A $150 Million Cash Gift from Julius Silver, Former Chairman of the Executive Committee of Polaroid, Will Create Hundreds of Professorial Chairs Over the Years Gift Comes from Alumnus Who Never Forgot Some $200 in Scholarship Money He Received From NYU 80 Years Ago, Enabling Him to Attend College New York University will receive a landmark gift of $150 million in cash from the Jurodin Fund, Inc., the foundation created by Julius Silver, a 1922 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of NYU, a prominent New York City lawyer, and former chairman of the executive committee of Polaroid. During his time as a student, Mr. Silver received some $200 to $300 in scholarship funds from NYU, enabling him to attend college, and his gratitude led him to become an active, generous, and life-long supporter of the University.
Mr. Silver died January 13th, 2002 at the age of 101.
Dr. L. Jay Oliva, president of New York University, in announcing the gift, stated, “This is a perfect gift, because it goes to the heart of the enterprise and changes us forever. It will strengthen the role of the Faculty of Arts and Science and establish New York University as one of the great research and teaching centers in the country, with a clear mandate for attention to undergraduates. The Faculty of Arts and Science is central to the University’s mission of excellence. And my successor John Sexton has made clear that he embraces this notion as pivotal to his goals for NYU. This gift guarantees that NYU will become the model of universities in the new millennium. At the same time, it holds out the prospect of controlling tuition in the years to come, as it deals year after year with the basic costs of education and salaries for excellent faculty. To achieve both of these goals with one gift is an extraordinary accomplishment, and is the result of the far-sighted vision of Mr. Silver and the special design of this perfect gift.”
John Sexton, who will become president of NYU in May 2002, added, “The story of progress at NYU over the past two decades is one of the great stories in higher education. This meaningful gift provides the wherewithal for the next stage of that development. In particular, it will help us fulfill our pledge to build an even stronger faculty at NYU as we continue to build on NYU’s role as a center of intellectual life in the capital of the world.”
The $150 million gift will be deposited in a special endowment fund in the name of Julius Silver and his late wife and daughter, Roslyn S. Silver and Enid Silver Winslow. For a minimum of 25 years the income of the fund will be used for one primary purpose: to endow professorial chairs in the Faculty of Arts and Science, with special attention to be given to the sciences and to professors who include the teaching of undergraduates in the College of Arts and Science in their portfolios. The endowment will also provide scholarships for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Science.
It is estimated that five to six chairs will be created in this fashion every year. In the first 25 years, close to 150 faculty will be designated as holders of Silver chairs. By providing such chairs, this gift will permit the University to support its current scholars and to recruit the best and brightest faculty from throughout the world.
Mr. Silver demonstrated a life-long dedication to NYU. In his honor, the University named a group of I.M. Pei-designed buildings along Houston Street that house faculty called Silver Towers. In addition, the University’s former campus in the Bronx was the site of the Julius Silver Residence Center, which provided housing for 600 students.
In gratitude for this gift, the University will rename the Main Building, home to the College of Arts and Science, the Silver Center for the Arts and Science.
Martin Lipton, chairman of the NYU Board of Trustees, stated, “This is an outstanding gift extraordinarily generous in size, and very wise in design. The University is very grateful to Mr. Silver for his years of service as a trustee and his unflagging support of NYU’s programs and visions for its future. I would also like to salute Dr. Oliva and Naomi Levine for their efforts in working with Mr. Silver on the design of this gift; the University will be forever grateful to them.”
Since the largest item in any university’s budget is faculty compensation, the ability to provide ever-growing faculty support from the income of the special $150 million endowment will, over the decades, permit it to control tuition. This result, plus the provision for scholarships and fellowships, assures that NYU will always live up to its historic mission to provide quality education to all, regardless of economic means.
“Julius Silver’s embrace of the design of this gift,” Dr. Oliva continued, “shows his extraordinary understanding of the centrality of the Faculty of Arts and Science and its College to the University, the definitive role that distinguished faculty play in a university, and the need to control tuition and provide scholarships and fellowships to help young men and women achieve their dreams through the best education possible. He understood that this was a gift focused on the heart of the enterprise, and a gift that would transform us forever.
“It is an example of the vision and creativity that characterized Mr. Silver’s life, not only in his philanthropy but in the role he played as a respected lawyer, in advising Dr. Edward Land in launching Polaroid, and later as a director and chairman of Polaroid’s executive committee until his retirement in 1988. His business judgment, legal wisdom and financial acumen, plus his vision and creativity, helped transform Polaroid from an idea’ into a powerful enterprise that helped change photography. Mr. Silver’s gift to NYU will do the same for New York University, and we will be changed forever!”
Dr. Oliva concluded, “This is the perfect gift for any university, but especially for NYU at this moment in its history. I am forever grateful to Naomi Levine, my friend and colleague, who worked so tirelessly to make this dream come true. At the same time, Mr. Julius Silver, whom I have known all these exciting years, has established himself at the center of a great enterprise: the creation of the quintessential university for the new millennium. He has guaranteed our future.”