March 15, 1999

UM-St. Louis grad becomes new curator board member

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant


Usually, people get toothbrushes and dental floss when they visit the dentist. On Feb. 18, when Connie Silverstein went to the dentist, she got a phone call from the governor and a new job.

On the other end of the phone call was Governor Mel Carnahan, and he invited her to become a member of the UM Board of Curators. Silverstein received the good news while wearing a lead vest and having her teeth X-rayed.

"That morning, some people from the governor's office had called and asked if I could be at the phone all day," Silverstein explained. "I told them I had an appointment with the dentist at ten, but they said that was fine and to make sure I had a cell phone with me all day."

Silverstein accepted Carnahan's invitation. On Mar. 3, she participated in a confirmation hearing, and six days later she traveled to Jefferson City to meet Carnahan for the swearing-in ceremony.

Silverstein, a UM-St. Louis graduate herself, said she had interacted with thousands of students through her job at Edward Jones as a principal of banking services, as well as through a new program on campus. She said this contact has kept her in touch with the attitudes of University students.

"About a year ago, the Business School set up a community advisory board," Silverstein said. "I got involved, and I started doing a lot more things with the campus and just before Christmas, people asked me if I [might be willing to do this] if I had enough time."

Her new position as a curator will be a challenge, Silverstein said, and she is looking forward to learning more about her new role.

"In St. Louis, we don't have as much coverage on what goes on [in the Board of Curators], so I will have to immerse myself in this," she said. "My goal is just to learn about everything that's on the slate for a curator."

As a curator, Silverstein said it is important to recognize the uniqueness of each UM campus, while working for the goals of the system as a whole.

"The most important thing for a curator to appreciate is that the strength and personality of the system is in these four different campuses," Silverstein said.

"There's a family resemblance, but none behaves quite like the others. I come into the role with more knowledge of what's going on at UMSL, but I have more catching up to do with the other campuses."

The Board of Curators has nine voting members, and for the first time ever, three of those nine will be women. Silverstein said she thought that was a great thing.

"I hope we have a good broad representation from across the state," she said. "The board ought to be as diverse as the state of Missouri is."

Keeping Missouri students in Missouri universities and bringing in more students from around the country is an important goal, Silverstein said.

"We have to have the best possible product," she explained. "We always want UM to be on the top of student's minds, so it's a place people aspire to attend."

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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