Passing of Dorothy Cummings, Co-founding Board Member of Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies

December 5, 2023

It’s with profound sadness that Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies announces the passing of our co-founder and Board of Directors member, Dorothy “Dot” Cummings. Dot passed away peacefully at the age of 96 on Friday, December 1, 2023, surrounded by her loving family.

Dorothy Cummings, deeply cherished by her family and friends, leaves an irreplaceable void with her passing. Known as the “eternal optimist” for her joyful disposition and unwavering determination to find positivity in every situation, Dot possessed a remarkable ability to infuse joy into the lives of others and bring out the best in those around her. Her husband, Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings, Ph.D., Sc.D. (1924 – 2020), attributed all his successes to Dot, crediting her for supporting his endeavors, encouraging risk-taking, and transforming his visions into attainable, tangible achievements.

Dot was the daughter of a railroad engineer and an elementary school teacher, and learned strong family values and work ethic during the Great Depression in Indiana. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she met and married Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings. After completing her undergraduate work, Dot earned a master’s degree in social work and held various positions, including one at Mendocino State Hospital in California, while working to support her husband’s academic pursuits. Dot spent over a decade as a stay-at-home mom, raising her daughter Janet and her son Andrew. When she returned to full-time employment, Dorothy strategically chose a role as a school social worker, aligning with her commitment to education and family.

Despite her understated role, Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings attributed all his accomplishments to Dorothy. She was deeply committed to philanthropy and played a key role in establishing The Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Foundation, The Cummings Foundation for Behavioral Health, Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies, and numerous charitable projects. The Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that routine healthcare includes integrated behavioral health. Her impact will endure through the work of the organizations she built and supported wholeheartedly.

Dr. Cara English, CEO of Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies (CGI) shared the following:

“Dot was a fierce advocate for mental healthcare, and as a school social worker, wife, mother, grandmother, and Foundation leader, she fought for access to top quality, integrated care for all. She was particularly passionate about the DBH program, CGI, and our students. In CGI’s early days, Dot and Nick loved to attend Dr. Janet Cummings’ webinars to see our students and to listen in on the learning happening in our courses. Our students’ success was a point of light for them both.

Dot was a huge inspiration to me; a living example of just how much good people can do both in our families and in the world through our advocacy and hard work. She will really be missed at CGI.”

The enduring legacy of Dorothy Cummings will be carried forward by Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies, embodying her career, values, philanthropy, and optimism. She held a deep passion for championing the endeavors of Doctors of Behavioral Health at CGI, and created a scholarship fund for Doctors of Behavioral Health (DBH) students in her husband’s name. In lieu of flowers, the Cummings family encourages memorial contributions to be made to Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies, 100% of which will go directly to DBH student scholarships. Donations may be made by visiting



Remembrance Messages from the CGI Community


“I will be forever grateful for the dedication and vision of the Cummings family, I would not be who I am today without then.” – Dr. Heather Jelonek

“I enjoyed when Mrs. Cummings observed our classes. Her legacy will continue on through the work of our community.” – Dr. Pauline Pablo

“Dorothy Cummings sat in on one of my evening classes with Dr. Janet Cummings. It was so nice to have her with us. She was so interested in what we were learning and how the class was going. I loved her interaction with her daughter. It was an honor to have been able to experience them both together at the same time. She had a peaceful and calming presence similar to that of Janet. I am happy that through my class and I, in that moment she saw another snapshot of the vision that she was a part of in its truest form. May she rest in perfect peace and love. I am forever thankful for her tremendous contribution to this world. Her legacy lives on.” – Dr. Genieve Bradley

“I’m grateful to have had the chance to meet her and for her passion for CGI. ” –  Liliane Rocha

“I was not fortunate enough to meet Dr. Dot Cummings, but it sounds like she was an inspiration, loved by many and will be dearly missed. The Cummings family and the extended CGI family will be in my thoughts.” – Dr. Jenn Rolfes

“Our deepest condolences to the family, and especially Dr Janet. It was always a pleasure to see Dr Cummings during our webinars.” – Pooja Panesar