Cockrell, Loren Thomas (1917-2000)

Cockrell, Loren Thomas (1917-2000)

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU

1987 (FERP 1982-1987)

Educational Background

University of California, Berkeley, 1954 MA

University of California, Berkeley, 1952 BA

University of Wisconsin, 1941

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1952-1987

Administrative and Professional Experience

Commercial and Industrial Photography with Barry Evans Photography, Berkeley, CA, 1947‑1952.

Personal Commentary

Photography at SJSU, CA, 1930 to the present.

Photography was a first course, as taught by Dr. Brauer in the Physics area, in Tower Hall. In the basement was Chemistry's storeroom, and the Photo area was there, too, in those windowless rooms. Upstairs was Physics and Geology, and windows.

Les Brubaker took photo classes from Dr. Brauer, and had given me mimeo'd sheets that they used to check shutter speeds: drop some object from the second floor, and time its fall. Knowing s = 1/2gt2, they would determine its rate of fall, and this was an attempt to find the shutter speeds on the cameras they were using. This was about 1932, and Science went into the Science Building built about 1938. Photo was given space is the basement, and George Stone was brought in to head it up. He went off to war, and Les handled the program until he returned about 1946. Les opted to handle the Science store‑room, and Stone got the program under way.

I got involved by using the G.I. Bill to attend San Francisco's California School of Fine Arts, and studying with Ansel Adams and Minor White, 6/46 to 8/47, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. A bonanza that led me to a job as Commercial Photographer with a studio in Berkeley. We sold lots of photographic equipment to the Macmillan textbook salesman who visited professors at SJSU, and Stone told Larry about his need for help in his program. I started the Fall quarter in 1952, and it developed (no pun intended) into giving of myself and photography know‑how for many, many years.

Photo was in the Science Area until 1968. Duncan Hall was being developed, and we were in the planning of the new Photo area. The Fall semester of '68 found us transferred to Industrial Studies, and the new Duncan Hall. Another bonus of going into a new building is the new equipment you have planned to use, and enjoy. I.S. had a small darkroom, and good equipment, and we consolidated the two areas. But, we had no degree program. Nor was there any chance of one while remaining in Industrial Studies. A Photo Inventory was done in 1968‑69 of Photo's use, where, and how: Duncan Hall; Journalism, Joe Swan; TV & Film, C. Chess; Industrial Studies, B. Hazarian; Admn. of Justice; Instr. Resources; the Administration was amazed.

In the Fall of '79 we added Brian Taylor, a very fine photographer, and we had a search and came up with Ben Heiprin, an individual with a lot of skills, and business skills. Mort Boss retired around this time, and Chuck Sanders joined us from I.S.

Up through the Spring of 1986, Photography was in Duncan Hall under the Division of Technology. Then, the Fall of '86, the Art Department began running the program, and I taught one more semester to see their approach: the Art area was in the photography portion of their program. Reed Estabrook was their first Program Coordinator, I believe, and further checking brought up the name of Brian Taylor as present Program Coordinator.

There is a degree program in Photo that the Art Department has started, and one can come up with a BA in Art with an emphasis in Photo, and an MFA in Photo! They have a large number of courses in Photo for the advanced, as well as the beginning student. I feel that Photo is alive and well at SJSU!

Date Completed: 10/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Cockrell, Loren Thomas (1917-2000)