POWELL, Wyo. - Clay Cummins, a Montanan with ties to Billings, Red Lodge and Sidney, was presented the 2009 Foundation Volunteer Award by the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees.
Cummins was nominated by Northwest College. A 1961 NWC graduate, Cummins rekindled an association with his alma mater after retiring from military service at the Pentagon in the late 1990s and moving back to Montana. He became a member of the NWC Alumni Association Board of Directors in 1999 and currently serves as the board's immediate past president.
Under his leadership the alumni board erected a permanent memorial for Bridger Hall (a residence hall destroyed by fire in 2004), expanded the college's scholarship efforts by doubling the size and renewability of the alumni scholarship, created a directors' endowment fund and installed a large wall plaque to honor NWC Distinguished Alumni.
In 2004, Cummins ramped up his service to the college after he was elected to its Foundation Board of Directors. In his role on this board, he served on the presidential search committee that helped select current President Paul Prestwich, and he continues to chair the foundation's Grant Review Committee.
In his nomination letter, Prestwich called Cummins "a paragon of philanthropy and public service" who as a quintessential volunteer gives "immeasurable time and energy to Northwest College."
Cummins explained his devotion to the college in a 2004 issue of the Northwest Alumni News, saying "I remember that people, including my family, helped me out, and now I want to do something to help other students out."
A native of Sidney, Mont., Cummins and his wife, Lynne, now divide their time between a primary residence in Billings and a second home in Red Lodge.