By Linda Shapiro
Morton and Artice Silverman support students with ranging interests
For Morton and Artice Silverman, graduation was just the beginning of a lifelong connection to the University of Minnesota and its educational mission. Over the past five decades, the Silvermans have given back in a variety of ways by establishing fellowships, involving themselves in honors programs, and talking directly with students about the importance of a liberal arts education.
Morton received a B.A. in accounting from the business school in 1958 and a B.S. in finance and history from University College in 1960. His enrollment in University College enabled him to study a variety of subjects and convinced him of the value of a broad-based education for students in economics and finance. His wife, Artice, graduated from the University in 1959 with a degree in psychology.
The Silvermans are strong supporters of students who have broad interests, like themselves. They have endowed an M.B.A. fellowship at the Carlson School of Management for an undergraduate with a liberal arts background who wants to learn more about the investment process. "The most successful investment managers I know are Renaissance people with lots of disciplines to draw from," Morton Silverman says. They have also endowed an annual Ph.D. fellowship for students in the economics department. With much pride Morton mentions that so far this decade, three of the Nobel Prize winners in economics have had U of M economics department connections.
A former managing director of investments for Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, Morton Silverman is currently working with Oak Ridge Financial Services Group as a senior vice president of investments. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of the Minnesota Council on Economic Education, administered from the University's department of applied economics. Familiarity with a range of subject areas has allowed him "to look outside the box instead of just dealing with straight lines and square corners," he says. "Historically, economic events do not operate in a vacuum. Neither does the investment process."
"Over the years we have encouraged students to get a background in many fields," says Artice Silverman. "A liberal arts education is necessary to understand the world. When you get too narrow a focus, you lose a bigger perspective."
The Silvermans' zeal for getting to know the students they support has given them a broader perspective as well. "Lately we've been helping more foreign students. It's interesting to hear about their backgrounds and their future plans," says Artice. Morton cites the recipient of the 2008 Ph.D. fellowship, Sewon Hur from South Korea, who stated in his letter of application that he wants to help alleviate poverty .
"We appreciate the chance to be part of the growth and development of a student like Sewon," he says. "Who knows? Maybe he will become another U of M Nobel laureate."