Bill and Joyce Cummings will be the commencement speakers and recipients of Honorary Doctors of Humane Letters at the ceremony. They co-founded Cummings Foundation, Inc. in 1986, and today, with holding assets exceeding $1.2 billion, it is one of the largest private foundations in New England. The foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including Veterinary School at Tufts, LLC and two not-for-profit New Horizons retirement communities. It also has various grant-making initiatives, one of which annually awards 100 grants of $100,000 each. Through this and other grant programs, the foundation has awarded more than $130 million in recent years to Greater Boston nonprofits alone.
Bill Cummings graduated from Tufts University in 1958. He worked in sales and marketing and also served in the United States Army Reserves, before acquiring, enhancing, and selling a well-established Medford, Massachusetts firm, Old Medford Foods. He founded Cummings Properties, LLC in 1970 and has enjoyed much success in buying, building, and managing commercial real estate. Based in Woburn, Cummings Properties currently operates 10 million square feet and provides commercial space for more than 2,000 Massachusetts businesses and organizations. One of its largest campuses is the landmark Cummings Center in Beverly. Read more about Commencement Speakers
Bill served 10 years as a charter trustee of Tufts University and is a former overseer of Tufts Medical School and director of Winchester Hospital. He is also the founder and former publisher of three community newspapers, a bank director, and an elected member and chairman of the Winchester Planning Board. At various times, he has worked as a licensed real estate broker, a licensed auctioneer, and a Massachusetts justice of the peace. He is currently writing an autobiography that is slated to be published early next year.
Joyce Cummings is a director of Cummings Properties and a trustee of Cummings Foundation. She is a past president of Winchester's En Ka Society (a women's service organization), has served as women's golf chair at Winchester Country Club, and is a former trustee of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In addition, Joyce was a longtime member of the board of trustees of Winchester Community Music School and VNA Hospice Care, Inc. of Woburn.
Joyce graduated from University of Alabama in 1962 and became a hospital dietitian at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, where she met Bill in 1964. They now have four children and four young grandchildren. In 2011, Joyce and Bill became the first Massachusetts residents to join "The Giving Pledge," an effort initiated by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet that invites wealthy individuals to dedicate a majority of their wealth to philanthropy.