ROCK HILL, S.C. - A new scholarship will give alumni the chance to honor a beloved history professor who regaled them with stories about the Old South, Civil War and Reconstruction, and his favorite topic, Abraham Lincoln.
The Dr. Jason Silverman Endowed Scholarship was announced March 11 at the Palmer Lecture, an event held for Silverman to showcase his latest Lincoln research that he conducted alongside students. Already $20,000 has been raised toward the $25,000 endowed scholarship.
History students will benefit from the scholarship named for a man who has spent years as an outstanding scholar, teacher, mentor and friend to many at Winthrop. Silverman joined the Winthrop faculty in 1984 after teaching four years at Yale.
Also at the Palmer Lecture, colleague Eddie Lee presented Silverman a proclamation from the city of York where Lee is mayor and a commendation from the S.C. Senate. A delighted and surprised Silverman reacted with a broad smile.
"Having devoted the past 30 years of my life to Winthrop students, I can think of no higher honor than to have a scholarship in my name established," said Silverman. "That an aspiring young historian will be named recipient of a Silverman scholarship is both humbling and indescribably rewarding. It is the crown jewel of my career."
In 2010, Silverman was named the inaugural recipient of the Ellison Capers Palmer Jr. Professorship. The designation gave the history professor time and resources to research Lincoln’s views on immigration.
Colleagues are delighted to see his achievements recognized. “Silverman exemplifies Winthrop University’s commitment to excellence in teaching and personal relationships with students and engaged scholarship,” said Karen Kedrowski, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He is an example of the best higher education can offer.”
Among his teaching awards, Silverman has received Winthrop's Outstanding Junior Professor Award and Distinguished Professor, was selected as the Phi Kappa Phi Excellence in Teaching Award three times, and, in 1990, became the first person in Winthrop's history to be named S.C. Professor of the Year.
Silverman’s research findings will be compiled in a book, “Lincoln and the Immigrant,” for the Concise Lincoln Library Series, a new series of short books on the life, times and legacy of Lincoln published by the Southern Illinois University Press. The primary audience consists of general readers, but these books are also of interest to scholars, specialists and students.
Silverman notes that Lincoln is the subject of some 16,000 books, making him the most studied and written about American figure. The Library of Congress reports a Lincoln book is released weekly. Yet little has been written about Lincoln’s views on immigration, still today a timely topic.
“Lincoln and the Immigrant,” Silverman’s 11th book, will provide an important perspective on a president who welcomed immigrants but who also made derogatory comments about certain ethnic groups who were parts of the immigrant population.
The lecture title captured some of this flavor: "Thieves, Greasers, and Mongrels": The Emancipator Encounters the Immigrant.”
“Throughout his legal and political career, Lincoln retained an affinity for immigrants, especially the Germans, Irish, Jews and Scandinavians,” Silverman said. “Indeed, immigrants and their plight were never far from Lincoln’s thoughts or plans.”
The book will be published in late 2015.
To make a gift to the Dr. Jason Silverman Endowed Scholarship, please contact the Office of Development at 803/323-2150 or make an online gift at www.winthropalumni.com/give.