Second Peirce College Principal Ruth Stong Peirce

Ruth Stong Peirce


1896 - 1898

On May 16, 1896, Peirce School (née, Union Business College) founder Thomas May Peirce passed away. Dr. Peirce had been ill for many months and unable to make appearances at the school he loved since February of that year, instead directing operations via messenger from his family's home at 1616 North Broad St. in Philadelphia. Though the world lost a great educator in 1896, it did not lose sight of his vision.

Dr. Peirce's widow, Ruth Stong Peirce stepped up and assumed the office of principal upon her husband's passing. It was the former teacher and school founder's wish that Ruth, who was herself a teacher before meeting her husband, pick up where he left off.

“It will aim, as in the past, to give the very best business training.”

It seemed unheard of at the time that a woman would take such a position of leadership and excel at it, but Ruth Stong Peirce did just that during her short tenure as school principal. The college was, in fact, no stranger to empowering women at the time: in the 1890s, the student body was as high as 25 percent female during some years.

The school insisted that it would persevere and continue to rigidly stick to its mission of providing career-oriented adult education during the post-Thomas May Peirce era. “A business school conducted upon the best educative lines for a period of 31 years by the same principal, a man of strong personality and a sound educator, must have impressed upon it a policy that has become a part of its very being. Peirce School, under Dr. Thomas May Peirce, its founder and principal, has achieved an ever-growing success. We assert with fullest confidence that its continuance under the same management and with the same faculty guarantees its continued success. It will aim, as in the past, to give the very best business training.”

Ruth Stong Peirce's turn as school principal was brief, as she passed two years after her husband in 1898. The school remained in the competent hands of the Peirce family, however. Mary Bisbing Peirce, the eldest daughter of Thomas May Peirce, took Ruth's place.

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