The Lecture Series was started in 1982 when a group of MSC students decided that Texas A&M needed a forum where well-known public figures could make university appearances. These students transformed their idea into reality by forming a charter and holding the organization’s first event. The new program was initially called the MSC Endowed Lecture Series, and the first lecture was titled “The Future of the Western Alliance.” It featured such notable speakers as Gerald Ford (President of the United States, 1974–1977), Helmut Schmidt (West German Chancellor, 1974–1982), and Edward Heath (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1970–1974). The prestige of these original speakers equipped the program with the credibility to sustain a high standard for future lectures.


In recent years, the Wiley Lecture Series has gone through many changes. Symposia have allowed Wiley to broaden the topics of programs outside the foreign policy theme of Main Program to include issues of national policy. In 2000, a student liaison to the Bush Library Foundation was appointed, a role which was continued for much of the decade. In 2001, a short-lived project called Wiley Roundtable offered attendees the opportunity to engage in small group discussions on questions of foreign policy. By constantly adapting to the needs and interests of students, the MSC Wiley Lecture Series has ensured that its programming remains at the forefront of the Texas A&M community.

Excerpted from The Memorial Student Center: A Look Inside, a Floco Unlimited Production.

The Wileys 

In 1984, the program received an endowment from James E. Wiley, Sr. and A.P. Wiley, both Class of ’46, and the committee was renamed as the Wiley Lecture Series. After attending the lecture series in the spring of 1983, the Wiley Brothers were so impressed with “how these young people were able to put it all together” that they volunteered to donate $500,000 from the proceeds of their business, Wiley Bros. General Contractors of Dallas. The principal reason for the brothers’ rekindled interest in the student activities of Texas A&M 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. explained that “My brother and I remembered how it was when we attended A&M and how those types of opportunities were not available then.” He recalled that involvement of students was the most appealing element of the series. Wiley would go on to state that it was “nearly beyond comprehension, how the students ran the series,” and declared that it is “amazing what the students do.” In 2014, the Wiley families re-committed to the students and to the MSC Wiley Lecture 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.” Of course, the Lecture Series is not the only beneficiary of the Wiley family’s incredibly generosity. In 1983, they endowed a Chair in Civil Engineering valued at over half a million dollars. Since then, the Wileys have also contributed a President’s Endowed Scholarship and a Sul Ross Scholarship to Aggie students, in addition to donating funds to enhance the research facilities of the Sterling C. Evans Library.