A fellow alum described Dr. Malcolm Cummings as a “gentleman, a long-time deep friend of BJU, and a stalwart in the cause of Christ.”
Growing up in Scottdale, PA, Malcolm was a track & field athlete in high school. His coach helped him get a scholarship to attend Bethany College in West Virginia, so he attended there for 3 semesters studying engineering. While Malcolm was a believer at that time, he was not living for the Lord, but a friend of his, Bill Hoffman, a student at BJU, was writing to Malcolm to encourage him in the Lord. One Christmas break, Bill arranged a meeting between Malcolm and Dr. Kang, who at the time was a Ph.D. student at BJU. Dr. Kang was Korean and day by day shared with Malcolm his burden for Korean missions. Using both Bill and Dr. Kang, the Lord began turning Malcolm’s heart back to him and toward BJU.
PATHWAY TO KOREA
BJU operated on a different academic schedule than Bethany College. So, the same day that Malcolm finished his final exams and his final day at Bethany College, he jumped on a bus and came to BJU to transition immediately into a new semester of classes at a brand-new school and in a different major. The engineering major didn’t exist at BJU in the 1950s, so he chose the field of education. In 1954, Malcolm graduated with a degree in Secondary Education. He continued his education at BJU and in 1955, he graduated with a master’s in Christian Education and again in 1967 with a Ph.D. from the School of Religion.
The Lord took a track and field athlete majoring in engineering at another college, brought him to BJU and turned his focus toward Christian education and Korean missions. While Malcolm was at BJU, he met his wife, Betty Rae. With her encouragement and support along with the persistent requests from Dr. Kang, Malcolm knew the Lord was guiding them to Korea.
In 1960, the Cummings packed up and moved to Korea to help Dr. Kang start Korean Bible University in Seoul, Korea. And for 10 years, Malcolm served as the Dean of Christian Education at KBU. While in this role, Malcolm stressed the need for evangelism and even focused his doctoral dissertation on personal evangelism in Korea.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION ADVOCATE
In 1970, the Lord guided them back to the States– to Athens, Georgia where Malcolm and his brother established Athens Christian School. For fifteen years, Malcolm served as the high school principal while also teaching math, science, and a senior seminar class.
For twenty-two years between 1985-2007, Malcolm served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Christian Schools. Under his leadership, the number of Christian schools in GACS doubled and they successfully petitioned the Georgia Board of Education and the regional accrediting agency to recognize their Christian schools and certified teachers.
Malcolm served as a member of the board of directors and the board secretary for the American Association of Christian Schools for fifteen years. And for 12 of those years, he was able to represent AACS on a review committee for a major achievement test publisher. This review committee made the final decisions on all test questions which gave Malcolm the important opportunity to ensure the test questions were fair for students attending Christian schools.
A HEART FOR MISSIONS
In his retirement years, Malcolm has taken a number of mission trips. With the goal of encouraging those in vocational ministry, he has traveled to the UK, Germany, Italy, China, Hawaii, S. Korea, Israel, and throughout the US. In 2011, he returned to Korean Bible University in Seoul to speak at the Founders Day celebration. He was able to see firsthand that KBU is still a thriving university, now under the presidency of Dr. Kang’s son.
When we asked Malcolm, to look back over his life and share an important lesson he learned, he said, “Seek the Lord’s will day by day and be willing to do what the Lord guides you to do.”
For a life spent seeking the Lord and pursuing His will, for his role as an advocate and champion for Christian education and for his support of missions around the world, Bob Jones University’s Alumni Relations is honored to present to Dr. Malcolm Cummings a Lifetime Achievement Award.