Jack Stockert, AB’05, MBA’10, MD’10, and Michael H. Silverman, MD’73, met in 2006 when Dr. Stockert first joined the Alumni Council as a Pritzker student representative. After Dr. Stockert graduated, the pair remained in contact through networking events until Dr. Stockert was elected to the Alumni Council as an alumni member in 2012. “We have kept in close touch, know each other’s families, and call on each other for help whenever it’s needed,” explains Dr. Silverman.
With almost 20-years combined experience serving on the Alumni Council, Drs. Silverman and Stockert reflect on what they have gained from their friendship, time as Council members, careers post-UChicago, and more.
What have you learned from the other through your friendship?
Michael Silverman, MD’73 (MS): Several things. Today’s Pritzker students are an amazing group with respect to talent, accomplishments, and potential. Alumni benefit from “investing” in their successors because they will go on to do great things that only enhance our reputation and the value of our degree. Mentorship is a terrifically rewarding experience.
Jack Stockert, AB’05, MBA’10, MD’10 (JS): Michael has an endearing view of his medical training coupled with a non-traditional path for Pritzker medical graduates. This combination, where he values and carries no cynicism towards medicine or his training, was always a helpful baseline for me to learn from. With each interaction I learned that it was the next step you were taking that was important to focus on, and that the next step is only available to you because of the hard work, support, and good fortune of all previous steps. This helpful view allowed me to hold dear the contribution that the University of Chicago had in my development.
How has the Alumni Council and the relationships you have formed helped you professionally and/or personally?
MS: At Reunion 2017, Jack and I were having a quick coffee chat which led, completely unexpectedly and fortuitously, to my being present (with family and friends) to view the totality of the August total solar eclipse at the Oregon Coast. It was an unforgettable experience that we owe to the generosity of Jack, his wife, Emily, and their family.
JS: The diaspora of University of Chicago grads is a diverse and grand one. Beyond the highlights of Nobel prizes, I’ve found the alumni network to be full of incredible people with outstanding characters and ideas that are actively changing the world. These relationships have been significant as they have inspired, enabled, and allowed for new collaborations I would not have had without the experience on the Council.
What has been the most rewarding moment of your time on the Alumni Council?
MS: The moment I felt integrated as a member of a cohesive, dedicated, and extremely accomplished group of people. Serving on the Alumni Council has been a privilege and an opportunity to collaborate with an extraordinary group of professionals, while adding value to efforts to engage students and fellow alums. Besides Jack, I’ve developed a number of long-term friendships and connected in a substantive way with what we call “the life of the school”—the students and trainees.
JS: To date the most rewarding things have been the new initiatives that provide empowerment and direction to the current students and recent graduates.
Favorite piece of career advice?
MS: Be open, flexible, and opportunistic (in the positive sense). It’s okay to take risks as long as you understand and can accept the worst downside.
JS: Always make sure you are actively choosing what you are doing. Even if you are in the 20th year at the same institution, the power of choice and control over your career is life changing. So be an active participant in your journey and ensure what you are doing is something you want to be doing.
Favorite spot on UChicago’s campus?
MS: Does Jimmy’s count? If not, then the Midway. I used to sled there as a kid and it’s still like coming home to see it.
JS: Outdoor—Harper Quadrangle; Indoor—second floor, Kent Laboratories.
Favorite spot near home?
MS: Cape Ann, Massachusetts—especially from the perspective of my road bicycle.
JS: Windy Open Space Preserve in Los Altos, California.
Did you make any resolutions for 2019?
MS: Gave that up a long time ago.
JS: My wife Emily, AB’05, MBA’10, MD’15, and I subscribe to making “bold claims” for the coming year in lieu of resolutions (of which we strive to do on a more frequent basis for self-improvement). We define a bold claim as something with less than 50 percent probability of happening. We make five to ten of these claims and then revisit in December. What we find fascinating is how many big and significant changes can happen in life (new jobs, new babies, moving, etc.) that are bold. It serves as a reminder that it is okay to have grand thoughts and plans.
Learn more about getting involved with the Alumni Council.