Family Honors Literacy Legacy of Barbara G. Silverman with Endowed Professorship

September 22, 2014

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The power of literacy to change lives is recognized with the newest endowed professorship at the Island University – The Barbara Gail Silverman Endowed Professorship in Literacy.

University leaders met with the Silverman family on Monday, Sept. 22, to thank them for their generous contribution that established the endowed professorship.

“This generous gift from the estate of Mrs. Silverman and her family will create a distinguished faculty position to carry on for generations to come the work that was so important to Mrs. Silverman,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, University President and CEO. “Being able to enhance our endeavors in this area is important to us because we firmly believe, as Mrs. Silverman did, that literacy and education are the foundation for strong families and a strong community.”  

The Silverman Endowed Professorship will allow A&M-Corpus Christi to attract and retain the highest-quality faculty in the discipline of literacy.

“No one understood the power of literacy better than Mrs. Barbara Gail Silverman,” Killebrew said.

Mrs. Silverman had a passion for literacy throughout her entire life. As a mother of two and a wife, she shared that love with her family. Later, she received two master’s degrees to further her joy for reading; including one degree in 1989 from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, then Corpus Christi State University.

She dedicated herself as a librarian both at public libraries and elementary schools in the Corpus Christi area, known to students simply as “Aunt Barbara.”

Chuck Silverman, her son, expressed his mother’s commitment to children’s reading programs and literacy.

“She firmly believed that children’s literacy was a pathway to success and self-awareness and she was a passionate advocate for children’s reading programs,” he said. “She was a pioneer in developing early childhood reading programs because she believed that through reading a child would begin to explore the world around them, and learn to nurture a thoughtful and inquisitive mind that would allow them to thrive in our community.”

Mrs. Silverman was part of many organizations where she championed literacy and received various awards and recognitions for her work.