Joe Zanghi ’54 is a GC grad who started this project many years ago and just saw the last trees planted.
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A Hummer's View – Girard College Today
April 22, 2013
Joe Zanghi ’54 is a GC grad who started this project many years ago and just saw the last trees planted.
Click here to read more.
March 2, 2013
Girard College Cadets – 1955
Girard College Founder’s Day – 1955
February 8, 2013
Alumni Voices A Hummer's View, Board of City Trusts, Chicetawn, Clay Armbrister, Fran Manley, Girard College, Girard College Alumni Association, Girard College Federation of Teachers, Joe Martz, Ronald Donatucci, 6 Comments
We receive phone calls and emails from Girard alumni frequently. The recent post we put up titled “Stakeholder’s Summary” contains many of the questions we’re asked, and unfortunately, unable to answer.
The Board of City Trusts operates in its own vacuum. They release statements telling everyone how transparent they plan to be, yet continue to stonewall those who ask what they consider to be private matters. Public agencies ,we feel, have very little that should be kept from public review.
In this era of instant communications,there is no reason the ongoing business affairs of the BOCT can’t be made public. Their monthly meetings and annual reports should all be published on a website available to the public.
The public, especially the Girard College and Wills Eye Hospital stakeholders, have every right to know the trusts for the college and hospital are receiving the fiduciary oversight they are legally deserve.
When a corpus such as the Girard Estates is reduced nearly 50%, stakeholder’s have a right to know that the managers responsible have been replaced. What investment counselors have been changed by the Estate? Have any been changed? Why hasn’t the Estate manager’s heels been held to the fire?
The financial problems facing Girard College have been well publicized. The only people who have paid a price for the financial mismanagement, however, have been the employees of the school and, most importantly, the students and prospective students. The student population is about 400 now, compared to 750 just a few years ago. That fact alone should shame the BOCT to take action. Protecting and educating children, not a political hack’s job is the primary function of the Board!!
So, my friend, ask your questions. Just don’t expect much of a response.
February 8, 2013
Alumni Voices, Board of City Trust, Family Concerns A Hummer's View, Board of City Trusts, BOCT, Clay Armbrister, Girard College, Girard College Alumni Association, Girard Estate, Joe Martz, Ronald Donatucci, Leave a comment
A Hummer’s View – I thought of you when I read this. I, being very much an outsider, I live outside of Boston and have not been very active in the alumni, have a couple of questions. If you know who best to address them to, I will.
How much did the trust invest in derivatives, such as interest swaps? How much are they worth now or how much were they worth when they were sold? Essentially how much did the trust lose?
Who was responsible for those investments? And is that person still managing investments for the trust.
I would like to see a an expanded list of the portfolio “investments” in 2008. 2009. 2010, 2011, and 2012.
How many people are employed by the trust? Part time? Full time? salaries? Job descriptions?
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year
Hail Stephen Girard
February 8, 2013
Girard College Alumni Delaware County Chapter
February News Letter
Attended by; Erv Antoni, Len Casterline, George Ciervo, Bill Cubit, Tom DiFilippo, Bob& Marie Furphy, Stan Glowaski, Tom McGovern, Jim McKendrick, AndyMelinchuck, Gene Ruggere, Tom Yocom, Lew Rinko, Dillard Jordan, Wes Dunning and Leonard “Smokey” Daddona.
The Delaware County Chapter of the Girard College meeting Feb. 1, 2013 was a great success. 16 people were in attendance. The newcomers were Wes Dunning, Lew Rinko and Len Casterline.
We started with Turkey noodle soup and the entrée was Pot Roast, salad, and ending with Pie. The usual beverages were served.
Every meeting Bob Furphy complains that he wants to know when he is going to get Lobster. To his surprise he and Bill Cubit were both presented with a Lobster.
The Icing on the cake was a tape taken at the Florida Chapters Millennium Cruise in 1998. With all the members getting onstage and under the direction of Bob “Gleason” Furphy we sang our Alma Mater Song, Hail Girard. We were a fantastic success.
Lew Rinko wrote a book that is a must for all. Everything he wrote about happened to every one of us. If you want a copy call Tom Yocom it is a worthy cause.
