished Scientist, Distinguished Professor, Distinguished Man". Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. Retrieved 2008-02-03.

External links[edit]