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Enabling Leaders to Lead

Three diverse graduate students in business dress stride confidently across UCLA’s campus.
Beloved professor William Cockrum leads alumni and friends in supporting UCLA Anderson students who believe in giving back.

People with passion make things happen. At UCLA Anderson School of Management, students are passionate about making the world better through their accomplishments. And Professor William Cockrum, who has taught more than 7,000 students in 35 years at the school, helps them do that and inspires others to follow suit.

A Fellowship with a Following

With a recent gift to endow fellowships, Cockrum is leading Anderson alumni and friends to establish the William M. Cockrum Fellowship for current students who have contributed to their communities and aspire to even greater influence. He sets a great example. A highly successful financial professional, he came to UCLA Anderson uncertain if he would be a good teacher. Yet he has been recognized as the nation’s top entrepreneurial professor and is so beloved by his students they call him “Professor Bill.”

To date, his philanthropic example has inspired $7 million in commitments to fellowships from more than 150 donors and the Chancellor’s Centennial Graduate Scholars Match initiative. And the fund will continue to grow as fellowship recipients promise to support future students who also believe in giving back. “Growing the endowment is critical for any university,” Cockrum says.

Investing in Potential for Progress

Cockrum has seen firsthand that Anderson students are leaders, changing the world through entrepreneurship, management, and more. But he also has seen graduates make decisions based on student debt rather than on how they really want to make their marks. Fellowship support gives greater freedom: Graduates don’t have to worry about paying it back — just paying it forward.

“It’s not just about management,” Cockrum says. “We’re trying to inspire students to make the world better, and we seek to motivate people — like the 38,000 current Anderson alumni in 100 countries, including 15,000 in Southern California.” And Cockrum keeps in touch with many, even while teaching classes, advising student associations, and serving on the Board of Advisors for UCLA Anderson and the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Whether contributing philanthropically, mentoring students, or advising industry, Cockrum’s motive is the same: “It all comes back to helping people.”

To learn more, contact

Caroline Su310-206-9093

Published September 2018

Bill Cockrum poses for a photo with two students and a fellow advisor at an event.

Cockrum (second from left) joins students and a fellow advisor at an event.

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