Professor emerita, former AAUP president Mary Cain dies

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of Dr. Mary Cain.

Mary Cain

Dr. Mary Cain, Western Michigan University professor emerita of education and professional development, died Oct. 1 in Kalamazoo. She was 91.

Cain, who retired in April 1991, was a member of the faculty for 30 years, and she coordinated the early childhood unit in her department for the final 15 years of her tenure at WMU.

Mary Cain

Widely lauded for her teaching ability and her service to the University and community, Cain was the recipient in 1991 of a WMU Distinguished Service Award. She also was recognized with the Michigan Legislature's Teaching Excellence Award in 1990, and she was named a Distinguished Faculty Member by the Michigan Association of Governing Boards in 1985.

Active with the WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, she served as chapter president from 1983 to 1986. She also was deeply involved with the WMU Faculty Senate, serving as its vice president for two years, chairing the Undergraduate Studies Council and serving on a number of standing and ad hoc committees. In addition, she served as chair of the University's Undergraduate Curriculum Committee from1981 to 1984.

Cain served as chair of WMU's Commission on the Status of Women for two years in the 1970s and received that organization's first "Woman of the Year" award in 1978. She was again honored with the same award in 1986.

She was active in the local community and in national professional organizations as well, most notably as an advocate for early childhood education. Her service ranged from membership on the national Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition to being a part of early childhood advisory boards for the Kalamazoo Public Schools and the Bronson Healthcare Group.

Cain earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, a master's degree from WMU and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University.


Visitation has been set for 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at Langeland Memorial Chapel, 622 S. Burdick St. in Kalamazoo.

A funeral service will take place Friday, Oct 7, at Oakwood Cemetery in Grand Ledge.

A campus memorial service has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Kanley Chapel.