• Awards

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Lifetime Achievement Awards

IMERSA is pleased and proud to announce Dr. Donna Cox as recipient of the 2017 IMERSA Lifetime Achievement Award.


Each year, IMERSA extends a legacy award to a deserving recipient who embodies the visionary skills that make immersive experiences unforgettable. In particular, we strive to recognize those pioneers who have embraced the unique possibilities of the dome. These include people involved in documentary-style productions as well as live-action, animation, and musical entertainment. The honor, given yearly to a member of the immersive community whose contributions have advanced the medium’s art and science. “Donna Cox stands at the center of some of the best-known and innovative projects available in the immersive community,” said IMERSA CEO Dan Neafus. “We all owe her and her team a great debt for their significant contributions to the world of fulldome film. This honor is truly the highest accolade we can give to someone who has had such a profound impact on our profession.” 

Donna J. Cox, MFA, PhD, is the University of Illinois’s first Michael Aiken Chair, Director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Director of the Illinois Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media Institute (eDream), and Professor in the School of Art and Design at the College of Fine and Applied Arts. She is a member of the NCSA leadership team, and is a recognized pioneer in scientific visualization for public outreach and education and originator of the collaborative model of Renaissance Teams and the concept of visaphors (digital metaphors of computational science). Through public outreach projects, Dr. Cox and her collaborators have inspired millions with cinematic virtual tours through astrophysics, earth sciences, engineering, and other data domains. AVL’s work is shared through venues such as international digital-dome museum shows, high-definition documentary television programs, and IMAX movies. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry selected Dr. Cox as one of 40 modern Leonardo DaVinci’s. As Director of eDream Institute, she is working with Illinois campus leadership to build a new interdisciplinary academic research and education program that includes visualization and interactive performance.

Dr. Cox is well known for her work with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She holds the Michael Aiken Endowed Chair at NCSA and is a steering committee member and Director of the Advanced Scientific Visualization Laboratory. Her work on scientific visualization has enhanced and been at the heart of some of the most successful fulldome shows, including; Solar Superstorms, Dynamic Earth and “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity”, an NSF-funded planetarium show that has been shown at over 200 fulldome theaters world-wide.

Her team provided visualizations for the IMAX film “Cosmic Voyage”, as well as a number of traveling exhibitions that utilize her and her team’s state-of-the-art scientific visualizations.

Past winners have included Laserium’s Ivan Dryer, for his contributions to musical entertainment with LASER’s, Jeri Panek of Evans & Sutherland, for her work in bringing digital domes around the world, and Ian MacLennan, the veteran dome guru, for a lifetime of contributions and guidance to the global community of planetariums, museums, and theme parks.

Lifetime Achievement Recipients

Jeri Panek 2014

Jeri Panek 2014

Evans & Sutherland

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Ian Mclennan 2015

Ian Mclennan 2015

Ian Mclennan Consulting

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Greg MacGillivray 2016

Greg MacGillivray 2016

MacGillivray Freeman Films

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