New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

NYU Alumni Constance & Martin Silver Donate $50 Million to University’s School of Social Work

October 15, 2007
N-107, 2007-08

School to be Named the Silver School of Social Work at NYU

In the largest private donation to a school of social work in the United States, Constance and Martin Silver have pledged $50 million to the New York University School of Social Work. The gift will be used to support the Constance McCatherin-Silver Fellowship, which provides financial aid to M.S.W. students in need who are dedicated to helping minority populations; to establish an endowed professorship for a junior faculty member researching poverty; and to promote other new initiatives dedicated to the study of poverty and to better allocate funding, administration, and services.

The funds also will help lay the groundwork for a planned McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Practice. (“McSilver” is a combination of Silver’s name and her maiden name, McCatherin.) In recognition of this historic gift, the NYU Board of Trustees has renamed the School as the Silver School of Social Work.

Both Silvers are alumni of NYU. Constance Silver earned a B.S. in social work in 1978 and an M.S.W. in 1979; she also received a Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University in 1983. Martin Silver is a 1958 graduate of NYU’s School of Commerce (now the Stern School of Business).

“This gift marks a new chapter in the life of our school, and in a larger sense, it is an unprecedented moment for social work education,” said Suzanne England, dean of the School of Social Work at NYU. “The research, learning, and policy work sustained by the Silvers’ generosity will help deepen our knowledge about systemic poverty, and identify effective policies to lessen or eliminate its causes.”

Constance Silver, who taught at the School for several years, said, “It is one of the great pleasures of my life to help the School of Social Work, and Martin is proud to be able to offer his support to the School as well.”

The poverty-focused Institute and professorship in poverty research are both deeply resonant with Constance Silver’s life story. She grew up poor in rural Maine and occasionally visited New York City through the generosity of a wealthy family who lived in the city but spent summer vacations near her home. After graduating high school, she moved to New York, met her future husband her first week in Manhattan, and went to work in sales for a New York-based airline. It was not until she was in her mid-thirties that, at the urging of a neighbor, a social worker 30 years her senior, she decided to study social work.

Martin Silver grew up in the Bronx, served in the Army during the Korean War, and then attended NYU on the G.I. Bill. After working as a stock broker early in their marriage, he entered the hair goods business in the U.S. and in Asia. Six years later he became involved in the plasma collection business, and the company grew to become one of the leading firms of its kind in the world.

Constance Silver’s many professional interests include “pro bono” work with Florida’s Indian Creek Village Public Service Department in mental health and social work, including training police officers in hostage negotiation, the dynamics of stalkers, and police suicide. In 1993 the National Association of Social Workers presented her with the Diego Lopez Award for Private Practitioners for her work with AIDS patients.

Constance Silver was appointed to the NYU Board of Trustees in 2003.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Silver School of Social Work

Type: Press Release

Constance and Martin Silver

Constance and Martin Silver


Search News



NYU In the News

Paying It Backward: NYU Alum Funds Scholarships

The Wall Street Journal profiled Trustee Evan Chesler on why he decided to chair the Momentum fund-raising campaign.

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson

The New Yorker talked to Professor Kyle Cranmer and graduate student Sven Kreiss about NYU’s role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which resulted in a Nobel prize for the scientists who predicted its existence.

The World as They Knew It

The New York Times reviewed the exhibit at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on how ancient Greeks and Romans mapped the known and unknown areas of their world.

Elite Institutions: Far More Diverse Than They Were 20 Years Ago

NYU made stronger gains over the last 20 years in increasing diversity than any other major research university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Program Seeks to Nurture ‘Data Science Culture’
at Universities

The New York Times reported on the multi-million collaboration among NYU and two other universities to harness the potential of Big Data, including an interview with Professor Yann LeCun, director of NYU’s Center for Data Science.

NYU Footer