In Memoriam: Michael Robert Williams, 1952-2016

mwilliams-headMichael Williams, director of Black studies at Cleveland State University in Ohio, died on July 12 at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. He was 64 years old.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Dr. Williams was a graduate of Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where he majored in sociology and was an All-American in track and field. He earned a master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Dr Williams held a second master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. Later, he studied for a master of divinity degree at the Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio.

Dr. Williams joined the faculty at Cleveland State University in 1985 as an assistant professor of social work. He was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 1991. In 2004, Dr. Williams was named director of the Black studies program at the university and remained in that post until his death. The university awarded its first bachelor’s degrees in Black studies in 2010.

Related Articles


  1. So very sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Williams. I knew him in Pgh. through friends in University.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Featured Jobs