“I went to those webpages on Grammar, and I found a major resource that is open to the world…free to anyone who wants to learn English. What a gift to Mankind!”
Jim Satterfield, Canton, Georgia
In 1996 Professor Emeritus Charles Darling created an online instructional guide for his creative writing and literature classes at Capital Community College (CCC).
Dr. Darling, the author of several books of poetry and Capital’s first webmaster, wanted to create a place where his students could obtain help with writing their research papers and reports, as well as look up grammatical issues for themselves.
The Guide to Grammar & Writing rapidly took on a life of its own, mushrooming into a widely popular site as use of the web for personal and educational uses became ubiquitous. It was not uncommon for the late Professor Darling to field more than 50 emails a night. It was Charlie Darling’s idea to link his Guide to the College Foundation. “From now on, people who get answers to grammar questions from me will also get a pitch to send a tax-deductible contribution to the college’s nonprofit foundation,” Darling told the Hartford Courant in a 2004 feature story.
Twenty-five years later Charles Darling’s Guide To Grammar & Writing is still going strong as a free resource for teachers, students and anyone trying to get their grammar and written communication right. People from all corners of the earth still call and e-mail the college with questions on grammar use and writing and send along their thanks with occasional gifts of appreciation.
One of the latest “thank yous” accompanied by a donation came to the College Foundation last month from Jim Satterfield who lives in a small town outside of Atlanta.
“What is an 88-year-old man who lives in Canton, GA doing making donations to a college in Hartford CT?” asked Satterfield explaining his interest in the Guide and Capital CC. “This seems especially odd since he has degrees from the University of Georgia, should be a rabid Bulldog football fan, and ought to make donations there rather than out of state……Well, I’m not a typical UGA alumnus. I can’t tell you the name of the UGA football coach nor name a single player. But I am, and always will be, a student. I will always try to learn new things as long as I live, and over the last year I’ve ventured back into the area of sentence diagramming. This adventure in learning/relearning has resulted in my becoming aware of CCC.”
“To do sentence diagramming,” says Satterfield, “I’ve had to relearn much of the English I had forgotten and also learn much that I’ve never known. I “googled” English grammar websites and found a link to Dr. Darling’s webpages on grammar that are a part of the CCC website. I went to those webpages on Grammar, and I found a major resource that is open to the world…free to anyone who wants to learn English. What a gift to Mankind! I’ve used the website regularly in my work with sentence diagramming, and I will continue to use it.
Since discovering the Guide to Grammar, Satterfield has made two donations in support of Capital, one for the Guide itself and a second for the College’s nursing program. The nursing gift was inspired by “the flood of memories your college brought to me.” Satterfield, who earned his master’s in zoology at UGA, went on to become a professor at the Georgia State College of Business Administration, a college similar in size to Capital at the time that has grown into Georgia State University in Atlanta. “CCC reminds me so much of that College in the days when I joined the faculty.” While the old Georgia State didn’t offer nursing Satterfield’s biology department taught human anatomy and physiology and microbiology for nursing students. “I enjoyed teaching those older (working) students who could bring to class a wealth of knowledge and experience on which to build their degree.” recalls Satterfield.
Professor Darling died in 2006 after a courageous battle with brain cancer not long after retiring from a 35-year career at Capital Community College. But his gifts as an extraordinary teacher live on through the Guide that he created and generously shared, a sharing that continues today. His remarkable contributions to the college can be found at the Grammar site in this tribute by Jane Bronfman, former Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
by John McNamara