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.
From 1972 to 1980, Perlman worked at Roosevelt University in Chicago. In 1980, he became president of Suffolk University in Boston and served in that position until 1989. After leaving Suffolk University, Perlman was president-in-residence at Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management for a year.
Perlman became president of Webster University in 1990, serving until ill health forced him to take a leave of absence in 1993. Perlman died on March 31, 1994 in St. Louis from cancer at age 59.
- Webster University. "History of the Presidency". Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2012-09-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Dr. Daniel H. Perlman, president of Webster U.". St. Louis Jewish Light. April 6, 1994. p. 19.
- Little, Joan (April 1, 1994). "Daniel Perlman, ex-president of Webster University, dies". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. pp. 1C, 4C.
- The University of Chicago magazine: Volumes 86-87