By Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2021

SALEM, Mass. (AP) - Salem State University has received a $6 million gift from an alumna and her husband that will be used to make sure undergraduate seniors have the financial resources to graduate and to bolster several student services, the school announced Thursday.

The gift from Kim Gassett-Schiller and Philip Schiller is not only the largest cash donation in school history, but the largest to any of Massachusetts’ nine state universities, Salem State said in a statement.

Most of the money, $5 million, will go to the Viking Completion Grant Endowment, established this year to help seniors facing financial hardship graduate. It is expected to benefit 50 to 75 students every year.

The $1 million balance will to to support that university’s Center for Academic Excellence and the campus fitness and recreation center, as well as other student support services.

“When we learned that some Salem State students, who achieve so much and are so close to graduating, risk dropping out for financial reasons, we had to step up. This gift will remove that risk and make earning a Salem State degree possible,” Gassett-Schiller said in a statement.

Gassett-Schiller and Schiller are Massachusetts natives who live in California. Gassett-Schiller earned an accounting degree from Salem State in 1983. Schiller was last summer was named an Apple Fellow, one of a small group of Apple employees recognized for their contributions to the technology company.

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