Dr. Max Silverstein, professor emeritus in the School of Social Policy & Practice, passed away from cerebrovascular disease on May 3, 2012, at age 100.
Born in Philadelphia, Dr. Silverstein earned a bachelor's degree in 1932 and a master's degree in social work in 1936, both at Temple University. He earned his PhD in 1966 from what was Penn's School of Social Work and was one of the oldest surviving SP2 graduates. He celebrated his 100th birthday on January 8, 2012.
He joined Penn's faculty in 1966, was appointed professor in 1969 and became emeritus in 1977.
Dr. Silverstein started out as a group worker in Philadelphia during the depression. In 1938, he moved to California where he first worked at a TB sanitarium in Los Angeles, now known as the City of Hope, and later at the LA Health and Welfare Council. In 1944, he became a Welfare Liaison Officer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. He also consulted on several movies including Oscar-winning Best Years of Our Lives, providing insight into the issues faced by veterans returning from the war.
Dr. Silverstein began his teaching career at UCLA where he was asked to set up the University's first graduate school of social work.
He returned to Philadelphia in 1950 and served as executive director of PA Mental Health Inc., where he fought to keep open well- functioning mental health facilities and close those that were essentially warehouses.
As a professor at Penn's School of Social Work, he chaired the school's Community Organizing program.
After retiring from Penn, he was chairman of the Mayor's Public-Private Task Force on Homelessness for Mayor W. Wilson Goode in the late 1980s.
Dr. Silverstein is the author of several books and articles including Psychiatric Aftercare, Vital Connections: Integrated Care for the Seriously Mentally Ill and Mental Health Education: A Critique. Dr. Silverstein is survived by his daughter, Mady Edelstein; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His is predeceased by his wife, Belle and daughter, Trudy Frieman.
A memorial will be held Saturday, July 7, 5 p.m. in the solarium at Hopkinson
House, 604 S. Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106.