ROCK HILL, S.C. - Dr. Jason Silverman, an award-winning history professor at Winthrop, was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Ellison Capers Palmer Jr. Professorship.
A specialist in the history of the Old South and Civil War, Silverman plans to use his four-year tenure as a Palmer Professor to complete two books. He plans to use the award to provide financial support for students to collaborate with him on these projects, thus giving his students important learning opportunities as they do primary research in the National Archives in Washington D.C. and in other locations.
Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio said he appointed Silverman because he consistently earns the praise of students and colleagues for his teaching skills and scholarly works. He was the first Winthrop faculty member to win the S.C. Governor’s Professor of the Year award in 1990, in addition to earning Winthrop’s faculty awards for Outstanding Junior Professor in 1985 and Distinguished Professor in 1991.
“Dr. Silverman has been acknowledged by a host of undergraduate and graduate students as a mentor and most influential faculty member,” the president said.
An accomplished author, Silverman has published 10 books, more than 50 articles on scholarly subjects and 31 opinion/editorial articles in local and state newspapers. He also is a recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi Excellence in Teaching Award and the Student Government Association’s Outstanding Professor Award.
“Being chosen as the inaugural Palmer Professor is a tremendous honor and one that will greatly assist me in my work. I am gratified and humbled by this selection,” said Silverman.
Gregory Crider, chair of Winthrop’s Department of History, said that Dr. Silverman’s influential and prolific scholarship and his plan to provide significant research opportunities for students made him the ideal inaugural recipient of the professorship.
The Ellison Capers Palmer Jr. Professorship was established by an estate gift from Ellison Capers Palmer, Jr., in memory of his mother, Keith Wells '20, and her sisters, Dovie '16, Lucile and Virginia Wells. The Palmer Professorship honors a faculty member for his or her superior skill in teaching, scholarship, high standing among professional colleagues, and general service to the university community. This award recognizes excellence both on campus and within the academic community and provides support for the faculty member’s teaching and research.
Silverman said one of his new books would profile South Carolinian Preston Smith Brooks, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, whose actions increased the political tensions before the Civil War. The second book, on Abraham Lincoln and his views on immigration and ethnicity, would be the first of its kind on Lincoln. It would provide an important perspective on a president who welcomed immigrants but who also made derogatory comments about ethnic groups who were parts of the immigrant population, Silverman said.
Silverman joined the Winthrop faculty in 1984 after teaching four years at Yale University. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and his graduate degrees at Colorado State University and the University of Kentucky. He recently completed two terms on the Rock Hill School Board of Trustees.