William Schilling, 1966 College and 1969 Penn Law School graduate and retired Director of Financial Aid, died last Thursday in his family home.
Schilling passed away on Dec. 9 at 76 years old after a brief struggle with cancer, according to Schilling's obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer — written by Schilling's grandson, 2016 Graduate School of Education graduate Ben Liberatore. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, his four children, and seven grandchildren.
Schilling entered Penn as an undergraduate student in 1962 and joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He worked in one of Penn's laundry rooms and later in the financial aid office, Liberatore wrote. After graduating from Penn Law in 1969, he worked as a financial aid officer for Penn, taking the helm of the financial aid office as director from 1980 until his retirement in 2012. Schilling dedicated his work to ensuring all qualified students had an opportunity to receive a Penn education.
A memorial for Schilling will be held on Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Drexel Hill, Pa. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made in his name to the church, according to the obituary.
Schilling was born and raised in Drexel Hill, in a home where he would eventually raise his own children and grandchildren. Liberatore told The Daily Pennsylvanian that Schilling was a big fan of trivia and won "Jeopardy!" in 1994. He also enjoyed singing in his local church choir. Most of all, Liberatore said, he was a family man who enjoyed gathering his family together for birthdays and holidays and spending time with the ones he loved most.
Schilling previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian in 2012 that his proudest achievement during his time as financial aid director was seeing Penn’s endowment expand from covering only 4% of undergraduate grants to more than 20% by his retirement.
He sought to support students nationwide even after retirement from Penn, remaining on the Board of Trustees of College Board and working with the Mendenhall-Tyson Scholarship Foundation, Liberatore said.
Schilling received many cards and emails from colleagues and students expressing appreciation for all he had done for them prior to his passing. One student’s note in particular, read at Schilling’s retirement ceremony, provided a characteristic account of his generous spirit and caring personality, Liberatore told the DP.
“I wanted to share my sincere thanks to you for all that you did to keep me at Penn in 1991 and 1992, after my dad went bankrupt. I pointed to that moment in my life as a turning point when you were and are responsible for a large measure of the success I've achieved," 1995 College graduate Richard Thompson wrote to Schilling. "Without you, I may never have finished any college, let alone Penn."
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