Henry R. Silverman L’64 is an investment banker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. In 1998, he gave $15 million dollars to the Law School, then the largest outright gift to an American law school. This generous gift was used to support the renovation of Silverman Hall and to endow the Silverman-Rodin Scholarship and the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law chair, currently held by Anita L. Allen.
“As a graduate,” Silverman said at the time, “having realized the benefits and rewards of a truly world-class education at Penn Law School, I am particularly gratified to make this gift and trust it will help both students and faculty build on the institution’s rich history of academic excellence.”
Though photographed here in a law library with a legal tome in hand, Silverman only practiced law for a short time.
“I was very sales- and marketing-driven, wanting to sell something to someone, so I was frustrated,” he recalled of his experience as a young associate. “I did a few deals and thought I was doing all the work. Then I noticed that the people doing the least and being paid the most were the investment bankers,” he said.
Silverman soon became an investment banker himself, later turning to management.
From 1990 to 2006, Silverman served as CEO of Cendant Corporation, a top travel and residential real estate services company. He has also led a variety of prominent private equity funds and real estate investment groups in New York City.
When he made his record-breaking gift to the Law School, then-Dean Colin S. Diver said that Silverman was “the perfect embodiment of the lawyer-leader whom we seek to educate.”
Silverman’s portrait hangs in a vestibule near the 34th Street entrance of the Law School.