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William L. Cash
LSA Minutes

William L. Cash, Jr.

William L. Cash, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Michigan, passed away on April 22, 1995. Professor Cash served the University of Michigan ably and with grace in his many professional and personal roles. Most importantly, he acted as a translator and quiet voice of reason, a person who recognized the plight of ethnic and racial minority faculty, staff and students, and through his positions provided sensible and appropriate remedies.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, on May 31, 1915, Professor Cash received his B.A. from Fisk University, a Bachelor of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology from Oberlin University, and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of Michigan. He served as a chaplain in the Army during World War II, receiving the WWII Victory Medal. After receiving his Ph.D., he served as a professor of psychology at Prairie View A & M College and at the University of South Dakota. Professor Cash held multiple director positions in the U.S. Office of Education in Washington and returned to the University of Michigan in 1968 as Assistant to the President, Professor of Education, and Lecturer in Psychology. After retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1984, he continued teaching until 1994.

Beginning with his appointment as Assistant to the President, Professor Cash played a major role in the recruitment of minority students and faculty at the University. As an administrator he bridged the gap between minorities who felt a lack of understanding by the administration and that administration of which he was a member. He was effective, worked tirelessly and never, ever raised his voice. Those of us old enough to remember the turbulent 60s and 70s will never forget the effective and positive manner in which he served different constituencies. He was trusted by all of us, possessing, I believe, a higher ethical and moral sense of what the struggle was all about. He led quietly, effectively, and with a moral suasion that was impossible to resist.

He loved to help young adults, urging them to find solutions to their problems on their own. It is appropriate that his career culminated in teaching the Freshman Ethics Seminar at the University in the fall of 1994, where his belief in the unique value and autonomy of the individual was instilled in a new generation.

We mourn the loss of a true friend to this University and to the higher values upon which it is built. While many of us in the heat of the moment will lose sight of those values, Bill Cash never took his eye off the ultimate goal - an open, intellectually rich environment, shared by students, faculty, and staff of all hues and shades of the rich ethnic fabric that constitute our society. We share our grief and memories with his wife, Burnita, his son, William III, and his daughters, Marcia, Lisa, Audrey and Olivia. They can be secure in the knowledge, and feel well-deserved pride, that their spouse and father was an indispensable contributor to the progress that has been made in transforming the University of Michigan into a more tolerant and sensitive institution of higher learning.

James S. Jackson
Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology