June 6, 2008
Nathaniel McCaslin, a highly regarded community volunteer and Western Michigan University faculty member, died May 31 in Phoenix. He was 78.
McCaslin, a former vice president of the Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education, came to WMU in 1971 and retired in 1991 as professor emeritus of social work. He began his career at the University coordinating field instruction, and as a result helped to train numerous graduate students.
The School of Social Work created the Nathaniel McCaslin Scholarship upon his retirement in recognition of his "commitment to providing educational opportunities for students" and his "life-long contributions to improving the quality of life in the community and the quality of social work education." Meanwhile, the Kalamazoo schools named an early incentive scholarship program in his honor.
An active member of the local community, McCaslin received the the Humanitarian of the Year award in 1987 from the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP and was named social worker of the year in 1974 by the Southwestern Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Caslin chaired the Kalamazoo County social services board; helped to develop the education-oriented community group, Push for Learning; was appointed an interim executive director of the Douglass Community Association; and served on the boards of several social service agencies and children's organizations.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Miles College and a Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University.
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