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2017 Outstanding Alumnus in Mathematics


We are proud to announce that Gary A Cummings, Director of the Technical Center at JTEKT North American, Inc., has been named this year's Outstanding Alumnus in Mathematics.  The College of Science Outstanding Alumnus festivities will take place Oct. 5th and 6th.

After earning his BS in Mathematics with a minor in Industrial Engineering, Mr. Cummings earned his MS in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1979. He also attended the Executive Development Program at Cornell University in 1998.

Mr. Cummings held several positions with General Motors, including time in Brazil (where he was the Executive in charge of Chassis Product Development for Latin America, Africa and the Middle East). He recently retired from GM after 32 years of service in 2009. Post retirement, Mr. Cummings served as Assistant Vice President at a local Community College. He worked to grow strategic alliances between the Community College and four year institutions.

Currently he is serving as the JTEKT NA Technical Center Director. JTEKT supplies Steering, Driveline and Bearing systems to the automotive industry. Mr. Cummings is leading all Steering and Driveline technical, and applications, engineering activities in NA for JTEKT. In addition, Mr. Cummings currently serves on the Board of Regents for the Orchard Lake Schools in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He has also been serving as an Adjunct Professor (Quantitative Management) at Walsh College in Troy, Michigan.

While at GM he was actively engaged in the development of many products. He is most proud of his chassis leadership role in the launching of the 1998 Camaro and Firebird as well as the 1999 Corvette Z06 titanium exhaust system. He was nominated for the GM Chairman's Award in 1998 and in 2004 won the U.S. Black Engineer of the Year award in the Corporate Promotion of Higher Education category. He has been serving on the Purdue Dean of Engineering Advisory Committee since September, 2003.

He believes that today's students need to take full advantage of their cultural diversity opportunities. "The world is getting smaller every day. Students who can work effectively in a diverse team environment, converse in multiple dialects, and communicate effectively in both leadership and supporting roles will be able to write their own ticket for career advancement."

For his part, Mr. Cummings has remained a strong supporter of Purdue and engineering. He was the lead coordinator for the GM University Relations Team to Purdue. Several initiatives have been introduced under his stewardship, including the Engineer-in-Residence Program and the Partnership for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education. He was also charged with defining and overseeing the development of corporate grant and research activities at Purdue. He is now focused on establishing a strong linkage between JTEKT and Purdue.

Mr. Cummings and his wife, Lynn, have 2 sons, a daughter-in-law and grandson. While at Purdue, he was a proud member of the All American Marching Band, Boiler Brass and Symphony Band for 4 years as well a member of the Reamers and Kappa Kappa Psi (National Honorary Band Fraternity).

Department of Mathematics, Purdue University, 150 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2067

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