In 1984 the program received an endowment from James E. Wiley, Sr. and A.P. Wiley, both of the Class of ’46, and was renamed the Wiley Lecture Series. The brothers attended the lecture series in the spring of 1983 and were so impressed with “how these young people were able to put it all together” that they volunteered to donate $500,000 from proceeds of their business, Wiley Bros. General Contractors of Dallas. The principal reason for the brothers’ rekindled interest in Texas A&M student activities can be attributed to James Wiley, Jr. ’71.
As a student, the younger Wiley was active in MSC programs and, after his graduation, served on the MSC Enrichment Fund Board. At his invitation, his father and uncle attended a lecture in the spring of 1983. In a July 1993 interview, James E. Wiley, Sr. stated, “My brother and I remembered how it was when we attended A&M and how those types of opportunities were not available then.” He recalls the student activity was the most appealing element of the series. Wiley describes the students’ involvement as “nearly beyond comprehension, how the students ran the series,” and declares that it is “amazing what the students do.” In 2014, the Wiley families recommitted to the students and the series by doubling their endowment gift.
The Wileys believe “the endowment has given students opportunities to use their talents, and what they do with these opportunities is up to them.” The lecture series is not the only beneficiary of the Wiley family’s generosity. In 1983 they endowed a Chair in Civil Engineering valued at over half a million dollars. Since then, the Wileys have contributed a President’s Endowed Scholarship and a Sul Ross Scholarship and have donated funds to enhance the Sterling C. Evans Library research facilities.