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A Legacy of Research at the Fox School of Business: Dean Harry Cochran

March 20th, 2018

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Harry A. Cochran, Dean, 1934-1960

Since its founding a century ago, the Fox School of Business has produced outstanding thinkers, innovative doers, and formidable trailblazers.

Distinguished research has been at the forefront of Temple University’s initiatives since the 1940s. Following World War II, the federal government had a vested interest in funding research centers all across the country.

Harry A. Cochran, then dean of Temple’s School of Business and Public Administration, predicted that this movement towards research would steer this university to great heights.

“Harry Cochran was smart enough to figure out how to take advantage of this,” said Dr. William Aaronson, PhD ’86, former director of the Fox PhD program, and current associate professor at the College of Public Health. “He had a vision of a research enterprise with the business school that is very much still alive today.”

In the mid-1940s, Dean Cochran led the Fox School’s research agenda, creating a Bureau of Economic and Business Research and establishing the school’s first journal, The Economics and Business Bulletin, to disseminate its findings. It was over a decade later that a watershed report from the Ford Foundation highlighted the trend of business schools changing from trade schools to research institutions. The Fox School was ahead of its time, already a large and prestigious business school as others began to recognize the importance of a research agenda.

Dr. Harry A. Cochran, left, and Dr. Millard E. Gladfelter admire Dean Cochran’s portrait in 1967. The portrait now resides in the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives on the third floor of Alter Hall.

While Dean Cochran retired in 1960, his legacy grew. His successors recognized the need for a doctoral program to support the mission of leadership in high-quality research, so in the early 1960s, the Fox School established its PhD program, which awarded its first doctoral degree in 1969 to Lacy H. Hunt.

The doctoral programs at the Fox School grew to encompass PhD programs in Statistics, Decision Neuroscience, and Business Administration. In 2014, the school once again blazed a trail, instituting an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA) program, a unique opportunity for industry executives and business leaders that few schools offer today. “The DBA focuses on applied research,” said Paul A. Pavlou, senior associate dean of research at the Fox School. “It plays a very important role in creating the next generation of seasoned high-level executives who can inform their organizations through rigorous research.” And Dean M. Moshe Porat constantly offers strong support for the doctoral programs at the Fox School.

Cochran’s vision became a virtuous cycle. Research would not be something we merely did, but who we were. By creating an environment that would house brilliant minds, past and present deans of the Fox School have demonstrated their commitment to support leaders in both academia and industry. From its roots in 1918 to its continued success in 2018, the Fox School continues its tradition of distinction through work ethic, innovation, and research impact.

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