The Board of Trustees voted unanimously and enthusiastically to affirm the recommendations of the Academic Affairs Committee, former Vice President of Academic Affairs Kevin McGruder, the Senior Vice Presidents, and the College’s newly installed President, Dr. Jane Fernandes, in granting tenure to Michael Casselli ’87. He is also promoted to Associate Professor of Sculpture and Installation.
“Your contributions to the College for many, many years have been instrumental to the success of our graduates,” wrote Shelby Chestnut ’05, chair of the Board of Trustees.
Casselli returned to Yellow Springs to participate in the movement to save Antioch College and was deeply engaged with the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute. He joined the faculty of the reopened, independent Antioch College as an adjunct instructor in 2012. He was named Instructor of Media Arts in 2013 and Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Installation in 2015. Casselli currently serves as Chair of the Arts Division and Interim Creative Director Herndon Gallery. His commitment and service to the College and to his students is multifaceted, broad, and deep. He has served on numerous committees in all areas of the College and is currently the faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. He was also elected to the Alumni Board in 2012 and completed his service in 2021.
President Fernandes, offered her words of commendation in a letter and noted, “Several trustees spoke of your amazing contributions to the college since reopening and a tremendous commitment to its success. I congratulate you wholeheartedly and celebrate this accomplishment with you and your colleagues.”
“Michael Casselli is one of the only people who immediately saw the vision I had for my self-designed major in Hip Hop Education,” said Truth Garrett ’20. “Casselli’s classes encourage students to examine the statements and philosophies found in the process of making the art. With his help I was introduced to new ways of expression and Casselli continues to assist me with my developing a pedagogy of Hip Hop.”
“Casselli taught me about collaboration, motivation, and the importance of listening, ” explained Hannah Priscilla Craig ’17. “He helped me realize that even things that feel insurmountable can be achieved with some pre-planning and lots of trial and error. Casselli always seems to be ready to get to work on big projects that require collaboration—no matter how out there the project seems to be, he is right there, dreaming it up together. When my Antioch performance cohort and I wanted to make an artificial rain contraption, Casselli was right by our sides helping us make it. When I wanted to construct a 25-foot tree swing, Casselli was out there on the ladder with me. Casselli is supportive and adaptable—a true collaborator and co-conspirator who I am lucky to know.”
Casselli holds a BA with a self designed major in Visual Arts/Performance Theory from Antioch College and obtained his MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1990.
With interests in hybridization of forms and media, he is an accomplished practitioner in the worlds of theater, sculpture, and experimental art. Casselli has also taught at University of Dayton, New York University, Fordham University, California Institute of the Arts, and Rhode Island School of Design. Among his awards he is recipient of the 1997 Bessie Award for Scenic Design, 2013 Ohio Arts Council Award for Individual Excellence, and 2016 SOCHE Faculty Excellence Award.