Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

This historic commitment marks the single largest donation in the university's history.

University of the Cumberlands has received a $25 million donation from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation to support student scholarships. This historic commitment marks the single largest donation in the university's history and will allow students to graduate with little to no debt.

President Larry L. Cockrum expressed deep gratitude for the Rollins Foundation's remarkable investment in the education of students. 

“We are immensely grateful to the Rollins Foundation for their extraordinary commitment to our mission,” said President Larry L. Cockrum. “For over four decades, the Rollins Foundation has been instrumental in supporting our efforts to empower students and ensure they have the opportunity to obtain a college degree.”

Cumberlands is matching the Foundation's contribution dollar for dollar, bringing the total investment in student scholarships to $50 million. The R. Randall Rollins Endowed Scholars Program will benefit 500 on-campus undergraduate students annually, enabling students to seek higher education without the burden of excessive loans. 

“My grandfather’s Foundation was started to provide scholarships to those who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend college,” said Amy R. Kreisler, Executive Director of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation. “We are very pleased to support Cumberland’s commitment to its students in this way.”

The new scholarship program follows several initiatives launched in recent years to make a quality education at Cumberlands affordable for students. In 2018, President Cockrum lowered tuition for on-campus undergraduate students by 57 percent. In 2019, those same students received free textbooks. Earlier this year, the university announced the One Price Promise, which provides free textbooks to all students while eliminating all other costs and establishing a straightforward tuition price.  

“At Cumberlands, we believe every student deserves equal access to a quality, affordable education,” said President Cockrum. “This transformational gift will have a lasting impact on the lives of our students, allowing them to pursue their dreams without the financial burden that often accompanies higher education.” 

The relationship between the Rollins Foundation and Cumberlands dates back to 1975, when O. Wayne Rollins, founder of Rollins, Inc., of which Orkin Pest Control is a subsidiary, made a $500 gift for student work scholarships. After the passing of O. Wayne Rollins in 1991, his sons, Randall and Gary, took over the leadership of the family company and continued their generous support of the university. 

The Rollins Foundation has donated over $38 million for significant campus projects at Cumberlands, including the O. Wayne Rollins Athletic Center, Grace Crum Rollins Fine Arts Complex, the Rollins Family Learning Center, Physician Assistant housing, and the campus science complex. The Foundation has also established endowed funds supporting the university's workship and business programs.

“The R. Randall Rollins Endowed Scholars program serves as a powerful example for others to follow as we continue our daily quest to make a quality private college education more affordable for our Appalachian students,” said Bill Stohlmann, Vice President for Development at Cumberlands.

R. Randall Rollins was a revered business leader known for his deep-rooted commitment to education. Born in 1931, he began his journey with humble origins, marked by working on the family farm. While Mr. Rollins would go on to achieve tremendous business and financial success, he remained faithful to the tenets laid out by his father and mother that the most important things in a child’s life are faith, morals, integrity, honesty, hard work, perseverance, and education.