Len Casterline made a wrong turn and ended up in Smokeys driveway. To his surprise it was the day of our meeting.
Gene Ruggere showed us photos of the damage done to his home at the shore due to Hurricane Sandy. We hope he will be well compensated.
Breeze Breathwaite could not make the meeting because someone wants to buy his house….and demolish it. We can all depend on his decision.
Tom DiFillippo did not have much to say, maybe he has morning sickness and we should buy him some Lidia Pinkham pills.
McKendrick and Melencheck were at least 10’ away from me and my hearing range is only6’. Sorry I missed your conversations.
Dillard Jordan was busy making everyone comfortable. Thanks for your help.
I(Smokey) had the honor of drinking a Manhattan with Stan Glowacki.
We still can’t get over the accomplishments of Erv Antoni. I am happy to be his friend.
Last but not least my classmates that are dear to my heart, Ciervo, McGovern and Breathweighte. I love and respect the man with a passion.
In conclusion it is a privilege to be a part of this rare organization. And I will do my best to continue.
And with the help of Tom Yocom who is also one who makes this all possible and my Son Leonard who does all the work, and I get all the credit.
I’m a lucky Man
December 5, 2012
Alumni Voices, And the staff say..., Board of City Trust A Hummer's View, Bernard Smalley, Board of City Trusts, BOCT, Clay Armbrister, Girard College, Girard College Alumni Association, Girard Estate, Ronald Donatucci, 1 Comment
Dear Friend of Girard:
As you may be aware, in recent months the leaders of Girard College have made clear that the school faces a series of significant financial and operational challenges. While the Board of City Trusts has reiterated its commitment to keep Girard open and operating at its historic North Philadelphia campus, it is also true that difficult decisions must be made in the coming months to ensure Girard’s long-term future.
The Board has authorized a comprehensive review of the challenges that confront the institution, and it has promised that it will strive to keep the entire Girard family informed about the review process and its recommendations for Girard’s future. As part of this commitment, we will host a public meeting for all Girard stakeholders, to be held on December 13, 2012, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Lower School auditorium on Girard’s west end campus. We anticipate that representatives from the Girard Estate and the Board of City Trusts will attend, together with members of the Girard College Board of Managers and Girard President Clarence D. Armbrister.
Because of your continuing relationship with Girard, we cordially invite you to attend this meeting, which will include an overview of the current situation and a discussion about potential options to ensure Girard’s long-term future.
Please email your RSVP to this invitation at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to having you with us at the meeting on December 13th.
Bernard W. Smalley Sr., Esquire
Board of City Trusts
Chairman, Girard College Committee
Clarence D. Armbrister, President
Peter Shoemaker ’60, Chairman
Girard College Board of Managers
June 21, 2012
Alumni Voices, Family Concerns, The Students A Hummer's View, Board of City Trusts, Clay Armbrister, Girard College Alumni Association, Girard Estate, Girardcollege.edu, Ronald Donatucci, Leave a comment
Four people in 18-year-old Edgar Pagan’s life had been shot to death on the streets of Philadelphia by the time he graduated high school last week. While reflecting on his time at Girard College—a 1-12 boarding school for kids with high grades who come from families with low bank accounts—Pagan realized he wanted to write his thoughts on his life and these deaths and the wheel of fortune, the roulette wheel really, that separated them. He just wasn’t sure where to share those thoughts.
May 29, 2012
The following presentation was delivered by Jon Newton on Saturday May 19 on the occassion of his being selected as the 2012 Stephen Girard Award recipient. We congratulate Jon heartedly!!!! editor
When Vince took off the drape I heard someone in the front here whisper that they didn’t think it was a very good likeness.
In a way, that’s exactly what helped drive the decision to support
Founder’s Keepers rather than have a portrait…the world doesn’t need a likeness of Jon Newton, good or bad; the original is quite enough.
Still, portraits of Stephen Girard Award winners are a long-standing tradition and the alumni office didn’t initially understand my decision. They sent me an e-mail saying: “What do you have against getting your portrait done?” I replied: “A mirror.”
We all know about Abraham Lincoln’s response to an opponent during a debate when the opponent accused him of being two faced. Lincoln said: “If I had two faces would I be wearing this one?”
