Stuart William Cummings was born in York and spent the first 5 years of his life in England before his parents moved back to Scotland and settled in Scone. After completing his primary school education in Scone, his first two years of secondary schooling saw him attend Perth Academy and Queen’s Park School in Glasgow. In the late summer of 1965 the family moved north to Aberdeen when his father took up a position with Aberdeen University Press and Stuart entered Aberdeen Grammar School at the start of Third Year. Within a week he was playing his first game for the Colts rugby team, having borrowed the necessary kit from former FP President, Nigel Watt, a moment that marked the beginning of a steadfast friendship that has prevailed for over fifty years.
On leaving the School, Stuart studied mathematics at Aberdeen University and in 1972 he began 4 years of postgraduate education at Strathclyde University, where he obtained a Masters and a PhD in Operational Research. Stuart joined Berk Pharmaceuticals in Guildford in 1978 as a medical statistician and in 1980 moved to Brussels to join Merck, the major US pharmaceutical company. During a 25-year career at Merck, Stuart was responsible for building the company’s European biostatistical and clinical data management capability, becoming Senior Director in 2000. On leaving Merck, he worked for several Clinical Research Organisations before taking retirement in 2010.
Stuart was awarded full colours for rugby in his 6th year and his enthusiasm for the sport continued on leaving school, playing for the FP first XV for four seasons. He joined Clarkston RFC in Glasgow in 1973 and ended his rugby days playing for the Brussels British Rugby Football Club. For more than 15 years Stuart played in the annual Aberdeen Select vs. Aberdeen Exiles match on Boxing Day, captaining the Exiles side on three occasions. A keen hillwalker, he climbed his first Munro in 1976. Despite the challenge of living in Brussels, Stuart continued his Munro journey over the next 30 years, ‘compleating’ his final Munro in Glencoe in 2011, his 60th year, in the company of more than 50 family members, friends and fellow hillwalkers.
Stuart is married to Catriona, a retired conference interpreter, and they have two sons. Alistair works in marketing for a shipping insurance company in London and Andrew, having spent the last decade living in ‘the University of Life’, is currently studying electronic music production in Bristol.
Stuart has also been the driving force behind the very successful reunions of the ‘Class of 1969’ that started in 1999 and culminated in the 50th reunion in 2019. The reunion dinner on that occasion, held at the Royal Northern & University Club, was attended by more than 50 former pupils and five former teachers. Last year, together with four fellow ‘69ers, John Curran, David Smith, Philip Turberville and Nigel Watt, he co-authored a book subtitled ‘Tales and Tributes from Five of the Class of 1969 at Aberdeen Grammar School’. The book recounts memories of growing up in Aberdeen, their own professional careers and the lives of their antecedents in war and in peacetime while also reflecting on the bond that ties the authors together – the privilege of an Aberdeen Grammar School education.
In retirement, Stuart and Catriona continue to live in Brussels where Stuart enjoys cooking, particularly Indian cuisine, and has built a reputation as a proficient quizmaster, running quizzes, both in person and more recently online, to support UNICEF and other charitable organisations in Brussels.