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Family roots itself on the Hilltop

Sgt. Nick McCumber with his daugther, Alexandra McCumber. Photo via Sgt. Nick McCumber

As Sgt. Nick McCumber of Bradley University Police Department patrols campus now, he remembers graduating at the fieldhouse where Markin now stands. He imagines his parents meeting here as undergraduates and might wave to one of his three children on campus.

McCumber graduated from Bradley in 1993 with a Bachelor’s in biology and sociology before working as a city police officer in Peoria Heights for 25 years. He then decided to return to the Hilltop to finish out his career.

“I lived in Olin or the library basically my entire time here,” Sgt. McCumber said. “Then, [campus] was smaller and that made everyone closer, and they partied a little harder on weekends than they do now.”

Sgt. McCumber’s ties to Bradley are stronger than just being an alumnus. For generations, the McCumber family tree has been planted firmly on the Hilltop.

Not only did both of his parents attend, but his eldest son works as a dispatcher in MacMillan, his daughter, Alexandra, is a current sophomore, and his youngest child, Natalia is a high school senior and recently applied to Bradley.

“My grandparents both graduated from Bradley, and so did my dad [Sgt. McCumber], my aunt even went here for a few years,” health science major Alexandra McCumber said. “So when I decided to come to Bradley, it was a big deal.”

Sgt. McCumber is a part of BUPD’s crime prevention department, and said he gets to know students through holding outreach events like self-defense classes and active-shooter seminars.

“I’m used to knowing everybody,” Sgt. McCumber said. “It’s fun getting to know people, but that does get hard [with] students leaving after a few years.”

Alexandra said she likes seeing her dad on campus every once in a while, and even works with him despite others thinking it might be “strange.”

“I am even an intern with the BUPD communications team, there are five of us. I think we could all agree that it is easy to work and get along with him.”

Sgt. McCumber said he respects her space and makes sure he lets her have her life on campus.

“It’s not like we meet up constantly, but we run into each other here,” Sgt. McCumber said. “Every once and a while, she’ll call and say ‘Can you pick me up, can you give me a ride’? So there is some gain for her.”

Alexandra said she admires her dad, as well as his career, and doesn’t mind sharing the Hilltop.

“My dad is really laid back and very honest and most people don’t have anything negative to say about him,” Alexandra said. “I still have so many people that come up to me and ask if I am McCumber’s daughter and they could go on forever about how much they like my dad, as a person and officer.”

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