Girard to retire at semester’s close

By Nick Pitts
February 7, 2008


At the end of the 2008 spring semester, Cabrini will have to say goodbye to one of its veteran teachers. History and political science professor Dr. Jolyon Girard has announced his retirement.

“It feels like the right time to move on and let newer faculty members step up,” Girard said. “I’m also tired of driving the Schuylkill Expressway from Cherry Hill, NJ to Radnor every morning.”

At his time of retirement, Girard will have completed 34 years of teaching at Cabrini, specializing in areas such as United States history, Latin America and modern Europe.

He has also researched in fields such as American diplomacy, and the U.S. military and constitution.

Girard also helped establish the men’s sports program at Cabrini.

He coached the men’s basketball team for the first seven years of its existence, from 1974 to 1980.

“I will miss class teaching, but I can’t say I’m going to miss grading blue books. I’ll miss them about as much as students love writing them.”

Among other colleagues, history chairman Dr. James Hedtke expressed feelings because of the departure of his friend.

“I definitely feel sadness, more for the students than myself,” Hedtke said. “This is a great loss for the students.”

Junior history major Bryan Shinehouse recalled some of his fond memories of Girard.

“Part of the reason I came to Cabrini was because I had heard a lot about Dr. Girard,” Shinehouse said. “When I finally got to meet him, I asked if he were Jolyon Girard and he responded, ‘only if I don’t owe you money.'”

Anna Scholl, a junior English and communication major, will also remember Girard for his humor and antics in the classroom.

“Girard had a very non-conventional way of teaching, but that is what many students liked about him.”

Girard will be interviewing for his replacement this week along with several other history professors at Cabrini. Four candidates have been chosen, one of whom was actually a student of Girard’s at one point in time.

“Someone will come to teach in his place, but Girard was an institution,” Hedtke said. “Girard seems irreplaceable.”

Of the many other duties the new professor will have to fulfill, such as teaching U.S. Survey classes 107 and 108, 7:30 a.m. breakfasts with Hedtke may be included.

“I’ve had more breakfasts with him than my wife in the past 30 years.”

Girard will also miss breakfast with Hedtke and other colleagues three mornings a week.

He did, however, announce that he will still teach a class next fall, for no form of payment.

Girard can no longer officially work for pay at Cabrini because of his retirement decision, but he still wishes to teach a 400-level seminar class once a week.

“This way, my colleagues and I will still be able to enjoy breakfast on Wednesday mornings,” Girard said.

Upon retirement, Girard shows no signs of slowing down. He plans on volunteering at the Veterans Administration, as well as spending time on the golf course near his New Jersey home. He also looks to continue his writing, with his second book dated to be published in October entitled “Daily Life in the United States: 1940-2005,” as well as another book in the works.

Finally, Girard hopes to travel with his wife and has a vacation already in the works.

When asked where he was planning to vacation, Girard said simply, “I’ll go wherever there is a good golf course.”

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Nick Pitts

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