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September 30, 2009

Mrs. Betty Cummins to receive ULM Alumni Association’s most prestigious award

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Alumni Association announces that its highest honor, The Golden Arrow Award, will go to Betty Cummins of Richland Parish near Mangham.

“The alumni association established the award in 1981 to recognize alumni who serve the alumni association and the university well,” said Executive Director Keith Brown.

“And the association could not have found a person any more deserving than Mrs. Cummins, who has devoted so much time, energy and financial backing in support of our university and her alma mater,” he said.

Cummins, who graduated from ULM in 1960 with a bachelor’s of arts in elementary education, will receive her award at the ULM Alumni Awards Brunch and Homecoming Presentation, Oct. 3, at the ULM Conference Center. Her husband, Jay Cummins, also graduated that year with a degree in animal husbandry. In 1970, Mr. Cummins began his farming career, raising cotton, corn and cattle on their farm near Mangham.

Cummins served on the ULM Foundation Board of Trustees for 11 years and was named its president in 2006 and 2007. During that time, she helmed a university residence project now known as Bon Aire, which serves as the home for the ULM President and family.

The planning and completion of Bon Aire was one of the highlights of her long affiliation with ULM, said Cummins. The home overlooks Bayou DeSiard and provides a gracious setting for the university to extend its hospitality to students, faculty and campus guests.

“When I looked at the property and realized what it could add to the campus,” said Cummins. “I became exited about the possibilities. It’s something that only enhances our image.”

If Bon Aire is the warm embrace of ULM, then Scott Plaza – the university’s “quad” area central to all campus activities – might be considered its heart.

The plaza exists through a capital gift provided by the Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott Foundation, established by Cummins’ parents in 1961. The Foundation provides a perpetual fund enabling the family to give back to the communities that played a vital part in their lives.

It is a legacy that Cummins is proud to continue. “It’s just something you do. It’s the way you live,” she said. “My father taught me an awful lot. He never taught me to be just like him, but it turned out I was, at least in what I value.”

The Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott Foundation is the recipient of the 2005 Hall of Distinction Award, the university’s most prestigious award and is a Tower Society member of the Kitty DeGree Bell Tower Society, the highest recognition category for cumulative, lifetime giving to the university.

Other capital gifts of the Foundation include the Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott Foundation Great Room, the central reception/entertainment area in “Bon Aire,” which was named in honor of ULM President Emeritus Dr. George T. Walker.

Cummins, who serves as past president of the Foundation, is also proud of the ULM scholarships and professorships that are funded and utilized as a tool for the area’s best and brightest students and educators.

The Foundation has provided for an Endowed Chair in Clinical Pharmacy Practice; an Endowed Professorship in Teaching Excellence and an Endowed Professorship in Agriculture.

In addition, the Foundation funds a scholarship for the Northeast Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and the Mayme and Tom Scott Endowed Scholarship, established to honor the Scotts’ 50th wedding anniversary in 1985.

“My mother taught me the value of pursuing a higher education,” said Cummins, of her outstanding support of the university through the years. “It’s the best thing she could’ve done for me.”

Cummins has two children, Scott Cummins and Mary Ellen Thompson, and five grandchildren. She is a member of First United Methodist Church of Winnsboro, is affiliated with the Winnsboro Bank Board and served two terms on the Board of the St. Francis Medical Center.

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