Dr. EE “Butch” Caston took over as Interim Chancellor of Delta State University on July 1, 2022. It was a natural progression for a man who dedicated his career and life to education and the university, which he, of course, loves very much.
“While this is a” temporary “position, I certainly don’t see my role as a stopwatch or just a figurehead,” says Caston of his presidency. “And this was written to me when I met the advice of the Institute of Higher Learning and was appointed by it. I was supposed to function as an active leader and president, and that is what I am doing to the best of my ability. This job is about looking to the future and improving the school as best we can, starting with this office. I have come back from retirement several times to serve in various positions, “he continues,” but my service as interim president is my greatest achievement. “
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Caston first arrived at the Delta State in the fall of 1962, where he played on the run back for statesmen under legendary coach Horace L. McCool, who recruited him (“one of the funniest, charismatic guys I was around! ”Caston laughs). He says the first person he met when he arrived on campus was the legendary “Boo” Ferris, “and I didn’t even know who that man was at our first meeting. He was the most modest, normal person in the world. Later when I found out what the true legend is, it was hard for me to talk about it, ”he says.
Caston graduated from Delta State with a Bachelor of Science in English, a minor in 1966, and a Master of Education in Counseling and Counseling in 1968, training high school soccer and English at Cleveland High School during his graduation. Caston completed his PhD in Pedagogy in Counseling and Counseling from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1974.
Enjoying a lifelong educational career starting at the K-12 level, Caston has also served in the school districts of Cleveland and Hattiesburg in a variety of roles including teacher, trainer, counselor and finally assistant superintendent in Hattiesburg. He started his professional career in higher education as an assistant professor at William Carey University and as an assistant professor in counseling psychology and counseling education at the University of Southern Mississippi.
In 1983, Caston returned to Delta State to serve as Director of Field Experience, Coordinator of Teacher Education, and Professor of Education, after receiving a position from Dr. Kent Wyatt. He served as chairman of the Department of Curricula and Instruction from 1986-1988 before becoming Dean of the College of Education in 1989. After fifteen years in this position, Caston officially “retired,” but continued to serve at the university as an adjunct member of the faculty. In the years 2004-2011 he was the President of the Delta Educational Services Group and the Grant Director of the Early Learning Mentoring Program and Healthy Campus / Community Initiative.
In 2011, Caston returned to college to serve as interim president and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Mississippi for Women. In 2013 and 2015, Caston served as interim vice president and vice president for academic affairs and interim vice president for student affairs at Delta State. As you can see, Caston could not stay away from his alma mater for long.
“This community and faculty have always been open to me and this office,” says Caston, returning to discuss his current role. “We are a student-centered, regional university with a clearly defined mission of service, learning and teaching. When I think of Delta State, I think of a special atmosphere that I have had the privilege of experiencing both as a student and as an employee, ”he says.
“I can see the brightest of the bright right now here on campus with our young people,” says Caston. “I always have an open door policy in my office and I am very impressed with our students. They are mature, composed and articulate, which cheers me up as a teacher of many years. I have great faith in our youth, ”he says.
During his significant career, Caston has been recognized for his contributions to education, receiving a Who’s Who award from US colleges and universities; Freddie Black Memorial Award; America’s Outstanding Young Men Award; and an award for an outstanding young educator. Caston also has affiliations with several professional organizations, including the Mississippi Association of School Administrators, the American Association of School Administrators, Mississippi Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Association of Mississippi Teacher Educators, and the Mississippi Association of Teacher Education Colleges. .
As a dedicated graduate of Delta State University, Caston was selected as the winner of the Distinguished Statesman Award 2012 and winner of the Dr. Henry Outlaw Award in 2017 and the Staff Service Award. He is a committed citizen of Cleveland and Bolivar County, has served with the Bolivar County Division of the American Cancer Society, Delta Arts Alliance, as a member of the Cleveland Rotary Club, and as a member of the Cleveland Magnet School Advisory Committee.
“I can see the brightest of the bright right now here on campus with our young people,” says Caston. “I always have an open door policy in my office and I am very impressed with our students. They are mature, composed and articulate, which cheers me up as a teacher of many years. I have great faith in our youth, ”he says. “Are you working with them and for them now? Honestly, I’m having a good time.
Caston and his wife Marlene have five children and fifteen grandchildren. His “extracurricular activities” include outdoor activities, sports, traveling with his wife, and frequent hunting trips with his sons in various locations.
“Marlene and I have a site in Idaho and we ride our horses a lot there, stopping overnight at the ranch on the way, which we love to do,” he says. And while his term as interim president will officially end on June 30, 2023, expect Caston to continue to be very active in his community and Delta State. “Even though the position I hold now is my proverbial ‘last rodeo’, I will continue to contribute whenever I am called upon.”