A 'lucky' tradition restored with rededication of Foy Ingram Cummings Fountain

Posted: Wednesday, 21 October 2015

TROY - Troy University brought an old tradition back to the campus, and maybe a little good luck, with the rededication of the Foy Ingram Cummings Fountain at the Troy Campus.

The original fountain, named for a longtime TROY professor, was originally located on the back quad behind Bibb Graves Hall. Its plaque bore the faces of four of Cummings’ grandchildren, and over the years it became a campus tradition to rub the children’s noses for good luck.

The fountain was removed during the renovation of the back quad, but its famous plaque was preserved, and on Saturday, Oct. 3, the plaque was installed on the fountain at Trojan Dining, creating a new Foy Ingram Cummings Fountain and giving a new generation of Trojans a chance for some good luck.

"This was not only an enduring tradition, but it’s an endearing tradition," said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., during the rededication ceremony. "I can’t tell you over the years how many times all of us walked by the fountain and actually rubbed the noses of the children. Today, we are not only reviving a great tradition, but we are here to celebrate the life of a great lady."

Foy Ingram Cummings taught at Troy State University for 34 years, from 1937 to 1971. She was a member of the Education and Psychology Department, and served as head the Laboratory School for many years. The first fountain named in her honor was dedicated in 1974, and over the decades, its reputation as a fount of good luck was firmly established as TROY lore. The 1992-93 Palladium lists the fountain alongside famous campus landmarks like the Kissing Rock, and notes "rubbing the noses of the children’s faces with the heel of the foot provides good luck."

Many members of the Cummings family were on hand for the dedication of the new fountain, including two of the four grandchildren whose faces adorn the plaque. Jan Cummings Samuel said the grandchildren had no idea about the "nose rubbing" tradition.

"We remember the plaque getting dedicated and had been by here before, but didn’t know that there was a tradition until just recently," Samuel said. "And to hear that it’s being reinstated is just great. It means a lot to us because that was our Grandma."

Walter Givhan, Senior Vice Chancellor Advancement and External Relations, said it was a pleasure to not only restore a TROY tradition, but to meet some of the people behind the story.

"You can read history all the time, but to actually meet two of the people depicted on the plaque was really a thrill," Givhan said. "It was fun to have them here today with students rubbing the noses and the people represented were standing right by."

A ‘lucky’ tradition restored with rededication of Foy Ingram Cummings Fountain

From left to right, Chris Cummings, Jan Cummings Samuel, Marilyn Cummings, Jeff Cummings and Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., unveil the plaque on the rededicated Foy Ingram Cummings Fountain outside the dining hall on the Troy Campus. Chris and Jan are two of the four Cummings grandchildren depicted on the plaque.