Professor Larry Cummings taught history and geography for 51 years and will leave a lasting impact
North Central Michigan College Professor Larry Cummings, a fixture in the Petoskey community and an icon on the college’s campus, passed away at McLaren Northern Michigan on March 31 due to complications of Covid-19. He was 76.
Cummings taught history and geography at North Central for 51 years, spending his entire professional career teaching generations of students who will remember him fondly.
“Our hearts are heavy with grief at the passing of our friend, mentor and colleague,” said Dr. David Roland Finley, North Central president. “The entire North Central community grieves with Larry’s wife, Shannon, and their family. We are holding them close in our thoughts and prayers.”
Professor Chet Jessick, president of North Central’s Faculty Association, echoed the depth of loss felt by the campus community.
“Professor Larry Cummings was the best person I have known professionally,” Jessick said. “Those who knew Larry considered him a North Central legend, and not just because of his 51 years of exemplary service to the college, his students and his community. It was because he was the passionate and compassionate teacher, the mentor, the storyteller, and the best friend we all aspire to be.”
Cummings was born in Charlevoix in 1943. He lived in Arizona and California as a child, but spent his formative years in Northern Michigan, attending Traverse City Central High School. He attended Northwestern Michigan College, Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and Central Michigan University, where he obtained a master’s degree in history.
A world-traveler, Cummings visited more than 50 countries, each providing him with insight and information that he shared with his students. His curriculum was rich with personal experiences of people, places and significant moments in history.
“Larry shared his international adventures so effectively that the listener was often transported right there with him, riveted by his stories, photos and souvenirs from faraway places,” Finley said.
Cummings was active with the Harbor Springs Educational Foundation and the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program, rallying North Central’s team of employees and students to care for a three-mile stretch of U.S. 31 south of Petoskey.
“Larry has left a lasting impact on everyone who was fortunate enough to know him,” Finley said. “His legacy will live on at North Central indefinitely.”
Counseling services are available to help North Central students and employees process their grief. Information about those services has been shared internally.
The college will communicate additional information as appropriate, including plans to celebrate Cummings’ life and his many contributions to North Central. The college asks that the privacy of the Cummings family be respected at this difficult time.