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Education

Philip Cummings was a natural student, intellectually curious and highly motivated to learn. He read widely on a broad range of topics and actively pursued subjects that interested him through both formal coursework and independent study.

Cummings hoped to complete a PhD in Spanish literature and teach at a college or university, but without financial support from his family, he had to approach his higher education in stages. Whenever his money ran out, he worked as a language teacher long enough to build up funds for his next course of study. And wherever he took classes, he also served as a teaching assistant or tutor to help pay his way.

Circumstances intervened and Cummings never completed his doctorate, but he continued to pursue his varied intellectual interests throughout his life.

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High school: Hardwick (Vermont) Academy, 1924

Undergraduate education:

  • Stetson University, DeLand, Florida

  • Université de Dijon, France

  • Universidad de Madrid, Spain

  • Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida;
    BA in Modern Languages awarded June 1929

Graduate education:

  • Universidad de Madrid, Spain

  • Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont;
    MA in Spanish Studies awarded May 1932

  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill;
    PhD in Romance Languages not completed



Hardwick Academy Class of 1924; Philip Cummings 2nd row, 3rd from left. Photo courtesy Hardwick Historical Society.









The [Christmas] card supreme of the mail was from the head of the Spanish department of Middlebury College, under whom I studied and taught last year. He is the greatest teacher I have ever known. To be half the professor that Dr. Juan Centeno is would be ambition enough for me.

—Philip Cummings, Valley Ranch Journal, 1932-33




[Bécquer's] life and his prose works were to be the subject of my Doctorate thesis, which has been put off until an indefinite period due to crippled finances... I have completed about all there is to be done until the bourse permits my return to Spain, where I shall be able to dig out some more research and win, very much Deo volente, the coveted supreme sheepskin.

—Philip Cummings, Valley Ranch Journal, 1932-33

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Copyright © 2017 Patricia A. Billingsley