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Robert Catto

Inducted September 2021

Citation:

In recognition of Robert Catto as the driving force behind the growth, emerging technology, and game studies education during his ongoing tenure at Full Sail University. Coined the “Godfather of VR” by the Full Sail community, he authored several of its degree programs, including its Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Development, Game Design, Simulation & Visualization and Computer Science, as well as its Game Design Master of Science.  Additionally, he pioneered the visualization of numerous emerging technology facilities at Full Sail including its game development studio, the FabLab, AR/VR and Simulation Labs.

In 1990, before joining Full Sail, he created the first computer technology education program and lab of its magnitude in the state of Florida at University High School in Orange County, Florida.

As an early pioneer of VR and simulation in Florida, Robert Catto not only shaped the lives of his students, but also the way education is offered for those pursuing careers in the industry. His passion and tenacity for technology have been exuded in his 30+ year career in technology and continues still today.

Biography:

Robert Catto graduated with his teaching certificate in technology education and was approached by Orange Country Public Schools’ head of technology programs with the concept of reimagining shop class. This prompted him to pursue his teaching degree at the University of West Florida while University High School was under construction.

Mr. Catto received his teaching degree in 1990, and he went on to set up the first technology education program in Florida at University High School and oversee the first fully immersive virtual reality (VR) lab in the world that was located at a high school. Under his guidance, his students developed projects that explored molecular bonding through VR experiences, and a fully simulated, 1/40 scale space shuttle launch with the involvement of NASA. The space shuttle simulation was featured at Disney’s EPCOT theme park during Space Week, and it later got Mr. Catto named as “Disney Teacher of the Year.”

He accepted a position at Full Sail University in 1995 where he taught a virtual reality class in the digital media program. He soon wrote and developed Full Sail’s game studies curriculum, and by 2004 he had created four different bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, with additional programs in the years since.

In Mr. Catto’s 25-plus years at Full Sail University, he has been involved (with students and colleagues) in various projects, the effects of which have been felt in multiple industries. These projects have been as diverse as the first VR, powered paraglider flight simulator, to an interactive monitor that helps children improve cognitive abilities while developing crucial motor skills, to collaborating with the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop adaptive technology for paralyzed and disabled veterans.

With the help of the degree programs Mr. Catto has authored – and still teaches – Full Sail University continues developing a productive, technologically competent workforce in Central Florida’s modeling and simulation epicenter. His contributions have also benefited the Defense Department agencies that use modeling and simulation in their routine operations. Many of the students who have learned from Mr. Catto’s curricula have established themselves as cornerstones of the industry’s evolving military training capability, which uses gaming technology as its underlying command and control component.


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