November 5, 2023
Wiley College, an HBCU located in Marshall, Texas announced plans to change its name to Wiley University during its homecoming celebration.
During its recent homecoming celebration, Wiley College, an HBCU situated in Marshall, Texas, unveiled its decision to rebrand as Wiley University. This name change was accompanied by the introduction of three new Master’s degree programs, including a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, KSLA reported. Wiley also received a generous gift that wiped out the student debt, adding to the festive atmosphere of the homecoming event.
Wiley’s President Herman J. Felton announced that the changes on Nov. 3 represented a positive change, saying, “We’re on the cusp of yet another defining moment for the nation through Wiley College. With the unwavering support of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff, we’re setting the stage for the next phase of the Wiley legacy.”
Felton again addressed students gathered at the school’s “Returning To Our Roots” homecoming event on Nov. 4.
“Becoming Wiley University is not simply an exercise and a name change, it is an exercise in our ability to embrace our past and see the future,” Felton continued. “The past 150 years have been a testimony to our faith in what is possible,” said Felton Jr. “We stand proudly today and return to our roots, symbolically as Wiley University, and literally as we embrace the next chapter of excellence.”
According to the Marshall News Messenger, Wiley College was initially founded in 1873 as Wiley University by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The school was named in honor of Dr. Issac William Wiley, one of the university’s founders, who was a Methodist medical missionary and later a pastor in the Methodist denomination. The institution’s purported purpose upon its opening was to provide a place for Black students to pursue an education in arts and sciences as well as other academic endeavors.
Tashia Bradley, the school’s operating officer and vice president for Administration, told Marshall News Messenger, “When we think about the person who came to this institution at that period of time who were formerly enslaved, living in that particular time period who had a vision and had a dream that they too could have access to education, and to leverage education to radically change their lives.”
Bradley added, “And so, in the 21st Century, the bold and audacious vision continues that tradition, but inspires us and asks us to really focus on how we can achieve that as an institution. It also asks what we can be radical with regards to providing an accessible education and affordable education during these times to any student who would want it at Wiley University.”
According to the News Messenger, students and alumni at the announcement were excited at the announcement of the return to Wiley University and the university was presented with some checks from student organizations and staff totaling symbolic amounts of $1,873, $1,929, and $2,023. In addition to these gifts, the university has been able to secure $9.5 million in gifts, grants, and services from partnerships as well as the creation of the Transformation Center and the Kenny Ponder Welcome Center.
Felton’s closing remarks indicated his desire for the students in attendance to leave the gathering and Homecoming inspired to create positive change for themselves and the university. “The past provides us with a roadmap, but it is up to us to see a future that continues to serve as a beacon of light. Go forth inspired.”
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