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Articles of Interest About James E. Silcott

Philanthropist Receives Award for Contributing to Historically Black Colleges and Universities from Kresge and Coco Cola Foundations
Atlanta, GaThe Kresge and Coca Cola Foundations have honored noted architect James E. Silcott with an award for his philanthropy to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s).  The award is presented to philanthropists in hopes of stimulating more donations to the HBCU’s which serve black students nationally and graduate more black professionals than any majority institutions.

In his acceptance remarks, Silcott, who donated over $3 million to his alma mater, Howard University, remembered going to school with the likes of Pat Harris, Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, bumping into Dr. Charles Drew, the creator of the blood bank which saved countless lives during WWII, E. Franklin Frazier, sociologist, just fresh from writing The Black Bourgeoisie, James Nabritt, lawyer who worked with Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall to end segregation, the great academician John Hope Franklin and so many others. “The halls of Howard University were just rich with all of this academia and one couldn’t help but learn by osmosis just being around them,” he said. He hopes his donations will cause even more young people to have a similar experience.

Silcott graduated from Howard U. in 1957 and went on to become the first African American architect to work for the County of Los Angeles and the University of California.  The many projects he has managed stand as monuments to his life’s work.  A resident of Los Angeles, he has been appointed by Mayor James Hahn to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. His philanthropy, which includes sizable donations to his beloved Howard University, brought him to the attention of the Kresge Foundation. A Vice President at Howard University recently told Silcott that his donations have stimulated other alumni to make contributions to Howard U.  Silcott remembered his lean years where he had to choose between books or food and established the James E. Silcott Fund in 1991, which has grown to almost $250,000.  The fund is designed to prevent other students from having to make that choice. You can find out more about this remarkable philanthropist and his campaign to be Howard University trustee at www.jamessilcott.wordpress.com.

The Kresge Foundation HBCU Initiative is designed to strengthen advancement efforts at historically black colleges and universities. For more information about the program visit http://www.kresgehbcu.org/.

The Kresge and Coca Cola Foundations have honored noted architect James E. Silcott with an award for his philanthropy to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s).  One of four recognized, he has donated a total of $3 million to Howard University.

James Silcott Donates Second Million to Howard University in Honor of Brother
The following month he quietly adds $1 Million More in Honor of His Parents–for a total of $3 Million

Los Angeles architect, James E. Silcott, has donated a second $1 million to his alma mater, Howard University, to establish an endowed chair and the naming of the gallery in the school of architecture for his late brother T. George Silcott. The previous donation is an irrevocable trust worth $1 million.

“The two of us were very close,” said the elder brother James. “This donation is my way of commemorating not just my brother but a great man.”
Silcott and his brother, T. George Silcott were raised in Boston, Massachusetts, once their parents migrated there from the island of Montserrat, BWI. Both went on to college and enjoyed successful careers. T. George, began his career as a sociologist, and later served as a trustee at Springfield College, in Massachusetts. He later became a professor at New York University and the University of Connecticut. Over 20 years ago, T. George retired from teaching and became a successful businessman in New York. He was appointed by then President Jimmy Carter to the Juvenile Justice Commission. Shortly before his death, he received the American Civil Liberties Union’s Myron S. Isaacs community service award for being a “longtime activist and tireless champion of social causes, especially the needs of youth.” T. George was married with seven children. He is survived by his wife Kathleen.

Four decades ago, T. George and Dr. Hans Spiegel, with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, created Urban Home Ownership. This non-profit organization renovated and managed abandoned dilapidated tenements in Bedford Stuyvesant and Harlem, New York. T. George remained a board member of Urban Home Ownership until his death. The organization continues under the leadership of Architect Preston Moore (Howard University “55”) and has expanded into New Jersey and other states.
The elder brother James graduated from Howard in 1957. He was the first African American project architect for Los Angeles County and the University of California. He served as project architect for the first medical school at UC Irvine, completing the basic and clinical sciences buildings in 1968. Among many of his prized projects was the Jules Stein Eye Clinic at UCLA and the UCLA Boathouse at Marina del Rey.

Presently, James is a board member for the Kennard Design Group, the largest black-owned architectural firm west of the Mississippi. An active commissioner, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has re-appointed him to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission.

Because of the latest donation, Howard University will name the current Exhibit Gallery in the Howard Mackey Building to the T. George Silcott Gallery. The naming of the gallery will be transferred to the new gallery proposed in the new architectural and engineering complex. The activities of the gallery are to be supported by a $100,000 endowment. One half of the endowment is to emanate from each of the $1 million payments, and the university will make every effort to fill the James E. Silcott endowed chair with faculty from an architectural and construction management background, the area to which Silcott’s life work was dedicated.
This donation brings the philanthropic giving by James E. Silcott to Howard U. to over $2,220,000.  

