of the

Herman J. Felton, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.

The 17th President & CEO of Wiley University

Meet The President

About Wiley University’s 17th President & CEO 

Before he was appointed as Wiley University’s 17th President & CEO, he served as Wilberforce University's 21st president. His leadership experience has included service as a chief operating officer, senior vice president, and vice president at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He is also a former director of development and lecturer in the Government, Law, and International Affairs Department at Murray State University in Kentucky. These experiences have informed his educational philosophy and commitment to generating access to higher education, increasing innovation, and increasing resources to ensure the sustainability of HBCUs. 

Herman J. Felton Jr., Ph.D., J.D., is the 17th President & CEO of Wiley University. President Felton began his service to Wiley University in the summer of 2018, signaling the Bold and Audacious Vision. In this short period of time, he has achieved significant accomplishments, including spearheading a campaign with College alumni and supporters that has supported the renovation and modernization of the Thomas W. Cole, Sr. Library.

He has successfully garnered support from the Marshall Economic Development Corporation to renovate KBWC, the University’s radio station, launched the Heman Sweatt Center for Social Good and Leadership, created a training space for physical education majors, and implemented the student health, counseling, and wellness unit staffed with full-time licensed practitioners. Through President Felton's leadership, the College has received over $20 million in grants and gifts, generating some of the largest gifts in the University's history. In addition to his accomplishments on Wiley’s campus, President Felton has immersed himself in the fabric of the Marshall Community, where he is a member of the Marshall Rotary Club, the Marshall Chamber of Commerce, and the Citizens Advisory Council.

President Felton earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida. Also, he earned his Juris Doctorate from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida and completed his graduate work at Jackson State University, where he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration and Supervision.

He is co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.), an organization ensuring that a pipeline of transformational, highly skilled, and principled leaders are identified and cultivated to meet the needs, challenges and opportunities facing the Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. President Felton served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years. He is married to the lovely Katherine Anne Felton and is the father of Jamal, Paige, and Herman, III (Trey). 

The Bold and Audacious Vision
A Message from the President

The Bold and Audacious Vision is a generous set of beliefs about Wiley University’s future for what we can become when we embrace innovation, faith, and works. This Vision began during my first few days at Wiley University, as I looked out across the campus and was inspired by the history, the place, the faculty & staff, and her students, I set out to solidify its future. The College has undoubtedly been a beacon of light, serving and impacting the nation and beyond, training change-makers such as Ms. Opal Lee, Mr. Heman Sweatt, and Mr. James Farmer, to name a few. Our next phase is to leverage this historical past, our accomplishments, and our distinguished alums to move the College into perpetual greatness. Moving in the spirit of the Wiley University Presidents before me, most decidedly recalling the years of President Matthew W. Dogan (1896-1942), I am excited to build upon our tremendous past.

The Bold and Audacious Vision began with a review of the physical space. Wiley University, nestled in Marshall, TX, is a dedicated place for living and learning. Every building was reimagined to reflect the inspirational nature of our learning environment. The projects initially were designed for completion over a span of 2-3 years, COVID-19 interrupted the campus operations in March 2020. As the campus moved to virtual reality, we invested in the University’s infrastructure. In November 2021, when the College reopened its onsite delivery, every building on campus had been renovated. Additionally, the College opened its newest building, the Kenneth “Kenny” Ponder Welcome Center, the home of Institutional Advancement, signaling a renewed focus on institutional development and community engagement.

Bold: Access and Affordability

As I imagine in 1873, when the first students arrived at the institution, there was a unique boldness to recently being freed from enslavement and making your way in the world with limited resources. How does one afford to access knowledge in an educational setting with limited resources was a question then and remains today.

Today-students are still making choices regarding attending college based on affordability. Considering that college-going rates for African Americans are often predicated on issues of access and affordability, the Bold and Audacious Vision includes increasing the college-going and completion rates of African Americans and other underserved groups. In 2019, we reduced the tuition to $17,500, making us one of the lowest tuitions in the state. In 2021, we established the President’s Promise Scholarship Program to provide every Wiley University student with a scholarship of up to $2500 to attend the institution. My desire for anyone to have a college degree who dreams it pushed me further to set the goal of giving 1873 scholarships in honor of our sesquicentennial celebrated in 2023. The College continues to seek out funding to offset the costs associated with completing college.

Audacious: Innovation and Impossible

There is an incredible moment of realization when we reflect on what was not possible fifty years ago… when we think about what was once only dreamt about, the audacity to dream it, believe it, and do it, is at the center of the Wiley University experience. I call for the audacious because the journey ahead demands it. To imagine a 21st Century and beyond for Wiley University, we must have the audacity to dream what is not yet real. The Dogan Years offers us a glimpse into what is possible for and at Wiley, each President after provided us with a blueprint for protecting the possible.

As we consider the making of the next generations of Wiley University graduates, I give attention to the incredible opportunities that we make to create a transformative learning environment. Centering the student as our indicator of success, the vision takes into account what is required of team members. The introduction of such unique Wiley University signature experiences as The Sacred Pause and The Revival offers an incredible glimpse into a dynamic investment in the staff and faculty at the College. The outcome of this dynamic investment is a student-ready campus where all of us can wholeheartedly see our contributions to student enrollment, success, and completion.

Whether the accomplishments include the renovation of buildings, the new Center for Digital Education Excellence and Workforce Development, or an extraordinary year of recognition, our end product is our students.  That is to whom we commit, that is to whom we are required to dream alongside, we are the guardians of the dream.

In 1873, I believe that when the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the United Methodist Church considered the creation of Wiley, they believed we would withstand the test of time. I believed they dreamed of a place that could create scholars, debaters, activists, vocalists, athletes, leaders… taking this belief, we build on this incredible foundation and frame the Bold and Audacious Vision… so that all who experience us… Go Forth Inspired.



Book a Speaking Engagement
President & CEO Felton in the News
Aug 7
Marshall, TX
Gratitude... Wiley University Induction Ceremony (2023)
Induction Ceremony Remarks...
Nov 3
Marshall, TX
State of the College (University) Address: Returning to Our Roots
Returning to Our Roots. A wonderful full-circle moment....
Jan 15
Marshall, TX
Elon Musk Isn't as Dangerous as you are...
A Letter to Wiley Students
Wiley College president
From the Desk of the President
Office of the President Staff
Dr. Tashia Bradley
Chief Operating Officer & Vice President of Administration
Cassandra M. Johnson, M.ED.
Special Assistant to the President & Director of Title III Programs
Vickie Jamison
Executive Administrative Assistant

Wiley University Leadership