Foley Named Interim Dean of the College of Computing

Jim Foley, Interim Dean
August 7, 2008

Following the announcement that Richard DeMillo was stepping down, Georgia Tech Provost Gary Schuster has named Dr. James D. Foley, professor in the School of Interactive Computing, to the position of interim dean of the College of Computing, effective July 1, 2008.

Earlier this month, DeMillo announced that he would return to the faculty as a Distinguished Professor in the College of Computing with a joint appointment in the College of Management. In a letter to campus, Schuster praised DeMillo’s “creative approach” that “laid a foundation for the College into its next phase of growth.” DeMillo will be working with Foley in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition process.

"I look forward to working with everyone as we continue to move the College forward. The last thing we want to do is rest on our laurels garnered over the past years – laurels wilt quickly,” Foley said. “We have made impressive strides under the leadership of Rich DeMillo, and I know everyone here joins me in thanking him for all he has done for the College.”

Foley was selected following recommendations from the college’s faculty and staff members. His appointment was enthusiastically endorsed by his computing colleagues for this critical role.

"I am very pleased that Jim has agreed to serve in this interim capacity,” said Schuster. “I have known Jim for quite some time and given his experience and understanding of issues, I regularly seek his counsel and advice on faculty related issues. He is well-connected in the national and international computing community and I am confident that the College will continue to advance under his guidance and leadership."

Foley was one of the computer graphics pioneers who helped establish Human Computer Interaction (HCI) as a discipline. He is the first author of what many consider the definitive text in computer graphics, “Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics,” which has sold 400,000 copies in ten translations. Earlier this year, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, considered among the highest distinctions given to an engineer. In addition, Foley was awarded the 2008 Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honor Georgia Tech bestows on faculty a faculty member.

Foley joined the College of Computing as a professor of computer science in 1991 and founded the GVU Center. Four years later. U.S. News and World Report ranked the Center number one for graduate computer science work in graphics and user interaction.

Active in industry, Foley became director of Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory (MERL) in 1996 and then CEO and chairman of Mitsubishi Electric Information Technology Center America in 1998. He returned to Georgia in late 1999 to head up the state’s Yamacraw economic development initiative in design of broadband systems, devices and chips. For four years (2001-2005), Foley chaired the Computing Research Association (CRA), which represents more than 200 research universities, corporate research labs, and professional societies.

A search committee for the next dean of the College of Computing will convene in the fall.

Read Dean DeMillo's Letter to the College of Computing Community.