Alumni Achievement Award Recipient
Mr. James E. Silcott, E.A., B.A.R.C.H., 1957
In the Field of Architecture and Public Service

James E. Silcott is a philanthropic crusader and was one of the first African-American project architects for Los Angeles County and the University of California. He served as project architect for the first medical school at the University of California – Irvine, completing the Basic and Clinical Sciences buildings in 1968. He was also the project architect at the Jules Stein Eye Clinic at the nationally acclaimed UCLA Medical Center.

Retired in 1984 to manage his broad real estate holdings, Mr. Silcott devotes much of his time and efforts to an array of public services. Presently, he is a board member for the Kennard Design Group, the largest black architectural firm west of the Mississippi. An outstanding Los Angeles area planning commissioner, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan appointed Mr. Silcott to the Zoning Appeals Board and to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. He is also an active member of the National Council of Architectural Boards and the Los Angeles Park Mile Board.

Mr. Silcott was highlighted in the April 2001 Black Enterprise magazine for funding a $1 million scholarship fund at Alma Mater. Through this investment portfolio, Mr. Silcott seeks to give budding architects a head start in their careers. A 1957 graduate of the School of Architecture, Mr. Silcott also created the James. E. Silcott Fund to provide financial assistance to Howard architectural students. Through personal and outside donations, the fund has grown to over $200,000.
According to Mr. Silcott, “I think that the least one can do is remember one’s alma mater. Alma mater is Latin for ‘nourishing mother,’ and if your mother nourished you and you have become successful, you should ‘give back’ so she may nourish others.” This philosophy has inspired Mr. Silcott’s charitable zeal and wisdom to ‘give back’ to his alma mater and to help further the education of students in historically black colleges and universities.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. Silcott resides in Los Angeles.

Howard University Alumni Elect James Silcott Trustee (2003)

Washington, D.C.–The Howard University Alumni recently elected James E. Silcott, class of 1957, to the position of Trustee.
On behalf of the University, Artis G. Hampshire-Cowan, Esq., secretary of the Board of Trustees, wrote: “According to the Howard University Alumni Trustee balloting process, you have received the majority of votes and as such will be presented to the Board as the alumni trustee nominee… We appreciate all that you do and we look forward to your tenure as a member of the Board of Trustees,” the letter concluded.
The accounting and management consulting firm of Williams, Adley & Company, LLP, received the ballots and conducted the balloting process.  They reported the elections results:

James E. Silcott:    2169
Michael A Smart:   1616
Larkin Arnold, Esq. 1171

Silcott graduated from Howard U. in 1957 and went on to become the first African American architect to work for the County of Los Angeles and the University of California.  The many projects he has managed stand as monuments to his life’s work.  A resident of Los Angeles, he has been appointed by Mayor James Hahn to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. His philanthropy, which includes sizable donations to his beloved Howard University, brought him to the attention of the Kresge Foundation. A Vice President at Howard University recently told Silcott that his donations have stimulated other alumni to make contributions to Howard U.  Silcott remembered his lean years where he had to choose between books or food and established the James E. Silcott Fund in 1991, which has grown to almost $250,000.  The fund is designed to prevent other students from having to make that choice.

Architect and Alum James Silcott Gives Second $1 Million Gift
In November, alumnus James E. Silcott presented a second $1 million gift to Howard University to establish an endowed chair. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based architect gave a $1 million gift in the form of an irrevocable trust (planned gift). And, for a number of years he has added to the James E. Silcott Fund, a $200,000 financial assistance support package for architectural students. Silcott’s total donations to the University are now at $2.2 million.
As a result of his latest gift, the current Exhibit Gallery in the Mackey Building will be named in honor of his brother and will be called the T. George Silcott Exhibit Gallery.

“In James Silcott, we have a man who cherishes the memory of family and community by crystallizing their life’s work through the support of the future work of others,” said Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert. “We commend him for his foresight and philanthropy, and we thank him for his generous support of alma mater.”
Born on the island of Montserrat, West Indies, Silcott and his younger brother, T. George, were raised in Boston. Both enjoyed successful careers: James as the first African-American project architect for Los Angeles County and the University of California and T. George as a sociologist and entrepreneur, who, with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, created Urban Home Ownership, a non-profit organization that renovated and managed abandoned dilapidated tenements in New York City.
Presently, Silcott sits on the board for the Kennard Design Group, the largest black-owned architectural firm west of the Mississippi. And, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has re-appointed him to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission.
James E. Silcott  Needs to be Re-Elected to the Howard University Board f Trustees!
How You Can Help:

  • Help get the word out about our campaign for Trustee.
  • Please call the alumni that you know by phone 
It’s probably been a while and we know how important a personal phone call can be to enlist support.  Please don’t forget to call all of your HU contacts and urge them vote for James Silcott and mail those ballots in as soon as they receive them.

Other things you can do:

  • Email us your ideas to improve HU
  • Share your email lists with us.
  • Tell everyone you know!

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