|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008)|
|Motto||Achieving Excellence Through Pride and Performance|
|Religious affiliation||United Methodist Church
|President||Haywood L. Strickland|
|Provost||Glenda F. Carter|
Nathaniel Hewitt III
|Campus||Urban, 134 acres (0.5 km2)|
|Colors||Purple and white
|Athletics||Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Track & Field, Intramurals and Cheerleading|
|Mascot||Wiley the Wildcat|
Wiley College is a four-year, private, historically black, liberal arts college located on the west side of Marshall, Texas. Founded in 1873 by the Methodist Episcopal Church's Bishop Isaac Wiley and certified in 1882 by the Freedman's Aid Society, it is notable as one of the oldest predominantly black colleges west of the Mississippi River.
In 2005–2006, on-campus enrollment approached 450, while an off-campus program in Shreveport, Louisiana, for students with some prior college credits who seek to finish a degree, enrolled about 250. As of the fall of 2006, total enrollment was about 750. By fall of 2013, total enrollment was approximately 1400. Wiley is an open admissions college and about 96 percent of students receive some financial aid.
The Wiley staff learned that over a 15-year period, Melvin B. Tolson’s debate teams lost only one of 75 debates. The Wiley Forensic Society competed against historically black colleges, but earned national attention with its debates against the University of Southern California and Harvard University.
Wiley, along with Bishop College, was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement in Texas. Wiley and Bishop students launched the first sit-ins in Texas in the rotunda of the Old Harrison County Courthouse to protest segregation in public facilities.
James L. Farmer, Jr., son of James L. Farmer, Sr., graduated from Wiley and became one of the "Big Four" of the Civil Rights Movement. Together with Roy Wilkins, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Whitney M. Young Jr., James L. Farmer, Jr. helped organize the first sit-ins and Freedom Rides in the United States.
Tony Scherman's article about the Wiley College debate team for the 1997 Spring issue of American Legacy sparked a renewed interest in its history. The success of the 1935 Wiley College debate team, coached by professor and poet Melvin Tolson, was the subject of a 2005 AMS Pictures documentary, The Great Debaters, The Real Great Debaters of Wiley College, which received heavy play around Texas, followed by 2007 drama movie, The Great Debaters, directed by and starring Denzel Washington. In 1935, the Wiley College debate team defeated the reigning national debate champion, the University of Southern California (depicted as Harvard University in The Great Debaters). In 2007, Denzel Washington announced a donation of US$1 million to Wiley so the team could be re-established.
The Wiley College Debate Team, now also known as the Melvin B. Tolson Forensics Society of Wiley College, is under the direction of Christopher Medina. The purpose of The Wiley College Debate Team is not only to compete at a national and regional level, but also to instill a strong work ethic, a drive for academic excellence, and a spirit of ethical competition in its student leaders.
In the 2009–2010 season, the Wiley Debate Team continued to win a plethora of awards and achievements at many of the tournaments for the Texas and Louisiana regions. One of the most historical tournament for the team was the Western Round-Up Swing at McNeese State University on November 20–22, 2009. This was a history-making tournament, as the two-year-old Wiley College Forensic Team won their first overall tournament trophy.
The team was nationally ranked fourth in debate at the 2010 Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament. Seventy-five years ago, the team was denied participation at this tournament because it was reserved for white students. Captain Sean Allen and Member Terrance Muse received first place in Duo Interpretation. Captain Caress Russell received first place in Poetry Interpretation. Novice Members Tanreka Smith & Jendayi Douglas received third place in Novice Parliamentary Debate. Many other rewards of Excellence were rewarded to the team for Student Congress, Extemporaneous Speaking, and other various categories.
Former three-year team captain Sean Allen graduated from Wiley in 2013. He is working as a full-time Coach, giving back to his team.
The team provides the public with honors and reward updates as well as current schedule on their website (http://www.wileyc.edu/wileydebaters/default.asp)
Wiley College teams, nicknamed athletically as the Wildcats, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, track & field and volleyball.
|Melvin B. Tolson||English||a noted poet and English professor|||
|James L. Farmer, Sr.||the first black Texan to earn a PhD, was also a professor at Wiley|
|Fred T. Long||Athletics||Athletic Director and Head football coach|||
|Harry Long||Biology||head of biology department and asst. football coach|||
|R. E. Brown||1899||organized the first male quartet, first brass band and first football team at Wiley. He started the first teacher-training school for African Americans in Louisiana.|||
|Lois Towles||1933||internationally renown concert pianist.|||
|Henrietta Bell Wells||the first female member of the debate team at historically black Wiley College in Texas – the subject of the 2007 movie, “The Great Debaters”|||
|Thelma Dewitty||1941||first African American to teach in the Seattle Public Schools|||
|James L. Farmer, Jr.||1938||U.S. civil rights leader|||
|Conrad O. Johnson||Music educator|||
|Henry Cecil McBay||Chemist and college professor|
|Bill Spiller||African-American golfer who challenged the segregationist policies of the PGA|||
|Heman Marion Sweatt||Plaintiff in U.S. Supreme Court case, Sweatt v. Painter (1950); helped to found Texas Southern University|
|Lee Wilder Thomas||Prominent African-American businessman in the oil industry|
|James Wheaton||1945||Actor, director and educator|||
|Jesse J. Williams||1971||Principal Chemist, Theologian|
|Richard Williams||Jazz trumpeter|
|Mike Lewis[disambiguation needed]||1980||NFL|
|Lee Thomas[disambiguation needed]||1973||NFL|
Media related to Wiley College at Wikimedia Commons