February 26, 2013

James F. Cashman

James F. Cashman, age 66, the John R. Miller Professor of Management at the University of Alabama, lost his battle with gastric cancer on Friday, Dec. 2, at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

Cashman was an accomplished scholar and taught in the management and marketing program in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University. After completing his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at the University of Illinois, Cashman joined the UA faculty in 1975.

In addition to working with the University of Alabama, Cashman was also a visiting professor at the University of Northumbria, England and worked with the Business School of Durham University in England. Cashman was most noted for his cutting edge research in the area of Leader-Membership Exchange Theory.

Cashman also worked extensively with the auto industry, including General Motors and lead consultants in the development of Saturn Corporation’s organizational development and design program.

Cashman served on the board of Gulf States Paper for many years, as well as on the board of Alabama Heritage Magazine. He helped the University and the community through his participation in the Harrison Radiator/Rochester Products Project, which saved jobs in Tuscaloosa.

He was also a well-known management expert for many different auto manufacturers. Cashman’s opinion has been sought out worldwide from newspapers, magazines and National Public Radio’s Marketplace.

Outside of scholarly achievements, Cashman served during the Vietnam War as an expert in the German language with the National Security Agency in Berlin.  Of all his accomplishments, Cashman was most proud of his work here at the University. Throughout his career, he taught thousands of undergraduate, graduate and master’s and doctoral students.

Cashman was also an advisor to the Alabama Racquetball Club, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity and co-founder of the Women’s Crew Team. For the past ten years, he helped co-found and build the Business Honors Program within the College of Commerce and Business administration.

Sarah Shannahan, a senior majoring in accounting, said she got to know Cashman through her involvement in the Business Honors Program over the past two years.
“He wasn’t just an ordinary teacher, but he was a great resource for knowledge, life advice and professional contacts,” Shannahan said. Cashman became particularly involved in one of her projects involving the analysis of alternative fuels and the future implementation in University vehicles. Shannahan said she could expect an email from him just about every day with a new direction to take on the project, person to contact or an informative article related to the project.

“I think that shows just how much he cared about his job and especially his students,” she said. “His excitement for our success, whether it be in class or in our careers, was inspiring and encouraging to say the least.”  Shannahan said he was by far her favorite professor at the University and that Cashman was undoubtedly beloved by all of his students.

“Dr. Cashman truly cared about each and every one of his students, and we all cared about him just the same,” she said.  “We saw him struggle through his sickness throughout this semester, and he was constantly in my prayers. I am so fortunate I had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Cashman. There is no telling how many lives he touched throughout his career at Alabama”

Mark Lail also got to know Cashman through his involvement with BHP. Lail said the thing that made him stand out was his constant enthusiasm and excitement for teaching and guiding his students every day.  “He truly cared about each one of us and it showed through his teaching every day,” Lail said.

Lail said Cashman taught him how to be a professional no matter what the situation is.
“He was always prepared and ready to work,” he said. “The lessons I learned from him weren’t merely academic, they were life skills and things that will allow me to succeed in work and life.”

Rebecca Hedrick, a senior majoring in marketing, said Cashman was one of the most inspiring and motivating professors she has had.  Hedrick first met Cashman her sophomore year in her MGT 300 class. It was then she discovered his joy for education and life in general.

“He greeted me every class with a smile and a laugh,” she said. “Through the next two years, he invested so much in me. I am grateful for the time he took and the many conversations he had with me about my passions and goals.  “He encouraged me to reach beyond what I thought I was capable of, and never let me leave without reminding me, ‘Becca, you are great.’”

Last semester, Hedrick transferred home because of illness and she said Cashman kept in touch with her almost every week of the semester to check on her and even supervised an independent study for her in the summer “I still can’t believe how quickly his time went, and I know that I will dearly miss him,” she said. “I wish I could tell him how much of an impact he has had on my life, and I definitely attribute any future success I might have as a result of his role in my experience at the University of Alabama.”

In honor of Cashman, donations can be made to the University of Alabama and specified either to the Jim Cashman Business Honors Award Fund or the University of Alabama Women’s Crew Team.

Donations can be made online at the UA Web site or by check mailed to: Charlie Adair, Director of Development, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, Box 87223, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Please specify whether to direct the donation to the Honors Award or the Women’s Crew Team.