College Alumnus Jack Cochran Creates First College Professorship

The faculty are the heart of the College of Natural Sciences, conducting field-leading research and outstanding teaching every day. And thanks to alumnus Jack Cochran, M.D. (biological science, ’68), there is more to support faculty excellence.

Dr. Cochran has established the Dr. Jack Cochran Family Professorship in Natural Sciences, the first active college term professorship. It will provide salary, student, and other support to a member of the college faculty who has demonstrated knowledge, experience, and a strong scholarly record in the life sciences or STEM disciplines. A faculty member, at appointment of the dean of the college, will hold the professorship for three years, after which they may be reappointed, or another faculty member awarded the title. In particular, Dr. Cochran hopes that the professorship will help advance women faculty members in the sciences and medical fields.

“We are incredibly grateful to have an alum like Jack who so clearly sees the value in high-quality, dedicated faculty – and who so generously gives back to strengthen that mission,” said Dean Jan Nerger, who also co-founded the Women in Natural Sciences program to support women faculty members and students in the college. “I know that this new professorship will help us attract and retain extraordinarily talented faculty members,” she said.

Dr. Cochran has had a long and impressive career in the medical field, initially as a practicing reconstructive surgeon and then in senior leadership roles. From 1999 to 2007, he was president of the Colorado Permanente Group of Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. Based on the progress and excellence attained by the group in Colorado, he was recruited and served as the executive director and C.E.O. of the Permanente Federation, which is the national leadership for the eight Permanente Medical Groups that now employ 21,000 physicians caring for 10 million Kaiser Permanente patients. Dr. Cochran supported the development and deployment of the electronic health record and the use of technology to advance the quality and efficiency of health care, making care more patient-centered.He has also personally advocated for and supported the value of nurses and health care in teams. He frequently lectures on these topics and is co-author of the book The Doctor Crisis: How Physicians Can, and Must Lead the Way to Better Health Care.

Dr. Cochran was named one of the “50 Most Influential Physicians in Healthcare” in 2009, 2010, and 2012.

Philanthropy has long been a part of Dr. Cochran’s life. For more than three decades, in addition to his financial support, he has volunteered as a surgeon initially providing care in South America and Asia. For the past 30 years, he has supported clinical care and the construction of two hospitals in East Africa. Dr. Cochran also enjoys sharing his CSU pride with his family, including his grandson Taylor, pictured right.