No Writer Attributed
March 11, 1882
Girard College, one of the wealthiest educational institutions in the country, is perhaps the least known of any in its internal working, nor is it generally known that it possesses the most beautiful and costly of college buildings. The chief college building is the most magnificent and durable structure in the United States. It is built after the model of a Grecian temple. It resembles the Parthenon, with a peristyle of thirty-six columns, whose cost was about $13,000 each. The cella or body of the building is 111 feet wide and 169 feet long. This one structure cost two millions of dollars. The entire sum given by the donor for a college was absorbed in the building, but the real estate which Girard gave, in trust, to the city for the support of the college, has increased in value, so that it yields annually in rents $800,000, and it is constantly growing more productive. The college grounds contain 41 acres, with about 40 distinct buildings for the use of the pupils, including a chapel, dormitories and laboratories. More than one thousand orphans are here instructed, fed, clothed and cared for in every particular by the various officers of the college. They are taken at the early age of six years, some of them ignorant of the alphabet, and are kept under "tutors and governors" for eight years; then if suitable places can be found are apprenticed to some trade. The design of the founder was to make practical men, hence classical training was neither enjoined nor forbidden in the will. The students, therefore, seem immature compared with those of New England universities. The principal building is fireproof; even the roof is built of slabs of marble. The stairs from bottom to top are self-supporting, without wood-work. This building is devoted wholly to the business of instruction, and the teachers are responsible for the good conduct of the pupils while under their care. When they pass from the recitation rooms they fall under the eye of an entirely different set of officers, who regulate their whole life apart from books. The discipline for offenders consists chiefly of admonition, deprivation of privileges, and seclusion. In extreme cases corporal punishment is administered in the presence of the president. Incorrigibles are expelled. A majority of the teachers and overseers are women. In the department of instruction are seven male professors and sixteen female teachers. The household is administered by a matron, six prefects and five governesses. The order and neatness of all the premises are quite perfect. The college was open for occupation in 1848. With the exception of one year, William H. Allen, LL. D., has been its president. His administration has been wonderfully successful. He still retains his place and influence at the ripe old age of seventy-four years. Mr. Girard defined an orphan as a white child whose father was dead. The mother who commits her fatherless boy to the care of this board may visit him or he may visit her once in six weeks; or she may never hear of him again till she reads his name in print as a lawyer, doctor, artist or member of Congress. Though no clergyman is welcomed to even enter the grounds of the college, still public worship is maintained every day in a splendid chapel, conducted by the president or an officer of the college.