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From Ferris to Family: A Foundation of Impact

By Leilani Sigsbey
Foundation Student Marketing Assistant
College of Business, 2025

For Arthur and Kay Cummings, Ferris State University is where they met and fell in love.   

Originally from Montrose, Michigan, Arthur started his college career at Mott Community College in their Police Administration program. After hearing about the new Criminal Justice program at Ferris State College and meeting with students in the program, he decided to make a move from Flint to Big Rapids and start as a Criminal Justice major. In contrast, after working in a pharmacy during high school, Kay Cummings knew right away where she wanted to go to school. She began her journey at Ferris as a first-year pharmacy student.  

While at Ferris, the Cummings were involved in many extra-curricular activities. Arthur was a member of the FSU Pep Band, a resident advisor (RA) in his dorm, and a member of the criminal justice fraternity. Kay was also an RA and an assistant head resident in Bond Hall. She was also a Ferris Women's Tennis team member, helping the team achieve their first GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) conference championship in 1975.     

In 1974, everything changed when Arthur and Kay met through mutual friends. They continued to see each other around campus and as time went on, they eventually started dating. Both were busy students; to find time to spend together, they would study together at the library. The cafeteria was closed on Sundays, so they would meet across the street at McDonald's for dinner. These dinners were some of the Cummings' most memorable Ferris State experiences. 

While at Ferris, scholarships helped Arthur to be financially secure. Without worrying about bills and university payments, he could spend his time studying, volunteering, and participating in other activities at Ferris. He had quality study time, which positively impacted his grades and was a significant factor in his success.  

After graduating, Art began working in law enforcement in the Buena Vista Township Police Department and later joined the Meridian Township Police Department in Okemos, MI. In the early 1980s, he shifted to a career in nuclear security, working with Consumers Power Company in Jackson, MI. This shift led Art to become the Nuclear Security Manager for Florida Power & Light.  

Kay had been working as a pharmacist and pharmacy manager. The move out of state led her to a position with Walgreens in Florida. 

Eventually, Art started his own security company, American Protection Bureau. However, he always remembered Ferris State University's impact on his life.  

In honor of that impact, Arthur approached Kay with the idea of creating a scholarship to benefit the students of Ferris who needed a hand financially. Both agreed they wanted their legacy to support students in the programs that gave them positive experiences and opportunities. With the students in mind, they established the Arthur R. and Kay J. Cummings Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship, awarded annually, benefits students in the Criminal Justice Program. 

Looking forward, the Cummings have some words of wisdom to share with the beneficiaries of the Arthur R. and Kay J. Cummings Endowed Scholarship. "Make the best of your opportunity. Take advantage of it and use it to accomplish your dreams and goals. When all that works out, then you will have the opportunity to give back as well."