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Mund-Lagowski Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Olin Hall 201
(309) 677-3030

Mary and Tom Cummings Scholarship

The scholarship was established in 1997 by Mary and Tom Cummings.  The annual awardee(s) are selected by the Department.  Mary and Tom Cummings were both born of missionary parents in India (now Pakistan) and were educated there through high school.  Mary earned a B.S. degree in English from Westminster College and a M.A. in English from Bradley. Tom (B.S., chemical engineering, MIT; M.S. & Ph.D., organic chemistry, Case Institute of Technology) briefly taught at Westminster College, PA, before coming to Bradley in 1955.  Tom was well known at Bradley for his air pollution research, dedication to faculty governance, and most significantly his Socratic method of teaching.  In 1990 his teaching was formally recognized when he received Bradley's Putnam Award for excellence in teaching. 

Tom learned to sail at MIT and became an avid sailor, competing, along with his wife and children, in sailing races on Lake Peoria. With sailing fever in full bloom in 1974, they purchased a 26‘ twin-keel sailboat in England and sailed that year to Morocco, the Canary Islands and the Bahamas, landing in Mobile, AL.  He took family and friends on several additional trips in the same boat including two trans-Atlantic crossings. For his troubles, his mom declared these excursions “a hare-brained idea.”   Tom was an adventurer throughout his life, visiting Europe on year-long sabbatical leaves in 1966-67, 1973-74, 1980-81 and 1987-88. For him, learning was a life-long endeavor, and he read and studied a wide range of topics from theology to politics to science. He was almost always ready to ask you a question or provide an answer, generally with considerable command of the facts and in the form of a well-informed opinion. 

Mary passed away on 2 May, 2015 and Tom died on 20 April, 2016; both Mary and Tom shared a strong belief in God, cared very passionately about the value of education, and believed that giving to humanity was a privilege.