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Late Sen. Cochran’s Legacy Expanded

Donors Join to Build Resources for Scholarships and Archives

The life of the late U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, who earned undergraduate and law degrees at UM, is being honored with the Cochran Endowment in the School of Law. The Thad Cochran Research Center, where the National Center for Natural Products Research is housed, is in the university's Science District. The senator's efforts helped strengthen UM as an international leader in natural products research.

The University of Mississippi – as well as the state and nation – lost one of its strongest voices of support with the passing of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran on May 30, 2019. Thanks to alumni and friends dedicated to expanding his legacy, an endowment was established for scholarships, educational opportunities and preserving his congressional archives.

The UM School of Law hosted a tribute event during the fall semester to honor the service of the 10th longest serving senator in American history and build resources in several areas. The Cochran Endowment provides law scholarships, an international law fellowship, a military promise program, preservation of his collection in the University Libraries’ Modern Political Archives and resources to the law dean’s strategic initiatives.

School of Law Dean, Susan Duncan, said the endowments support areas of great importance to the longtime public servant who earned both undergraduate and law degrees from Ole Miss. He studied international law at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, which greatly impacted his life. Before his political career, Cochran served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and was an educator of military law and public policy.

“We are so grateful to all individuals and organizations who contributed to these endowments. Sen. Thad Cochran has impacted the lives of all Mississippians, and we are honored to continue his legacy,” Duncan said.

“The generous contributions from alumni and friends to honor Sen. Cochran will change the lives of so many students who wish to pursue legal careers and help current and future generations understand American history.”

Scholarships from the Cochran Endowment assist community-oriented Mississippi residents with a dedication to service earn law degrees at Ole Miss. The Thad Cochran International Law Fellowship recognizes the importance of international education by providing Mississippian students at the Law School opportunities to study abroad, gaining new perspectives and cultural exposure.

The Thad Cochran Military Promise Program portion of the endowment provides law scholarships for students seeking careers in the military. The endowment also provides scholarships for veterans seeking legal education.

In 2017, Sen. Cochran donated more than 3,500 linear feet of physical records and five terabytes of electronic record from the last 45 years of his career. This political archive collection will serve as a resource for researchers who can explore correspondence, reports, photographs and recordings of significant political events in recent history.

Many thanks go to donors who honored Sen. Cochran with gifts of all sizes. Those who made major gifts include:

  • Southern Company Charitable Foundation
  • Entergy Corp
  • C Spire Foundation
  • Sanderson Farms

Other major gifts include Airbus Group, Altria Client Services LLC, Boeing, H.F. McCarty Jr. Family Foundation; Huntington Ingalls Industries, John N. Palmer Foundation, Leidos, Inc., Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

In 1972, Cochran was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Fourth District of the state. In 1978, Cochran successfully ran for the U.S. Senate becoming the first Republican in over 100 years to win statewide election in Mississippi.

As in the House of Representatives, his interests in the Senate reflected issues crucial to Mississippi: education, agriculture, economic development and defense. His authorship of legislation helped to support initiatives in teacher training, adult literacy, wilderness protection, shipbuilding, military bases and farm programs, as did his distinguished service as chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

To support the Cochran Endowment, individuals and organizations can mail a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the endowment’s name in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or visit https://umfoundation.com/SenatorCochran.

For information, contact Suzette Matthews at [email protected] or 662-915-1122.