Athlete to Academic

Cochran award

John Cochran, department head of aerospace engineering, was presented the 2012 Walter Gilbert Award from Auburn Athletics in October at Jordan-Hare Stadium prior to the Tiger’s game against Texas A&M. The Gilbert Award is presented annually in memory of the Tigers’ three-time All-America center Walter Gilbert, who later became vice president of Texaco’s European oil operations. Cochran, a former Auburn football player, lettered at linebacker from 1963-1965. He was named to the Academic All-SEC team and the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete team in 1965, when he had an A+ average in aerospace engineering. He also was awarded Auburn’s Cliff Hare Award and the President’s Award in 1965.

Cochran graduated from Auburn in 1966 and earned his master’s in 1967. He obtained his doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1970, and then a law degree from the Jones Law School in 1976. After more than two decades as a faculty member at Auburn, Cochran was named head of Auburn’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. His tenure of teaching and research has included astrodynamics, guidance, control and stability of motion, and he has developed simulations of aerospace systems including towed maneuverable atmospheric flight vehicles, missile launchers and tethered satellites. Following a 20-year tenure as head of the department, Cochran will retire on July 1.

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