Retired surgeon and former state Medicaid Director Robin Gary Cummings took office as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2015. Cummings is a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. His tenure has been marked by efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities for residents of Robeson County, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.
UNC at Pembroke is one of three campuses participating in the new NC Promise plan, a reduced tuition program starting this fall, which will decrease the total annual price for in-state students at the university by 15 percent. The university is also several steps closer to establishing a college of health sciences, which would add a number of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs including public health, nutrition, and rural health equity.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Chancellor Cummings about the challenges and opportunities of leading a public institution initially founded to serve the Lumbee people. He outlines the school’s modern-day focus on driving economic and educational development in southeastern North Carolina.