AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts alumnus Robert Perlman wants to support students who have the desire to succeed, but perhaps lack the financial resources to do so.
A senior vice president with the global investment bank Lehman Brothers, Perlman has established a $17,500 scholarship program at UMass for liberal arts students who are determined to create careers for themselves regardless of their economic or cultural backgrounds.
"I think it''s important for students to know that you don''t have to come from an Ivy League institution or private club to make it in the business world," Perlman says. "I came to Wall Street straight from UMass and I didn''t have anyone set me up in business. Now, I''d like to make it a little easier for others at the University to do the same."
The Perlman Scholarships will be awarded annually to 10 students in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts who have overcome odds to attend college. The awards range from traditional scholarships, to stipends for internships, to financial support for students in study-abroad programs. While the scholarships are awarded largely on the basis of financial need, they are also aimed at helping students who demonstrate an intense desire to succeed regardless of their cultural or economic circumstances.
"In the business world it really helps to have that fire in your belly," Perlman says. "I respect people who can make it on their own and I think others in the industry respect them too. Just look at another UMass grad, General Electric Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch. He is one of the most respected and influential business figures in the world."
Perlman says he has chosen to focus his monetary support on the humanities and fine arts because he values his experience as a history major at the University. As he says, "I don''t think you have to be a business-school-trained type to make it in the business world. A lot of creative business people have degrees in the liberal arts, and I think there is probably room for more."
While Perlman doesn''t expect his scholarships to guarantee success in the business world, he does hope they will at least help support students while they build their resumes. "Who knows," he says, "maybe I''ll see one of them on Wall Street in the future."