Cal State LA celebrates naming of Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery

May 9, 2019

By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

Cal State LA celebrated the naming of the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery, honoring the legacy of a distinguished alumnus and professor.

Silverman received a master’s degree in art at Cal State LA in 1955 and was a beloved emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Art in the College of Arts and Letters. He spent more than three decades teaching, mentoring and sharing his passion for art with students and established the Ronald Silverman Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide financial support to students pursuing arts education.

“This gallery showcases the work of professional artists, the work of students; it provides a space for visitors to explore art and reap the benefits that come with art experience,” said President William A. Covino, who was introduced by gallery director Mika Cho. “There is no better venue to honor Dr. Silverman than this gallery.” 

The ceremony honored a generous gift from Ronald H. Silverman’s son Jeffrey Silverman and daughter-in-law Amelia Perez-Silverman, both Cal State LA alumni and longtime supporters and friends of the university. The gallery is part of the College of Arts and Letters.

The Silvermans’ gift will fund professional development to help students advance the arts community. The gift will also fund a lecture series in the College of Natural and Social Sciences that will be focused on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Jeffrey Silverman and Amelia Perez-Silverman shared fond memories with the crowd gathered in the gallery courtyard of their time studying at Cal State LA, where they met as undergraduates. Silverman, who had a career in biopharmaceuticals, received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and Perez-Silverman, a longtime educator, received a bachelor’s degree in environmental and health sciences.

They recounted stories of their father and father-in-law engaging their two children in art projects, sparking and fostering their creativity at a young age. The couple emphasized the importance of art education for developing critical thinking skills and self-expression, and creating well-rounded students and community members.

“Even though we have science-based backgrounds, Amelia and I wanted to take this opportunity to support a critical but often overlooked part of a liberal arts education, and what better way than to support a gallery focused on exhibiting the work of both our students and community artists,” Silverman said.

Student musicians playing Event guests included California State University Trustee Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Vice President for Advancement Janet S. Dial, who addressed the gathering, as well as members of the President’s Council, Cal State LA Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Also in attendance was Ronald H. Silverman’s wife, Marilyn, who served as Meléndez de Santa Ana’s kindergarten teacher.

Guests enjoyed vibrant musical performances from students in the Cal State LA Afro Latin Ensemble, directed by Professor Paul De Castro, and the Cal State LA Jazz Orchestra, directed by Professor James Ford.

The Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery hosts a wide range of visual arts and cultural exhibitions, including a recent exhibit celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art’s 45 years of art and activism and a collection featuring seven decades of alumni art as part of Cal State LA’s 70th anniversary.  

“This gallery is a really significant place, and it’s a significant place in the College of Arts and Letters, helping us to achieve one of the college’s primary priorities: to forge community-cultural connections,” said Linda Essig, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “Thanks to the Silverman family, we will also be able to achieve another of our priorities: to build pathways for the professional success of our students.”

Photos: Top, Cal State LA alumni Amelia Perez-Silverman and Jeffrey Silverman in front of the sign for the newly named Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery. Middle right, Students in the Cal State LA Afro Latin Ensemble and the Cal State LA Jazz Orchestra perform at the event. (Credit: Ty Washington and J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit