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Cummings Turns Focus To Giving

Cummings Turns Focus To GivingDeveloperWilliams S. Cummings – founder, with his wife Joyce, ofCummings Foundation which last fall committed to investing $50million in Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine over the next 15years – is leaving the real estate business to focus onhis charitable works. No.Grafton, Mass.

No. Grafton, Mass. [02.17.05] After more than 30 years spent building one of thelargest commercial real estate portfolios in Massachusetts, developerWilliam S. Cummings (A’58) is turning his focus to philanthropy.But for the Tufts trustee emeritus and benefactor, the two gohand in hand.

''I like buildingbuildings and building relationships," he told The BostonGlobe.

Cummings isstepping down as president of Cummings Properties LLC in Woburn– which oversees 8 million square feet of commercial space,74 buildings, 1,700 tenants and collects $90 million in annualleasing fees – but he will remain involved with the company’saffairs.

Cummings isnow the full-time president of Cummings Foundation, which he formedin 1986 with his wife, Joyce. Much of the Foundation’s generosityhas been directed toward Cummings’ alma mater – includinga $50 million gift this past fall to TuftsSchool of Veterinary Medicine. The magnanimous gift representsthe largest in the University’s history.

''Bill Cummingshas not only invested financially in the university, but has alsoinvested his time on behalf of the university,” Tufts PresidentLawrence S. Bacow told the Globe. “For example,he has always made himself available to advise students and alumni.He's a wonderful mentor."

Cummings –a former overseer of Tufts School of Medicine – has alsoendowed a chair in the economics department. The current Williamand Joyce Cummings Professor of Entrepreneurship and BusinessEconomics is George Norman.

Besides itscontributions to Tufts, Cummings Foundation has donated to variouslocal causes, including youth groups.

Cummings explainedto the Globe that he felt compelled to donate to theVeterinary School out of concern that its programs didn’tsuffer from state budget cutbacks.

''The schoolhas lost a lot of state funding and because it has, it needs resourcesto continue its valuable research on communicable diseases andbioterrorism threats," he said.

The Cummingsgift will also complement funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusettsthat enables Tufts to continue its tradition of providing oneof the finest veterinary educations in the world.

The emphasison life sciences companies among the holdings of Cummings Properties– “Nearly 2 million square feet of our buildings'space is devoted to the life sciences," he told the Globe– was also a consideration.

Cummings’introduction to the real estate business came when he moved hisfirst business – a Medford-based fruit punch dispenser manufacturer– to Woburn.

His evolutionfrom business owner to real estate mogul was, he told the Globe,almost “accidental.”

“'Ibuilt an addition on that building and bought the building nextdoor. I then owned four or five buildings and decided that I likedthe real estate business.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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