New chancellor envisions UNCP as top school

January 27, 2016
Laurinburg Exchange

The new chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke said he wants to make his school the first choice for students in Scotland County and the surrounding area.

Dr. Robin G. Cummings made the remarks during a reception Tuesday morning sponsored by the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce.

“We want to see Scotland County students on our campus,” said Cummings, who began as UNCP’s sixth chancellor on July 15. “We want to make UNCP an institiutional choice in this area … the first choice when it comes to a university.”

Cummings began his 30-minute talk under a rain-drizzled tent with the words from a nearby sign that read: “What we do here today will surely effect the future.”

“That’s what it’s all about, is the future,” he said.

Cummings earned his undergraduate degree in zoology at UNC Chapel Hill before attending Duke University Medical School.

He practiced medicine with the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Moore Regional Hospital, where he chaired the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Section of Cardiovascular and General Surgery. After leaving his surgical practice, he remained active with the hospital, serving on the Moore Regional Hospital Board of Trustees and chairing the First Health Moore Regional Hospital Foundation.

He served two years as chairman of the UNCP Board of Trustees and as a member for four years. He also served as chair of the UNCP Foundation.

“With his broad experience, his profound appreciation for the institution and his demonstrated commitment to scholarship and public service, Chancellor Cummings will be a forceful and effective leader for UNCP,” said Dr. Cammie Hunt, associate vice chancellor for Engaged Outreach at UNCP.

The 59-year-old Cummings came to work as chancellor after serving as acting health director for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

“Education, just like health care is continually changing almost on the daily basis,” said Cummings. “To me education represents a path to success, it gives people self-esteem, it gives them confidence, it gives them purpose, it gives them options in life.”

Cummings added that he sees education as a force for good.

“I think it’s a power and we need to expand on it as much as possible,” he said.

About 80 people attended the chamber’s Rise and Shine breakfast event held at COMtech Gardens.

One of the guests was an old friend of Cummings, Greg Wood, president and CEO of Scotland Health Care System.

“UNCP reaches out to the entire region, not just Robeson County,” said Wood, who came to thank Cummings for being a strong leader throughout the state on healthcare.

Wood also praised the quality of students that UNCP produces.

“I think that there are an awful lot of students out of UNCP that work at our place,” Wood said. “They’re teaching kids to be strong professionals.”

Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.