Girard College’s 175th Anniversary
175 Years of Transforming Lives
From its first day through today, Girard College has provided the resources and opportunities needed for students to thrive and succeed in education and in life. By providing a safe, supportive environment in which students can try, fail, learn, and explore, Girard puts young people on a path to discovering their purpose.
Girard College opened its doors on January 1, 1848, to about 100 students, fulfilling the unprecedented philanthropic vision of Stephen Girard. Over 175 years, more than 22,000 students have been educated at the College, a legacy that grows with each graduating class.
This is an exciting year ahead for Girard, as we celebrate 175 years of tradition while reimagining what it means to transform lives through education in the 21st century. By developing resources, expanding partnerships, and making investments in our program and our people, Girard College is poised for growth and success in the coming year and beyond.
There will be plenty of opportunities for you to engage with our students, visit our campus, and be part of the celebration. Look for communications on the following events and more, as we move forward as a #CampusForTheCity and #OneGirard.
Anniversary Year Events
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and Philadelphia Orchestra Concert
In collaboration with Global Citizen, Girard College is proud to serve as the signature site for the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. We are also honored to host The Philadelphia Orchestra in our beautiful Chapel for their annual MLK Tribute Concert. Open to the public; all are welcome.
"Be Holding" World Premiere (Performance Date TBD)
Girard College is producing a multi-disciplinary live performance that explores themes of Black joy, justice and love in the face of racial violence. Our high school students are collaborating with a team of acclaimed artists on an original production that will premiere in the Cheesman A. Herrick Field House and Armory in Spring 2023.
Based on the book-length poem of the same name by Ross Gay and inspired by Philadelphia basketball champion Julius “Dr. J” Erving, the "Be Holding" artistic team includes Gay, composer Tyshawn Sorey, director Brooke O’Harra, and musical ensemble Yarn/Wire. "Be Holding" has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Beyond the Wall 5K Race (Date TBD)
175th Anniversary Gala (Date TBD)
Reflections from our Student Ambassadors
Hear from our student ambassadors about the importance of your support to the programs and projects they are excited about this year. Produced by the Girard College Student Ambassadors. Edited by Stephan Philemon ’23
From the Historical Collections
What did the campus look like in 1848? The daguerreotype above shows the College just six months after opening.
In 1848, the only permanent buildings on campus where those designed by architect Thomas U. Walter, including Founder’s Hall, which served as the original classroom, and the four dormitories flanking it (now called Mariner, Merchant, Allen, and Bordeaux Halls). You can also see the wall and gatehouses, which were part of the original construction.