2009 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award
Anthony W. Cummings ’84
The qualities that make Tony Cummings such an asset to Carolina were nourished in his experiences on campus in his undergraduate days. As a North Carolina Fellow, he received one-on-one mentoring from leaders in business, law, politics and government who emphasized to him the importance of justice, integrity, hard work and service. As a member of the Black Student Movement and the BSM Gospel Choir, he strengthened his dedication to equality and fairness. As part of the marching band, he became a passionate Tar Heel.
When Tony left Carolina after earning a B.A. in 1984 and his law degree in 1987, he carried his commitment to these ideals with him. As a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Navy, he defended active-duty naval personnel and served as Staff Judge Advocate with such distinction that he was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal for meritorious service.
Since leaving the Navy he has served for 17 years as an Administrative Judge with the Atlanta Regional Office of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. There, he makes sure that each federal civil servant who appears before the board is afforded due process of law.
Even as he pursues justice and fairness in his career, Judge Cummings has remained a champion of this University. He maintains life membership in Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and, with his wife, Terri, joint life membership in the General Alumni Association. But his dedication goes far beyond. He supports scholarship opportunities for new students and works in many ways to include, engage and empower present and future Tar Heels.
On the UNC Board of Visitors, he makes major contributions to the Best Practices and Student Recruitment committees. One of the “go to” people in the Carolina Club of Atlanta, Tony works hard and very effectively to encourage top-notch students with offers from several universities to choose Carolina.
Several years ago, in the early stages of construction of the SonjaHaynesStoneCenter, Tony initiated support for arts and culture at the center by establishing the Pamela Nicole Cummings Visiting Artist Fellowship in memory of his sister. His generosity supports young artists at the beginning of their professional careers and brings them to campus for short-term residencies, during which they serve as resources for the campus and surrounding community. This is just one example of Tony’s dedication to giving in areas that align with his passions, interests and values.
He also serves as a very positive ambassador for the University through his civic involvement. He serves on the board of trustees of the AshevilleSchool. Each week, he leads Bible study classes for first graders in Atlanta, work he does with an enthusiasm that inspires the children, their parents and his fellow leaders.
In his professional career, as a dedicated supporter of UNC, and in his generous gifts of time to his community, Tony lives his values of hard work, justice, fairness and integrity. He is an outstanding example of an alumnus deeply committed to this University.