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A Wealth of Knowledge

Don and Carol Cummings with dog JakeThe D. W. Cummings Scholarship was generously created by Don and Carol Cummings to further English language studies at Central, especially the study of the English lexicon.  D. W. Cummings earned his Ph.D. in English literature at the University of Washington. He came to Central in 1960 and retired in 1996. He is the author of American English Spelling (Johns Hopkins UP, 1988) and of the website, which offers the results of several decades of study of English words, their history, meaning, structure, and spelling, along with various teaching materials.  Carol F. Cummings, beyond being his wife and co-founder of the scholarship, is also a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and teacher of Polynesian and social dancing. Their dog’s name is Jake. 

“Should you like a guide to the English language, I can think of no greater authority than Don Cummings, whose knowledge of words is so extensive that he can tell you why there is an "o" in "speedometer." I refer to his "Compendium of English Orthography" as The Treasure Trove and routinely direct students to his website to find it, along with many other materials they can use in their research or in their teaching careers. In his retirement, Don has generously provided articles, books, curricula, databases and more to anyone interested in our language. When I learned of the D.W. Cummings Scholarship, the word that came to mind was "magnanimous," (which any student of Don's could tell you derives from magnus, "great"),” enthused Dr. Loretta Gray, Professor of English.

Story by: Katharine Reed, Senior Director of Development

Published: 2/19/2021

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