Girard College

Background and History

Situated on a 43 acre campus in Northern Philadelphia, Girard College was formed by an unprecedented act of American philanthropy. Constructed and endowed from the fortune of Stephen Girard (1750 – 1831), a French immigrant who was probably the richest man in America at the time of his death and the money he left to create Girard was the largest private charitable donation up to that time in American history. Girard directed the city to use his enormous gift to build a school for poor, orphan or fatherless, white boys who would live on campus. Girard is Applicants must be at least six years old, demonstrate good social skills and the potential for scholastic achievement, and come from a single-parent, lower-income family. Girard accepts students on the basis of school records, admissions testing, a visit, and interviews, without preference for race, gender, religion, or national origin.

Updates and Notes of Interest

Girard’s stated mission is to prepare students for advanced education and life as informed, ethical, and productive citizens through a rigorous educational program that promotes intellectual, social, and emotional growth. All students live in single-sex dormitories arranged by grade level with residential advisers occupying apartments in the dorm buildings to create a caring, familial atmosphere. Girard requires that all students participate in the five-day program for the full benefit of its academic and residential curricula and, while may go home on weekends, few do. Twice a month, all students attend nondenominational services in the school’s chapel, offering a forum for spiritual and moral development. These services, and the campus in general are not open to the general public which is re-enforced by the wall surrounding the campus. Stephen Girard set forth in his will exactly how the wall was to be built with great, but generally, according to his plan, the wall was to be 20’ high and 14" thick. However visual inspection shows the wall to be only 10’ tall and, according to stories this is because it extends 10’ feet below ground but this has never been verified.


A school for children with special gifts.


We are your family now.


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Jory Tobias Character (former student)

Girard college wall

Girard College

Its Always Sinister in Philadelphia frank1988