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A boost for the Baltimore Scholars

Gift from parents enables students to take advantage of summer learning opportunities and increase social connections
Posted January 20, 2015
Steve and Elizabeth Silverman P’14 Steve and Elizabeth Silverman P’14

When their daughter Elinor graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 2014, Steve and Elizabeth Silverman P’14 knew they wanted to make a gift to her alma mater. After four years as active members of the Hopkins Parents Council, they hoped to stay engaged and support an area that would make a difference in the lives of the student community they had come to care about. They found the perfect fit when they decided to establish the Silverman Family Endowment to benefit the Baltimore Scholars, a program that provides scholarships for Baltimore City high school students.

With their investment, the Silvermans gave rise to a new programming initiative, the Baltimore Scholars Summer Grant, which provides stipends to Baltimore Scholars who want to pursue unpaid internships or research experiences. The stipends, offered on a competitive basis to scholars who demonstrate financial need, are expected to be a key recruiting tool. For elite local students who are being wooed by a number of top universities, the stipends are yet another incentive to consider Johns Hopkins.

In addition, the Silvermans’ gift will help to fund professional and career development activities and social events for the scholars to enjoy together, such as networking days with Baltimore business and civic leaders or dinners with university deans. Events like these help to define the Baltimore Scholars as a special cohort, a group who share not just a hometown and a scholarship, but a bond during their years at Johns Hopkins.

“We are thrilled that the Silvermans are providing these kinds of enriching experiences for the Baltimore Scholars,” said Kelly Barry, who heads the Baltimore Scholars program and is the university’s interim dean of Academic Services and director of the National Fellowships Program. “The reason this gift and this program are so important is that they recognize that students require a number of tools and a variety of support to succeed in college. Financial aid for tuition is certainly a vital part of the picture, but it’s not all there is. To make the most of their time at Hopkins and to prepare for what comes next, students need to be engaged outside of the classroom as well. They need opportunities to make connections, explore their talents and interests, and reach toward new heights.”

For the Silvermans, encouraging meaningful connections between the scholars was a promising opportunity, one that will affect students today, but could also help the future of the program.

“If the students have a really great experience as Baltimore Scholars, they’ll be more likely to go back to their [high] schools and talk up the program with enthusiasm,” Elizabeth Silverman said. “They could inspire other local students to think about Hopkins and what they could achieve there.”

Whether it’s through summer stipends or social gatherings, the Silvermans are proud to be providing new opportunities to the Baltimore Scholars and helping the program to succeed. In addition, they are excited by how the impact will be felt beyond the university. By investing in promising young people from Baltimore, Johns Hopkins and the Silvermans are also investing in the greater community, giving students a chance to not only get an education, but also to become involved, engaged citizens who are truly connected to their hometown.

“We just loved that idea,” Steve Silverman said, “the idea that Johns Hopkins is trying to get local kids to come to school here, and stay here, and do something for the city of Baltimore.”