Activists Cecil B. Moore and Martin Luther King, Jr. might have smiled at the thought of Ivy McCottry, the first African American female student body president and valedictorian in the 154-year history of Girard College. Because their protests led to the integration of the nation’s oldest private boarding school, Ivy, a first-generation college student, was able to greatly benefit from Girard which now serves all students of single parent and/or low-income families. Ivy’s roles on the Student Life Committee, Board of Managers, and Moral Dimension Task Force allow her to influence the lives of present and future Girardians.

Ivy characterizes herself as driven. Drive is necessary to overcome the drugs, poverty, and violence in North Philadelphia. Self-motivated, Ivy has inherited the strength of her pillar-like grandmother. Her triumph over adversity was recognized with a Horatio Alger scholarship. Negative aspects of her surroundings influence Ivy’s interest in architecture: she is determined to improve the blight of her hometown and urban communities worldwide. Ivy aspires to pilot a non-profit organization that develops affordable housing and provides services to disadvantaged communities.

Striving for her goals, Ivy received scholarships to summer architecture programs at Carnegie Mellon University and Rhode Island School of Design. She was chosen as an alternate to the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts. She has honed her art skills through courses at Moore College of Art and Design, Temple University, and the University of Notre Dame. She interned with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and she completed a community heritage analysis of neighborhoods designated under the Mayor’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. She hopes to explore architecture/urban studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Ivy is a member of the Philadelphia NAACP Youth Council and has served as treasurer. Leading by example, she takes particular pride mentoring and tutoring younger students. Ivy has represented Pennsylvania at two national student leadership conferences and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is a National Minority Student Leader, Kodak Young Leader, and an All-American Scholar. This two-time class president, secretary/treasurer, and team captain is a scholar-athlete; her athleticism in basketball caught the eye of recruiters before she entered high school. A tremendous jumper, Ivy earned the titles of MVP and league triple jump champion and anchored her District championship 400-meter relay team.

Ivy has looked to her past for insight about her identity and her future. As a member of the d’Zert Club she sojourned to West Africa and received honorary citizenship to Gambia. A Freedom Ride with Philadelphia’s MLK Association enabled her to relive the Civil Rights Movement. Ivy has been named to Who’s Who Among American High School Students for two consecutive years. Her drive is rooted in the biblical quotation, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She is focused on making a difference in the lives of others. Like the vine, Ivy has no limitations and her growth is continuous.

Ivy M. McCottry

Hometown – Philadelphia, PA
Undergrad – Cornell University, BS, Urban and Regional Studies
Graduate School – Wake Forest University, 2014, MBA
Current – Senior Program Technical Manager, AT&T