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From Jim O’Neill

I would suggest that each of you who wishes to participate in the rebuilding of Girard, contact Joe Samuel, the current president of the alumni.  We are indeed fortunate that he was at the helm when this situation arose.  It will be difficult for all of us to support a single strategy; however, we must speak with one voice if we wish to make a difference.  This does not mean that all suggestions or assistance will be accepted, but they will be welcomed.

Response from Jim McKendrick

Hello Jim,
I too am very pleased Joe Samuel is in his present position, as its been a while since the office had a man of his talents. You’ll forgive me, however, if I lack confidence in the GCAA  to develop a plan that will maximize the benefit of Judge O’Keefe’s ruling.  After all, it was that crowd that had a sitting and a former president vote to suspend the Weekend Program at GC when they were on the Board of Managers. They also supported the appointment of Autumn Graves as president, and we all know how her three years went. Both actions proved to be very detrimental to the welfare of the children and contrary to the expressed desires of Stephen Girard.  Not renewing Autumn’s contract may have been the most significant contribution of the Board of City Trusts for the well-being of GC in years.
For those reasons, I would encourage people like Anthony Stills, Bernie Oliver, Jack Donahue and all other concerned Hummers to express their ideas publicly. A public discourse should be available to everyone.  We have a wide range of talent in our alumni and it will benefit us all to be inclusive in our search for answers.  Apparently we have more confidence in the alumni population than you. We will print any and all ideas on our blog  We too, for example, would like to know why “Johnny can’t read or write”, the essence of Anthony Still’s message.
We have many questions and ideas that we will be discussing in future blog posts. Girard College deserves our full support and we don’t mean local, financial contributions. Our story has to be told nationwide. We must seek support from an expanded field of allies, including political. We need relief from an oppressive steward who arrogantly believes Stephen Girard’s intent was to create financial benefits and political opportunities for them. Enough is enough and the time for change is now!
A good start would be to review the 7/3/13 article titled “Gird College’s Fiscan Solution Will Rob a Generation of its Future” by G.C. student Brandon Dixon. He elegantly states the need and goal of  our mission. The article is available on ““if you can’t find it elsewhere.
So Jim,  Joe will have our full support.  Just don’t tell me that a select few will sit and think for us.
Your Girard Brother,
Jim McKendrick ’58

Letter from Girard College President – Clarence D. Armbrister


August 27, 2014

To the Girard College Family,

As many may know already, Orphans’ Court Judge Joseph O’Keefe has issued an order denying the petition of the Board of Directors of City Trusts to temporarily modify the structure of Girard College.

Whether you support the Judge’s ruling or the Board’s petition, this week marks the beginning of the next phase in the history of Girard College. Specifically, we begin the new school year asking ourselves, “What happens now?”

Today, I am writing to reassure the “Girard College family” that the Board, the Administration and I are ready to continue the great work that has been ongoing here at Girard in the midst of the discussion about the College’s future. We have invested literally thousands of hours in the redesign of our curriculum and in the training of all teachers and all residential advisors. As a result, we are better prepared than ever to provide the highest quality education to the children entrusted to our care. As a school, we will continue that commitment going forward. I commend all faculty and staff for your dedication to the task of making Girard a better place, particularly in these turbulent times.

I hope that the extended Girard College family will reaffirm its collective and individual commitment to continue producing students of exceptional character and fortitude who embody the core values of Stephen Girard: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Self-Discipline and Compassion. Many of you have done just that by reaching out to talk about the decision, and for that I am grateful.

I am looking forward to a productive academic year ahead. You will be hearing more from me shortly about the upcoming school year, but I thought it important to underscore that, despite all of the attention and emotion connected with the court case, nothing about Judge O’Keefe’s ruling will prevent us from pursuing the best educational opportunities for our students while they are here at Girard College.

Hail Girard!

Clarence D. Armbrister

Recent Girard Court Ruling

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2014-08-25 opinion and order

Girard College’s Finances Handcuffed by Rate Swaps: Muni Credit

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Girard College’s Finances Handcuffed by Rate Swaps: Muni Credit

By Romy Varghese
February 04, 2014Girard College, which for 166 years has schooled and housed low-income students in Philadelphia in a walled campus by decree of its namesake founder, is paying a premium in the bond market after Wall Street deals backfired.
Click here to read more.

Judge rules Girard alumni have no say on cutbacks

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A Philadelphia Orphans’ Court judge on Wednesday said a group that includes Girard College alumni, parents, and students does not have the legal right to object to Girard’s plans to end its high school and boarding programs.
Click here to read the rest of the article. 

Stephen Girard and the War loan of February 8, 1813

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Mark Hehnen ’57 Paper on

The War of 1812 and Stephen Girard

All Hummers learn at an early age that Stephen Girard aided the United States during the war of 1812.  Mark Hehnen ’57, while a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy,  chose that subject for his senior term paper.  It is the most comprehensive review of the man and the times that we know. We’re pleased to offer Mark’s work for your enjoyment.

We understand that Mark received an award from the Naval Academy for his paper. In that he graduated from Girard as the Keyman in the class of 1957, that doesn’t surprise us.


Girard College’s fiscal ‘solution’ will rob a generation of its future

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“Tears have been shed in the last few weeks, but rising slowly from this sadness is a resolution: We will graduate. The students of Girard College have resolved to fight this decision with whatever tools possible.”

Read the full article, by Brandon Dixon, here.

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