PEMBROKE – “I am the result of education,” UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings says in the accompanying video.
“And that’s why I’m so committed to the power and the potential and the promise of education.”
Cummings, a member of the Lumbee Indian tribe, grew up on a small farm 3 miles from UNCP’s campus. He went away to school and eventually became an accomplished cardiothoracic surgeon.
“I’ve held over 3,000 hearts in my hand,” he says, clenching his right hand as if he’s holding one at the moment. “So I’ve always appreciated the potential of education to take a kid from the farm and put him into an operating room, operating on the human heart.”
Cummings later entered health-care administration and eventually became North Carolina’s Medicaid director, overseeing health insurance for more than 1.8 million low-income North Carolinians.1
He has served as chair of both the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees and the UNCP Foundation. Then in July 2015, “I was given this opportunity to come back home and be the chancellor of this university that influenced me in subtle ways as I grew up,” he says.
With the Class of 2018 set to graduate this weekend, it’s clear Cummings sees plenty of potential at UNC Pembroke for more kids from Southeastern North Carolina.