Skip to main navigation Skip to content
School News

Dr. Ala Stanford to Deliver Commencement Address at Girard College

Dr. Ala Stanford, nationally renowned surgeon and Founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, will deliver the commencement address at Girard College High School on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Girard College YouTube channel.

The 25 Girard College High School graduates will be able to celebrate in person with their families and teachers at an outdoor ceremony after a year largely spent learning virtually from home.

“The students in the Class of 2021 deserve to have their accomplishments recognized by the larger community,” said Dr. Heather Wathington, president of Girard College, “and all of us are honored and excited to have Dr. Stanford speak at this year’s Commencement.”

Double boarded and certified by the American Board of Surgery in both General Adult and Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Stanford has been a leading figure in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on African Americans in Philadelphia. Her tireless efforts to increase access to COVID testing and vaccination for those in underserved communities have saved countless lives.

“Dr. Stanford’s example is one that resonates with the Girard community,” Wathington said. “Her actions to address racial inequity in healthcare inspire our students to embrace the school’s mission of social impact and activism.”

During the Martin Luther King Day of Service in January 2021, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium led a drive-through and walk-up COVID testing event on Girard’s campus in collaboration with Global Citizen that provided free healthcare to those who might not otherwise be able to receive it.

Dr. Stanford is the first African American pediatric surgeon trained solely in the United States. Upon completing her Pediatric Surgery fellowship, Dr. Stanford became one of only two African American women pediatric surgeons in North America.

Dr. Stanford faithfully serves on the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health and has become a trusted voice and in-demand speaker for news outlets and conferences across the country.

She has been widely recognized for her work, including acknowledgements on “Most Influential” lists from Philadelphia Magazine and Philadelphia Tribune. She has received accolades from Urban One Honors for her work in addressing health equity, and Fortune magazine has recently named Dr. Stanford as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

The Class of 2021 Commencement will also feature speeches from Student Body President Jayda Delbrune and Co-Valedictorian Indiya Muhammad-Burrell. Brock Lyles will perform “America the Beautiful.”

Students will also enjoy a “Night Under the Stars” gala on Tuesday night, which will feature awards and induction into the Girard College Alumni Association. A full list of awards, scholarships, and college decisions will be published following the commencement ceremony.

Please join us in congratulating the students in the legendary Class of 2021!

Helpful Links