Posted July 31, 2017
by Rebekah Friedman, alumni relations and communications coordinator
Art Liberman, ’74, embarked on a fulfilling career in special education following his four years in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Even though he wasn’t destined to become a “Mad Man,” the advertising/public relations major never stopped using the skills he learned in the J-school to excel in his personal and professional endeavors. Now, he’s paving the way for others to do the same.
Last spring, Liberman committed to a planned gift that will eventually provide scholarships for students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
“Hopefully, I’ll stay healthy,” the 64-year-old jokes, acknowledging the scholarship won’t be awarded until his death.
But he knows at some future time, it will have a major impact on the students who receive it.
“After you pass, I think it’s pretty cool that you can still make a contribution and help others,” Liberman says. “Whatever I’m able to leave, I really want it to help other people.”
Helping people has been the cornerstone of his career. Liberman went on to earn a master’s degree in special education from the College of Charleston and spent more than 20 years helping students with special needs transition into the workforce. He continues to work part time with Charleston Adult Education in his retirement. His public relations background proved to be the perfect foundation for success.
“You have to be able to promote your program,” he says. “You go into a business, talk to the manager or the owner and explain to them quickly how you’d like to place a student within their business and how it would benefit them and the student. It’s like public relations in a way, and salesmanship too. I definitely made a good choice.”
Early in his career, his degree also helped him carve a niche for himself in Charleston’s running and triathlon community. From 1983 to 1985, Liberman served as public relations director of the Cooper River Bridge Run. He went on to found the Charleston Triathlon Club, serving as its first president. And, his involvement with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training inspired him to create a marathon training website, which later led to his own personal training business. He even became an author, penning Simon and Schuster’s “The Everything Running Book.”
In addition to helping students, he believes his planned gift is a way to give back to an institution that has given so much to him.
“I am so delighted to be able to help the School of Journalism,” Liberman says. “It’s almost like a way to say thanks for all the skills and knowledge that I got there.”
Some of that knowledge came from now-retired Professor Jerome Jewler, who Liberman remembers as one of his favorite teachers. He also has good memories from his time in the basement of the Carolina Coliseum — even if there were no windows.
“It was kind of interesting because upstairs was where our basketball team played, and there were a lot of good concerts up there, too,” he said. “To go to that building all the time for classes was pretty cool.”
Campus — and the School of Journalism — has changed drastically since the 70s, but Liberman still enjoys coming back to the university he loves as often as he can.
“I’m very grateful and appreciative of the University of South Carolina and the School of Journalism, and I owe a lot of what I’ve accomplished in life to that good background.”