Making a direct impact
Alumnus Chris Cummins invests in the lives of student athletes.
When Chris Cummins ’75 was a kid growing up in Belton, he would ride his bicycle over to Mary Hardin-Baylor, searching the campus for discarded Coke bottles to sell for two cents apiece.
“The college girls would sit outside the dorms drinking Cokes and then throw their bottles in the bushes. It wasn’t long before I realized I had a little piggy bank in the bushes there.”
That early entrepreneurial spirit has led to a successful career in the oil and gas service and supply industry. And when he had the opportunity to give back, Cummins could think of no better place than his alma mater.
“I’ve always wanted to do something for the university in some way or another. I got so much out of going to school here. It was time to give something back,” Cummins said.
After playing tackle at Belton High School, Cummins was recruited to a state school on a football scholarship. There he met his future wife, Cindy, and once they were married, the two returned to Belton where Cummins finished his education at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
“There was such a difference going from a state school to UMHB. I was so impressed by the care and concern the teachers had for their students. They took an interest in me personally.”
Cummins worked through college in the accounting department of Mobil Chemical in Temple. After graduating, he moved to the Midland/Odessa area to work in the oil field service industry. He remains in the profession today, serving as Vice President of Sales for an oil field supply company based out of Birmingham, Ala.
“When I’m spending time with the team, I just want to be Chris. I don’t even want them to know that building is named after me. I just enjoy being a part of it; I enjoy getting to be around them.” — Chris Cummins ’75
Over the years, he and his wife have given major gifts to the university’s Football Excellence Fund, which supports the program’s operational budget.
“As a former athlete, I respect the fact that these kids play for the love of the game. They came here to play football, and my hope is they leave with a degree. I want to do something to make their time here a little nicer so they want that degree. There are so many people that kick in; I’ve just done what little I can do.”
When the university broke ground on a 9,429 square-foot expansion to the team’s field house this past April, it was quickly decided that the new building would be named Cummins Field House as a tribute to the Chris and Cindy, who have supported the program so generously in the past. The honor brings tears to Cummins’ eyes.
“Its humbling because there’s nothing perfect about me,” Cummins said. “I’m just an oil field hand who came across something good that happened in my life and wanted to share it.”
-Jennifer Meers Jones ’08
Read about the Cummins Fieldhouse Dedication