Distinguished Alumni Awards

Melvin (Mickey) Kupperman

Melvin (Mickey) Kupperman

For his remarkable leadership, strategic organizational skills, and management of mega-projects, including design and development

Chief Operating Officer, Silverstein Properties, Inc.

  • BS, 1957, Structural Engineering, University of Illinois
  • MS, 1958, Structural Engineering, University of Illinois
  • MBA, 1962, Business Administration, University of Chicago

After graduating from Illinois, Mickey Kupperman joined A. Epstein and Sons, a major international architectural, engineering and construction firm in with an office located in Chicago. He started as a summer intern with the company and remained working there for 47 years.  

Throughout his career, his primary focus was on vast and complex projects. The majority of his clients were within the public sector or public/private sector partnerships. He held several roles within the organization and served as president and CEO for 25 years. Kupperman had a particular focus on organizational strategy and development as well as the management and organization of mega-projects such as the expansions of McCormick Place in Chicago and the United Airlines Terminal at O'Hare International Airport and the redevelopment of Midway Airport. 

Upon retiring from A. Epstein and Sons in 2005, he joined Silverstein Properties, Inc. where he serves as Vice Chairman. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations and development of a corporate strategy for the future.

He managed the design process of the commercial development of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. This involved selecting three world-renowned architects – Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Fumihiko Maki – and managing efforts to keep the project within budget and on-schedule. The scope of this project covered approximately nine million square feet and had a budget of $7+ billion.

Kupperman is affiliated with several community organizations. He previously served as the President of the Drexel Home, which is a charity providing care for the elderly. As a member for the Engineering at Illinois Board of Visitors, he helped guide the vision for the future of the College. His past appointments also include the directorship of the Chicago Youth Centers, membership of the Glencoe Zoning Board, the Glencoe Village Caucus, and the United Way Facilities Management Committee. He was also a committee member of the National Research Council and Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. He and his wife reside in New York City and Deerfield.