July 5, 2018

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Author Bill Cummings to Deliver 2018 Convocation Address

Bill Cummings, well known in the Greater Boston community and beyond for his success in business and real estate and his commitment to philanthropy, will deliver the keynote address at Emmanuel College’s Academic Convocation on Tuesday, September 11th.

Each year, Convocation marks the official beginning of the academic year, which in 2018 will mark Emmanuel's 99th opening. Cummings new autobiography, Starting Small and Making it Big: An Entrepreneur's Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist, is required reading for Emmanuel's incoming first-year students.

Cummings founded the commercial real-estate firm Cummings Properties in 1970, which started as one small building and has grown to an 11-million-square-foot portfolio of more than 100 modern buildings. Cummings, along with his wife Joyce, have generously contributed much of their wealth to numerous causes through the Cummings Foundation, which they established in 1986. To-date, the foundation has dispersed more than $200 million in grants to Greater Boston nonprofits alone.

Born in Medford, Massachusetts during the Great Depression, Cummings grew up poor but demonstrated an early knack for entrepreneurship, selling bottles of soda at a neighborhood construction site at age six. Equipped with lessons in hard work, kindness and fiscal responsibility from his parents, he became a serial entrepreneur "in earnest." After earning a degree in economics from Tufts University, Cummings purchased his first real business, a 100-year-old manufacturer of fruit-juice-beverage bases, for $4,000 in 1964, which he later sold for millions of dollars.  

Cummings' autobiography spans the seven decades of his journey in business and philanthropy, sharing not only the pioneering thinking that produced a multibillion-dollar enterprise, but highlighting his singular dedication to the communities and institutions that were so vital to his success. The book will be integrated into a number of first-year activities and discussions related to Emmanuel's new "Surviving Freshman Year Team Challenge."

Bill and Joyce Cummings were the first Massachusetts couple to join the Giving Pledge, an international philanthropic organization founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. Ernst & Young, the Irish International Immigrant Center, the Archdiocese of Boston, and the NAIOP (the association for the commercial real estate development industry), have honored them with various community accolades.  They have each received several honorary doctoral degrees and have three times served as college commencement speakers. The Boston Globe honored the couple as runners-up for Greater Bostonians of the Year in 2012 and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce named them to the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians in 2017. In 2014, Boston Business Journal named Cummings the Real Estate Visionary of the Year.

Bill Cummings

Explore Emmanuel

Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Jolie Erlacher ’19 Finds Purpose Counseling Those in Need

As early as her second year at Emmanuel College, Jolie Erlacher '19 discovered the power of networking, seeing firsthand how the connections she has made at Emmanuel-and then beyond-have affected the course of her academic and career trajectory, each opportunity opening a door to the next.

Learn More
Featured Faculty: Rebecca Moryl

Dr. Rebecca Moryl is an Associate Professor of Economics at Emmanuel College. Professor Moryl teaches on subjects including microeconomics, economic relations, the politics of international economic relations and urban economics. She believes that understanding economics is critical to understanding the worlds-big and small-in which we live.

Learn More
Featured Faculty: Aren Gerdon

Professor Aren Gerdon is the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics and an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Emmanuel College. He leads his own chemistry research group, focusing on biomaterials, and works closely with other research groups across campus. Professor Gerdon is passionate about sharing his deep knowledge of chemistry with his students, guiding them from class work to practical, real-world lab experiments.

Learn More
Featured Faculty: Petros Vamvakas

Petros Vamvakas is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Latin American Studies, Middle East Studies and Peace Studies Programs. His work focuses on security and democratization, as well as issues related to identity and race in politics throughout the Americas. As part of his teaching, he has escorted groups of students to Crete, Greece, and will be bringing a group of students to Cuba.

Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Learn More

Let's Get Started.

Emmanuel is a place where students broaden their sense of what’s possible and prepare for inspiring careers in an ever-changing world. Be here.