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Rowland Hall mourns the February passing of trustee emeritus Ian Cumming. Mr. Cumming served on Rowland Hall's board in the 1970s while his two sons, David and John, were students. Over the years, Ian generously shared his time, advice, and financial resources with the school, and his passing is a loss for our entire community.
In 1986, Mr. Cumming established the Ian Cumming Scholarship to improve access to Rowland Hall for students who show capacity and motivation for academic excellence. As our only fully merit-based aid, the Ian Cumming Scholarship has attracted many outstanding students to the school and given them the opportunity to pursue a Rowland Hall education. "I am a different person due to the Cumming Scholarship," said Valerie Floyd Rasmussen '93. "Inside Rowland Hall's classrooms, I built courage to voice opinions, be myself, engage as a community participant, and inquire about the world. Most importantly, my Rowland Hall experience produced lifelong relationships. Ian Cumming, you changed my life. I'm forever grateful."
Mr. Cumming was a true visionary for Rowland Hall. When the school began to outgrow its home on the Avenues Campus, it was Mr. Cumming who suggested to Head of School Alan Sparrow that he look into acquiring the property next to the armory on Guardsman Way. Ian prophetically told Alan it was "the future of Rowland Hall." The McCarthey Campus now sits on the old armory property, and plans are underway to build a new Middle School and Upper School on the adjacent land, which will unite the school on one campus for the first time since 1984.
During the first phase of the Capital Campaign—building the Steiner Campus athletic fields—Mr. Cumming's financial support was critical. Toward the end of the fundraising efforts, he and Annette Cumming, his wife, offered to match donations dollar for dollar. This generous act propelled giving in our community, helping the project to be completed on time and under budget.
Mr. Cumming's advice and leadership over the years have been instrumental to the school's success, prompting Rowland Hall's board to name him an emeritus trustee in 2005. At the February 2018 meeting, trustees unanimously agreed to recognize Mr. Cumming and thanked him for his service to the school. Our thoughts are with Annette Cumming, John '87 and Kristi Terzian Cumming '85, David and Allison Cumming, and the rest of the Cumming family during this difficult time.