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Finding Home: Cassandra Pearson ’20 Scholarship

When Cassandra “Cassie” Pearson ’20 first stepped onto Salem State’s campus, she knew she had found home.  

Her father, Eric Pearson, explains that while on a college tour his daughter was instantly drawn to the university. “She stopped and did a panoramic look around. My wife and I asked her if she was okay, and Cassie said, ‘We can go home now, this is where I’m going.’”  

Cassie was particularly interested in Salem’s history and the role it played in the maritime industry and Revolutionary War. Eric says that it called out to his daughter, an avid reader, history buff and aspiring history teacher.  

Eric describes Cassie as an “introverted extrovert,” someone who was caring and always saw the good in people. “Cassie had friends who came from different walks of life. If they were a good human, that’s all that mattered to her.”  

During her senior year, Cassie was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away in late 2020.  

“In the aftermath of her passing, we thought about what we could do— maybe raise a little money to help a student or two along the way. In lieu of flowers, we ended up raising $9,000, so we knew we had to do this the right way.”  

The Cassandra Pearson Scholarship was established at Salem State in her memory in 2021. At the beginning, it wasn’t about how much the family could raise, but what they could do that would be meaningful to other students.  

“Cassie’s intellect, inquisitiveness, empathy, and wit embody the spirit and character of our history majors. Her commitment to understanding the past and fighting for social justice lives on through the Pearson Scholarship and the generosity of her parents, Eric and Rebecca,” says Andrew Darien PhD, professor of history and Cassie’s mentor.  

Alumni Relations
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