Carolina Cruz-Neira international pioneer leading UALR

Carolina Cruz-Neira, globally recognized as an international pioneer in the areas of virtual reality and interactive visualization, is the new director of the George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center (EAC) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

On August 27, the Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) and Governor Mike Beebe announced her appointment as one of two new ARA Scholars who will share their knowledge and research to create new paths for the state’s economic success. The first ARA scholar from UALR, Dr. Cruz is also Donaghey Distinguished Professor in Information Science.

UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson said Dr. Cruz brings a new dimension to the EAC that will benefit UALR students, faculty, and the entire state. Dr. Cruz said the center was founded to make a positive impact on large and small businesses in Arkansas She predicts endless opportunities. “As our expertise circle expands, we will be better prepared to become a focus of knowledge and research productivity spanning disciplines from engineering, science, arts and humanities, covering almost every aspect of human life.”

Prior to joining UALR, Dr. Cruz was William Hansen Hall Board of Regents Super chair in Telecommunications, Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the founding CEO of the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise. Last year she was asked to serve on the EAC board.

The EAC was established through a $5 million gift from the George W. Donaghey Foundation to enable UALR and Arkansas to solve critical problems through research and innovation in virtual reality and interactive visualization.

Business Week magazine named Dr. Cruz a “rising research star” in the next generation of computer science pioneers. She has been inducted as an ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) Computer Pioneer and received the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award among other national and international recognitions. She has created and deployed a variety of technologies that have become standard tools in industry, government and academia.

She has received multi-million dollar awards from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Lab, the Department of Energy, and Deere and Company, among others. Part of her career has been dedicated to transferring research results into daily use. Dr. Cruz has spearheaded several Open Source initiatives to disseminate and grow practical technologies by leading entrepreneurial initiatives to commercialize results. She serves in many international technology boards and government technology advisory committees. For additional information, visit,

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