By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Dero Sanford
Woodrow Cummins reflects the four pillars of the UCA Now: Impact Arkansas & Beyond Campaign: success, culture, wellness and excellence. Each of these pillars represents a fundamental University of Central Arkansas vision and value. Woodrow, recognized by most friends and colleagues as a one-name wonder Woody, is deeply devoted to the students of UCA and the Conway community. For his unwavering commitment, Woody will be honored with the UCA Distinguished Alumni Award later this month at Laurels & Stripes.
The son of a Northeast Arkansas farmer, Woody fondly recalls his years at Marked Tree Public Schools and many related activities with friends and family. “Our parents encouraged us to participate in all types of extracurricular activities. They also insisted my brother and I would go to college and not become farmers.” After a less than stellar first year as an undergraduate, Woody enrolled at Arkansas State Teachers College – now UCA. “That summer before my second year of college, my father made sure I was working seven days a week,” he recalls. “He did not have the benefit of a formal education, but he knew how to motivate people.”
Through esteemed faculty and classmates, Woody discovered the resources to cultivate determination + focus and excelled at ASTC. “It was the support system I needed to be successful in this new stage of my development. And like many students, I was the first in the family to attend college.” He realizes accessibility to a quality education is critical to the continued prosperity of the people of Arkansas. His service as a former member of the UCA Foundation Board of Directors supported this initiative as the university continues UCA Now: Impact Arkansas & Beyond, the ambitious capital campaign that spans beyond the campus and beckons fellows Arkansans to invest in the future of the Natural State. Congruent with this narrative, UCA Now: Impact Arkansas & Beyond – with its $100 million goal – is the largest effort in the history of the university
Laurels & Stripes will celebrate the accomplishments of UCA Now: Impact Arkansas & Beyond and support scholarships for students. Woody elaborates, “The scholarship program is designed to identify highly talented individuals who have the maturity and work ethic to succeed. These individuals stand to benefit, but so will our state.” His family established a private scholarship that perpetuates a legacy of success, culture, wellness and excellence – not only for Woody and his wife, but for future generations. “At UCA I earned a good education and learned the benefits of hard work, teamwork and punctuality.” Woody continues, “I also learned how a gentleman conducts himself and managed to meet my lovely wife.”