Autumn Adkins will be invested as the 16th president of Girard College on Friday. She replaces Dominic Cermele, who retired on June 30.
Despite its name, Girard College serves underprivileged students in first through 12th grades. It opened in 1848 as a boarding school for fatherless white boys, funded by the estate of banker Stephen Girard.
Protests and legal challenges eventually led the school to integrate and admit girls. It serves about 600 students today.
Adkins joins Girard after six years as assistant principal at Friends Seminary, a private Quaker college preparatory school in New York.