Wiley College, the first HBCU west of the Mississippi, was founded in 1873 by Bishop Isaac Wiley of the United Methodist Church. Its mission was to provide education to “newly freed men.”
In 1882 the Freedman’s Aid Society also chartered the school. Over time, the purpose of Wiley College was to train teachers for careers at black elementary and secondary schools.
Wiley College is best known as the real-life college of Professor Melvin Tolson and his incredible debate students, as represented by Denzel Washington in the Hollywood movie, The Great Debaters. There are, however, slightly differing views of the facts presented in the movie.
Wiley College is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It provides students with liberal arts and career-oriented education in a Christian environment. The college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
The school has one of the best student-faculty ratios in the nation and is recognized for providing higher education opportunities to non-traditional students through its management institute program.
Wiley is the first school in East Texas to issue laptop computers to its students and faculty.
It has since grown from a vocational college to an institution that awards Associate’s degrees and Bachelor’s degrees in 21 disciplines. Among Wiley’s disciplines are:
• Computer science
• Social sciences
• Organizational Management
• Business Administration
• Elementary Education
• Secondary Education
• Criminal Justice
Wiley College is located in Harrison County on 63 acres west of Marshall, Texas; between Dallas to the west and Shreveport to the east. The closest large airport is located in Shreveport, thirty minutes away.
The campus has 14 structures for teaching, research, and student housing. Wiley is one of three institutions of higher learning situated in Marshall, which has an estimated population of 25,000 people.
Increasingly, students of other races, as well as international students, are finding Wiley College to be an attractive place to acquire a college education.
Wiley is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Red River Athletics Conference and sponsors basketball, softball, and track and field. Men’s sports are basketball, baseball, soccer, and track & field.
Women’s sports are volleyball, basketball, softball, and track & field.