As this book is being concluded, Girard College is a thriving school with grand plans for the future.  The school is now an academic preparation school, preparing children to continue their education after graduating from Girard.  This factor is considered in recruitment.  Selection of new students is based on a prediction of their ability to succeed academically in and after departing from the College. 

The facility is being upgraded.  Aging utilities lines are being replaced.  Improvements were made to modernize living conditions.  Ground will soon be broken for a new elementary school and housing for the students of that school.  Athletic facilities are improving.  Future plans call for renovation of a school and housing facilities for middle school students and the construction of a separate student activities building.  There are plans to increase student population to 800.  Personnel with special skills in raising money and improving outside communications have been hired.  Founder’s Hall is being surveyed to determine the requirements and costs to stabilize and eliminate some of the problems that have occurred to it during its one hundred and fifty year existence.

In the past few years the educational quality has improved and higher standards have been established.  To eliminate the excessive turnover in teaching staff, salary schedules have been revised to be competitive with city schools.  Recruitment of quality houseparents is still difficult and probably will remain so because of the unattractive and unusual living conditions.  The possibility of returning to a yearlong residential school is being studied.  Nearly all graduates attend College.

In the past few years the College received unjust criticism from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the local newspaper.  It implied that the quality of education and living conditions is less today then when it was an all-White school.  Someone called this “institutional racism”.  The articles alleged that the school’s budget was purposely reduced by the Board during a period when the Estate was growing substantially.  Headlines such as “Fortune thrives, school does not”, “Girard Estate flush, but funds for school drop”, found in the 1997 newspapers brought adverse publicity to the College.  Some of the criticism of the Board’s political make-up were just, but in total the critics of the College were unjust.  There is still a need for the College and it is caring for and educating six hundred children who otherwise might be neglected or at least living under undesirable conditions.

Girard College is not the school that Stephen Girard described in his Will.  It has survived 150 years during which it cared for and educated nearly thirty thousand children.  I think Stephen Girard would be proud of the achievements of his Estate and  “his children” and I think he would be perfectly content with the changes that have occurred.  Hail Girard.


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Joe Ross

Please direct Comments, Questions, and Recommendations about this book, Stephen Girard, The Man, His College and Estate to
Thomas J. DiFilippo