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Sunday, May 19, 2024 - 03:48 PM


First Published in 1994


Kelvin J Cochran

Kelvin Cochran, senior vice president of Human Resources & Faith Initiatives for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), will headline the Presidential Leadership Series Friday, Oct. 28, at 11 a.m. in the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium on the Bob Jones University campus.

“The goal of the Presidential Leadership Series is to expose students to current issues and external speakers who can address them from both their personal and professional experience,” said BJU President Steve Pettit. “Chief Cochran has been at the forefront of the fight to preserve religious liberty. His courage and fortitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds will be a great testament to our student body.” 

Cochran’s educational journey includes a bachelor's in Organizational Management from Wiley College (1999), a master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Louisana Tech University (2004), and a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University in 2018. 

In 1981, Cochran began his career as a firefighter with the Shreveport Fire Department in Louisiana. After multiple promotions, he was appointed fire chief in 1999.  

In 2008, he was appointed fire chief of the City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD). The following year, President Barack Obama appointed him United States Fire Administrator. Cochran was re-appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed as fire chief of AFRD in 2010. He later served for five years as chief operating officer of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. 

In his personal capacity, Cochran wrote a book for a men’s Bible study at his church which referenced traditional marriage. A lawsuit was brought against him and he was fired from his role as Atlanta fire chief even though an investigation revealed no evidence of discrimination. ADF represented Chief Cochran in a suit filed against the city in federal court to protect his rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and protest his unjust termination. In October 2018, the city of Atlanta agreed to pay Cochran $1.2 million in the wake of a federal court ruling in his favor. 

He and his wife, Carolyn, have three children and one granddaughter.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the parking garage located directly behind Rodeheaver Auditorium as well as on campus streets.