Richard Silverman '81: Dartmouth Alumni Award Recipient, 2009—10
You’ve noted that you are drawn to a world beyond our borders and it was this sense of wanderlust that attracted you to Hanover. Fascinated with the many options the Dartmouth Plan had to offer and the wide variety of opportunities to study abroad, Dartmouth was the place for you.
When attending a foreign language performance, you had the opportunity to meet John Rassias and thus commenced a lifelong friendship with this wonderful teacher. A passion for foreign languages (German in particular) grew and you enjoyed working as a drill instructor, participating in the German Club, and spending two terms studying in Berlin and Mainz. A liberal arts education was perfect for you as you modified a German major with Biology, enabling you to eventually pursue a medical degree. No less energetic outside the classroom, you sang in the Dartmouth Aires and Glee Club; led admissions tours; rowed freshman crew; joined Zeta Psi fraternity; wrote for the Jack-O-Lantern; volunteered for Winter Sports; and participated in the NCAA Youth Big Brother program.
Upon graduation, it was off to Pennsylvania State University where you received a medical degree followed by residencies in general surgery and plastic surgery. During this period you must have worked on cloning yourself because somehow you also found the time to spend a summer conducting research in West Germany; work two months in a South African hospital; and travel six months as a fellow in reconstructive microsurgery in Taiwan and Australia. The next few years were spent serving on the staffs of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and the Caritas Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center before forming a private practice, New England Plastic Surgical Associates, in 2005.
You have credited your parents with instilling in you the importance of volunteering at a young age. Lucky for us, Dartmouth has been the main recipient of your time and energy. You have served as an enrollment interviewer since graduation and supported the Class of 1981 as assistant head agent, 15th and 25th reunion chair, executive committee member, co-secretary, president, reunion giving committee member, and representative to the Alumni Council. While on the Alumni Council you were a member of the athletics, executive, alumni liaison, and nominating and alumni trustee search committees. Recognized for your strong leadership qualities you were elected president of the Alumni Council and served as the chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee.
With what little spare time you have, what do you decide to do? For almost twenty years you have organized annual trips to Ecuador with a team of physicians and nurses to donate your medical services by conducting reconstructive surgery on children with congenital deformities and burns. The extraordinary impact you have had on their lives is everlasting.
Recently commenting, “At Dartmouth I learned that life plans should be flexible,” your life story is a virtual blueprint of flexibility. Whether responding to alumni in your role as council president; organizing your 25th reunion; or making a child in South America smile; your easygoing personality combined with a healthy dose of good humor sets a congenial tone for every occasion.
In appreciation of your outstanding commitment to your profession, society and alma mater, it is our honor to present you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.