Casden was raised in a Jewish family, the son of a liquor wholesaler. He was bar mitzvahed at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple where he remains a member today. Casden began his academic career as history major, but he was drawn into Finance and accounting classes and eventually switched his educational focus to accounting. Casden enrolled at the University of Southern California as a sophomore after his freshman year at UCLA and graduated cum laude from USC's Leventhal School of Accounting in 1968, earning a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Business Administration from USC.
Additionally, President George W. Bush appointed Casden to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008. In his final days as President, Bush appointed Casden to a five-year term on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which ended on January 15, 2011. The Memorial council helps oversee and run the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Casden is a noted Jewish philanthropist and gave $10.6 million to USC to benefit the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, endow a dean’s chair at the Leventhal School and create the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast within the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. He is on the USC Board of Trustees.