I threw that reference in because, hey: How many times in life do you get to compare yourself to Abraham Lincoln?
There are many thank yous connected with my getting this award and we covered them last night at the dinner in Founder’s Hall. Unfortunately, a key person was not in attendance then but is here now. He’s actually working and if I can get Steel & Garnet photographer Garry Norton to stand still for a minute I’d like get him a very well deserved round of applause.
There are others in attendance today who were not in Founders Hall last night and I would like to acknowledge them also, particularly those who travelled long distances to be here.
We have a very loyal group of Hummers from Texas who never miss a Founder’s Day. I have classmates here from Florida and Minnesota . . .two in from the Pittsburgh area and another from Washington DC . . . most of my family and in lawsand a great many classmates are here from New Jersey — I know that’s just across the river but it’s a long way culturally.
Ken Carpenter ‘54 is here from Newton Center, Massachusetts — had to get that in for obvious reasons — and Dr. Lawrence Weiskrantz, Class of ’42, emeritus professor of psychology at Oxford University came all the way from England.
But the prize for distance goes to someone in my extended family who is here all the way from Jerusalem, Israel. Take a wave, Shira.
I would dearly love to talk this morning about the Founder’s Keepers program because it is so worthwhile and it is a passion of mine. But with things the way they are at Girard College today, using this time to promote the restoration of Founder’s Hall might be seen by many as tantamount to debating what color to paint a ship that is in danger of sinking.
Today, our school is arguably in the most precarious state in its entire history.
Precarious in this context is a euphemism for any number of more dire words depending on the place you occupy in the Girard community. Student, teacher, staff, parent, alumnus . . .everyone is affected differently and all are affected deeply.
For us, in particular those of us Rex Bierko termed “vintage alumni” in his video introduction, the word might be dismay…dismay as we watch our school go through iteration after iteration, each one taking it further away from the school we remember attending . . . until it is in danger of being re-invented or whittled down into something unrecognizable.
And being distanced further and further simultaneously is our chance to do anything about it. In my own opinion the opportunity is now lost and we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that Girard’s alumni can have any meaningful influence on Girard’s future.
It’s not because we are impotent to make a contribution — we always have in past crises — it’s because that kind of contribution is no longer invited. Financial contribution is all that counts.
Today, the administration, the board of city trusts, and the Girard estate see alumni primarily as a large blurry dollar sign. (Realistically more blurry than large.) We are valued for our money not our voice.
This is admittedly a cynical viewpoint. But I will be surprised if it does not find some consensus among you because it reflects what many have been saying privately. It is reality. Or, as Henry Kissinger was fond of saying, “it has the added value of being true”.
So if we can’t talk about helping our school what can we talk about. Well, it’s Founder’s Day so let’s talk about helping the founder.
Directing the energy of our alumni association towards furthering the image and appreciation of Stephen Girard would be a noble and worthwhile responsibility to take on. You could even argue it is our duty. If that is so, we have been derelict in performing it.
Ten years ago, in the Winter 2002 edition of Steel & Garnet, the editor wrote a long article (no surprise there) with a long title: It was called “In search of Stephen Girard. Is awareness of the patriot and philanthropist waxing or waning? And does anyone care?”
The first question posed in that title is rhetorical because there is no appreciable awareness of Stephen Girard to either wax or wane. The second — “Does anyone care?” — we can perhaps start to answer today.
The article went on to lament Stephen Girard’s neglected place in Philadelphia history, let alone American history. As proof of the former, the article discussed how the editor went to the Philadelphia Visitors Center and asked about Stephen Girard. The best two volunteer guides could do was direct him to the interactive kiosks; the best the kiosks could produce was a recommendation to contact the Pennsylvania Historical Society.
There was nothing to be found in this entire building about Stephen Girard. And remember now, this is in Philadelphia — the city for which he did so much. In the end, the editor concluded he could have done just as well at the visitors center in Jackson Hole.
An example of the founder’s obscurity in American history is more recent. Last year I saw a book on Amazon.com entitled Union 1812 — the Americans who fought the second war of independence by A.J. Langguth. I ordered it with considerable expectation. Absolutely nothing about Stephen Girard, not so much as a footnote.
