TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Washington State University Tri-Cities presented the inaugural James A. Cochran Founder’s Award at commencement Friday evening.

Created this year to recognize and honor individuals who have had a significant and enduring impact on WSU Tri-Cities, the first of its kind award was presented to Founding Dean James Cochran, the man for whom the honor is named.

“It is most fitting and appropriate that Dean Cochran is the first to receive this honor,” said WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Larry James in presenting the award at the campus’ 14th commencement ceremony.

“Jim has had a major and enduring impact on the Tri–Cities campus. When he came here in 1989, there was an educational consortium of five universities, mostly delivering graduate programs. There were five faculty and one building.” James said.

Under Cochran’s leadership, the campus grew to 1,200 students, more than 125 faculty and staff members and offered classes in teaching and research space that had grown five fold.

James said Cochran’s role in advancing the campus included establishing key relationships with community and industry leaders that were essential to the success of WSU Tri-Cities.

WSU President V. Lane Rawlins joined Chancellor James in making the presentation.

The Founder’s Award, a cast pewter medallion, will be presented at future commencements to individuals in recognition of their lasting impact on the Tri-Cities campus.