Cochran Chapel construction
October 10, 2019

In heart and mind

Embracing the vision of Thomas Cochran

In November 1916, alumnus Thomas Cochran wrote in a letter to then headmaster Alfred E. Stearns, “I wish the time would come soon when I could do something more substantial for Phillips Academy. It is much in my heart and mind, and I dream about it.”

The Wall Street banker, Class of 1890, then made certain that dream took concrete—and brick—form. Through Cochran’s own gifts and his fundraising assistance, the Academy built with precision planning and ardor, undaunted by the Great Depression. And in roughly a decade Cochran orchestrated Andover’s physical transformation with a masterwork of Colonial Revival architecture.

Among his achievements, Cochran helped construct: George Washington Hall (1926), Samuel Phillips Hall (1928), Paul Revere House and the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (1929), Paresky Commons and the Andover Inn (1930), the Addison Gallery (1931), and Cochran Chapel (1932).

Much of Andover’s campus revival was designed by New York architect Charles A. Platt, whose elegant touch can be seen on the OWHL, pictured during construction in 1928.

Cochran’s campus vision continues to inspire Andover today—and his philanthropic spirit lives on through the Thomas Cochran Society. Founded in 2012, the society honors those who have made lifetime investments of $250,000 or more in the Academy. Today, membership stands at more than 530 strong—with donors supporting diverse and vital priorities, from building projects and athletics to academic excellence and financial aid. 

Learn more about the Cochran Society at

Originally printed in The Vista: Views from the Knowledge & Goodness Campaign, summer 2019.

Categories: Campaign News

Other Stories

Jerry Secundy
Leveraging change

Before becoming a lifelong environmental rights advocate, Jerry Secundy ’59 helped desegregate Harvard

Angie Thomas
The audacity of optimism

Best-selling author Angie Thomas delivers MLK Day keynote