Cummings tabbed as UNCP chancellor

Robin Cummings

CHAPEL HILL — Dr. Robin Cummings has been named the next chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Cummings, who serves as deputy secretary for Health Services and Medicaid director for the Department of Health and Human Services, was selected today during a special meeting of the Board of Governors.

A native of Pembroke, a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a former chairman of the UNC-Pembroke board of trustees, Cummings will assume his duties as chancellor on July 15.

Cummings is a board-certified general and cardiothoracic surgeon. He attended Duke University Medical School after obtaining an undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cummings practiced cardiothoracic surgery at the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Moore Regional Hospital from 1992 to 2004 and in 2009 accepted the position of medical director and executive director of Community Care of the Sandhills, a regional healthcare organization.

He joined the NC Department of Health and Human Services as director of the NC Office of Rural Health and Community Care in 2013 and six months later was named deputy secretary for Health Services and acting state health director. He has overseen Medicaid since March 2014.

Cummings will replace Chancellor Kyle Carter, who announced in November that he would be stepping down on June 30 after serving five years in the position.

UNC President Tom Ross said Cummings’ diverse resume shows “great imagination, energy and leadership.”

“As a Pembroke native, member of the Lumbee tribe, and former chair of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees, he understands and appreciates the university’s rich history, and he is passionate about the larger role UNCP can play in the life of the region and its potential to change the future of so many North Carolinians. With his broad experience, his profound appreciation for the institution, and his demonstrated commitment to scholarship and public service, Robin Cummings will be a forceful and effective leader for UNCP. We are delighted to bring him back home,” Ross said in a statement.

Don Metzger, a member of the UNCP board of rrustees and a Lumberton councilman, also emphasized Cummings’ past leadership experience.

“I think he will do a great job. He is very successful as a surgeon, he has done an outstanding job with state … from what I know of his past leadership ability, he certainly has the qualities to be a great leader,” Metzger said.

Cummings appointment is the result of a six-month search for a new chancellor. A search committee emphasized finding a candidate who embraces the diversity of the campus, is a proven fundraiser and is a motivator of student development and did not limit its search to those with academic backgrounds.

“Many schools and universities today are looking for people from business, from various backgrounds who have demonstrated proven leadership capabilities. There are many facets, from recruiting, to fundraising, to expanding programs, to bringing in international influence,” Metzger said.

Cummings is married to Rebecca Godwin Cummings, a Pinehurst realtor and Pembroke native. They have four children. Cummings’ brother is McDuffie Cummings, a former town manager of Pembroke and former member of the Lumbee Tribal Council.

A public reception will be held at UNCP this afternoon to introduce Cummings. The reception will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the University Center Annex.

UNCP was founded in 1887 as the Croatan Normal School and from 1940 to 1953, it was the only state-supported four-year college for American Indians in the country. Today, UNCP enrolls more than 6,200 students and offers 41 undergraduate majors and 17 master’s degree programs.