These are just two instances of Stephen Girard being lost . . . not lost IN history but lost TO history. There are many others. And we bear some of the responsibility for this sad state of anonymity to which the founder has been relegated.
This is not to say there haven’t been individual efforts and even some alumni association efforts to raise awareness. But what has been lacking, and was lacking when that article was written ten years, and what still lacks today, is a coordinated, sustained program to bring Stephen Girard to the attention of this city and the nation.
In 1996 Philadelphia Inquirer chief editorial writer George Wilson wrote a highly readable biography called Stephen Girard. The life and times of America’s first tycoon. It is an excellent book and the only biography of the philanthropist to receive any appreciable distribution in over fifty years.
On Founder’s Day of that year, Wilson was invited to hold a book signing in Founder’s Hall. If I am not mistaken, the alumni association bought enough copies to place one in every Girard College classroom. And that was pretty much it until 1999 when former GCAA President Paul Gaughan mounted a fairly heroic individual effort by purchasing fifty copies of Wilson’s book and personally distributing them to libraries and colleges in Central Pennsylvania.
It was a Johnny Appleseed approach but Gaughan intended his effort to be a pilot for a national program underwritten by the alumni association. Our alumni association wasn’t interested.
Wilson’s biography of Stephen Girard should be our bible. GCAA Chapters all around the country should be placing it in their area’s public libraries as Paul Gaughan envisioned. Copies should be made available for sale to visitors in Founder’s Hall. A gift copy should be given to each graduating senior. And copies should be sent in advance to celebrities invited to visit here and most definitely to anyone who plans to speak here.
Instead of all that — instead of any of that — we stood by and watched the book go out of print. Effectively, it is gone.
What I am about to propose wasn’t part of the 2002 Steel & Garnet article but I’m making it a recommendation to the alumni association now: Contact the publisher and co-sponsor a second printing of Wilson’s book. If there is no interest purchase the publishing rights and go it alone — it’s not as though we’re going to get into some expensive bidding war with anyone else who wants the rights.
Another suggestion, and perhaps the most important one, that was in the Steel & Garnet article: Form a committee and charge it with creating an action agenda to raise the awareness of Stephen Girard locally and eventually nationally. Oh God, another committee. I know the feeling; The GCAA only has about fifteen of them already. And at the monthly Board of Governors meetings the same thing often occurs: committee chair after chair rises and says “nothing to report at this time”.
Joe Samuel? Are you here? Joe is the presumptive next president of the alumni association. Joe, if you pick the right people for this committee, and don’t limit it to the usual suspects, and give it some teeth and some financing, you will never hear the words “nothing to report”. If you ever do, fire the chairman and start over.
That ten-year-old Steel & Garnet article has a number of other recommendations, most of them still viable today. The awareness committee will come up with a host of others. This program can work. It will give us something to stand for. And, to paraphrase Kissinger, it has the added value of being the right thing to do.
We end all of our communications and activities at this school with the words ‘Hail Girard!’ Talks such as this one are invariably concluded that way. Letters and e-mails among us are signed off that way. When we part company we use “Hail Girard!” the way Italians use “Ciao!” When we do this, when we give a “Hail Girard!” are we not really saying “Hail Stephen Girard!” ?
Then let’s start saying it loud enough for the world to hear.
Thank you for listening to me.
April 17, 2012
Congratulations to Wesley Morris! !! Girard Class of ’93
April 3, 2012
Alumni Voices, Family Concerns, The Students A Hummer's View, AFT, Autumn Adkins, Autumn Graves, Autumn Joy Adkins, Bernard Smalley, Board of City Trusts, BOCT, Chicetawn, Girard College, Girard College Alumni Association, Girard College Federation of Teachers, Girard Estate, Joe Martz, Ronald Donatucci, 37 Comments
Following the departure of Ms. Graves on June 30, changes will ensue at Girard. What they may be will be the topic of an editorial post that we’re working on now.
We’ll tell you this. You’re probably not going to like a lot of what we have to say. Nevertheless, we would rather give you a candid opinion than one that blows smoke at you.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts? How do you feel about Autumn”s resignation? We’d like to know.
ahummersview as usual – we’d like yours