150 years of excellence celebrated with Wildcats around the Globe.
In the 2022-2023 academic year, Wiley College will mark its sesquicentennial by exploring and honoring its history, celebrating who we are today, and envisioning and embracing the future.

Welcome to the Wiley College Sesquicentennial hub for information on the 150th anniversary of the founding of Wiley College! The Sesquicentennial is a time for celebrating, reflecting, and memorializing the historical significance of Wiley College to Wildcats and friends across the globe.

This celebration recognizes the institution’s 150 years of existence, which began as Wiley College on March 16, 1873. Activities during this celebratory year will be announced soon.


In 1873, the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Wiley College near Marshall, Texas, to allow Negro youth the opportunity to pursue higher learning in the arts, sciences, and other professions. Named in honor of Bishop Isaac William Wiley, an outstanding minister, medical missionary, and educator, Wiley College was founded during turbulent times for Blacks in America.

As the nation’s first HBCU west of the Mississippi River, Wiley College has been home to great alumni such as Mr. James Farmer, Mr. Heman Sweatt, and Ms. Opal Lee. The College is currently organized into two degree-granting divisions: the School of Business and Social Science and the School of Education and Sciences. The latter division, although not degree-granting, is responsible for the College’s general education and interdisciplinary studies.

There is an unyielding conviction among the faculty and administration today that learning occurs best in an academically challenging and supportive environment and embraces the principles of academic freedom and shared governance. Overall, Wiley College remains a viable force in the academic community. The institution continues to be a leader in innovation. It was the first “Thinkpad College” west of the Mississippi River. This initiative allowed all students to use a laptop for their daily classwork. For almost 150 years, Wiley College has offered educational opportunities to the citizens of Texas, the nation, and the world. The Wiley College spirit remains vibrant in the face of remarkable social change, global terrorism, economic strife, and adversity. The beacon of light that is Wiley College will shine forth unsullied for generations to come. The insightful vision of years past that made Wiley College a preeminent Black college in the south is alive and well.

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