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Remembering Dominic M. Cermele ’59, Former President of Girard College

The Girard College community is mourning the loss of former president Dominic M. Cermele ’59, who passed away on November 11 at home with his family. His contributions to the school were innumerable, and our thoughts are with his family.

Dominic Cermele had a unique Girard journey, from student (1948-59) to President of the Alumni Association (1990-92) to member of the Board of Directors of City Trusts (1992 – 2003) to President of Girard College (2003-09). Through it all, his leadership, generosity, and dedication were always focused on creating opportunities for Girard students.

“My experiences as a student at Girard,” Cermele said in 2008 upon announcing his retirement, “drove my passion and decision-making all these years later.”

During his tenure as President, Cermele grew the school’s enrollment while also expanding behavioral and counseling services for students and families. He advocated for year-round use of the campus through day camp programs, and oversaw efforts to modernize the physical plant and replace the roof of Founder’s Hall.

“Dominic Cermele was a great man and a dear friend,” said James Turner, Interim President of Girard College. “He brought me into this community and showed me the impact of a Girard education. He was my president.”

Cermele will be well-remembered for dressing up as Santa Claus and reading to students each Christmas, a practice he enjoyed before, during, and after his time as President. He loved staying connected to Girard’s youngest students.

Dominic M. Cermele

Cermele was also a generous fundraiser, raising money for computer technology, chairing the New Year’s Eve galas, and establishing the Donna Cermele Cacia Memorial Fund. He was a founding member and chair of the Girard College Board of Managers (1996-2003) and chair of the Stephen Girard Memorial Committee, leading the effort to erect a statue of Stephen Girard outside the Girard Farmhouse.

Along with his wife, Barbara, he created the Pat and Rita Cermele Award for Distinguished Service, which is awarded annually to a staff member who exemplifies the highest quality of work, a positive attitude, and commitment to the goals of the College.

Cermele was recognized by the Alumni Association with the Award of Merit in 1990 and the Stephen Girard Award in 1999 for his professional accomplishments and dedication to the College.

Cermele had a distinguished civic career after attending the Augustinian Seminary, Drexel University, and Cheney State. He was the former Deputy Finance Director under Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode, a former First Deputy Chief Clerk of the Court and later Traffic Court Judge, and the first Executive Director of the Office of Administrative Review appointed by then Mayor of Philadelphia Ed Rendell.

Services for Dominic M. Cermele ’59 will be held Saturday, November 20, 2021 at The National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia in Philadelphia. The Judge will pass through the gates of Girard College one last time in a procession following the Funeral Mass.

Dominic M. Cermele Obituary


Saturday, November 20, 2021

St. Rita’s Church
Broad and Ellsworth Sts.
Philadelphia, PA

Viewing 8:30am
Funeral Mass 10:30am
Interment Private

In lieu of flowers, donations to CATCH (Citizens Acting Together Can Help), 1409 Lombard St., Phila PA 19146 would be appreciated.

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