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Merrimack Receives $1 Million for Student Success Center

 Patrick Lawlor, Editor in Chief

Merrimack College has received a gift of one million dollars to create the James W. O’Brien Center for Student Success. The center, according to Merrimack, will provide students access to higher education and prepare them for the global economy in the 21st Century.

“The James W. O’Brien Center for Student Success will provide a bridge into and through college, and ultimately into the workforce, by providing cooperative educational opportunities that allow students to gain real-world experience and pay for college,” said President Christopher Hopey in a statement.

The O’Brien Center will prepare students for market shifting, the burden of student loan debt, and provide career services and career preparation.

According to Merrimack, “The Center will offer an “earn to learn” environment that allows students to pay for college through their cooperative experiences.  The co-ops will operate as paid, full-time employment in structured settings where the work is aligned with Merrimack’s classroom curriculum.  Over the next several years, Merrimack will build relationships with more than 100 employers and place more than 750 students in paid co-op positions.”

“The co-op was a very strong part of Merrimack’s education tradition and this generous investment by a donor will ensure that it grows as an important option for students,” said Dr. Joe Kelley, dean of experiential learning.

The O’Brien Foundation is Merrimack’s largest benefactor. The O’Brien Foundation has provided Merrimack Students with over $10 million in scholarships over the last 25 years.

This is the second major gift the college has received in just a few months. Richard Gallant recently donated $2 million to support the college’s strategic plan, The Agenda for Distinction.

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