Images found here are not to be reproduced without my express written permission.

A visit to Girard College

Stephen Girard was born in France but emigrated to the "New World" during the American Revolution. He had already made a considerable fortune in shipping but demonstrated a Midas touch and continued to expand his business interests; he also became quite successful in real estate and banking. Upon his death, he left a 38-page will bequeathing $2,000,000 to the city of Philadelphia to establish a school for "white orphaned boys". In Pennsylvania at that time, "orphan" was defined as a child without a father. My grandfather was one of the children who was educated there thanks to this bequest.
Mr. Girard never got to see this institution built; he died in 1831, and the first students were admitted in 1848 after construction was complete. Girard Collegeis not a university but a school which now teaches students from 1st through 12th grade. While students originally stayed there year-round with the exception of a few holidays, they now board there through the week and return to their families on the weekends.
Beginning in the late 1800's there were multiple challenges to Girard's will with several key stipulations being overturned by the courts. In the late 1960's, the first black students were admitted. Since then, females have also gained admission, as well as children of single parents. (Admission is no longer restricted to "fatherless" children.) Today more than 90% of the students are people of color, and more than half are female. The original bequest included many of Girard's belongings, which can be seen in Founders Hall, one of the original buildings. 

The education of the children served by Girard College continues to be supported primarily by Girard's bequest - the $2,000,000 principal remains intact and operating expenses are funded by the investments and interest earned on the principal. All graduates have offers to multiple universities, and Girard College helps their graduates find financial resources to complete their college education. Generous donations from alumni help in this effort.

A statue found at the entrance to Girard College

The front of Founders Hall, which includes a 39-foot-tall door (to give you an idea of its size).

The next three photos are of one of the classrooms, followed by a few of Girard's personal effects found in the museum on the second floor of Founders Hall. Mr. Girard's will was so detailed that he specified the precise size of each classroom and the height of each stair in the buildings.

Among the artifacts preserved in the museum is Mr. Girard's will.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter