Perlman received two A.B. degrees, one from Shimer College in 1954 and one from the University of Chicago in 1955. He received his A.M. in 1956, and Ph.D. in 1971, both from the University of Chicago.
Perlman served as president of Suffolk University in Boston from 1980 to 1989 and then became president of Webster University in 1990, serving until 1993. Perlman died on March 31, 1994 in St. Louis from cancer at age 59.
- Webster University. "History of the Presidency". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- The University of Chicago magazine: Volumes 86-87