Michael 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.