Jason Wiley, class of 1999, came to IMSA from Chicago in large part because of his mother. She saw an article about IMSA in the paper when he was in second grade. As a freshman in high school IMSA appealed to him because he didn't feel academically challenged. He participated in the Excel summer program, where he made a lot of close friends, including one who would be his roommate for all three years.
In his IMSA memories, the people stand out, as well as the experience being away from home, and getting used to new ways of learning that encouraged collaboration. The classes taught him how to think, and learn, and solve problems. Many RCs, fellow student, and friends helped him navigate the experience and the experience created bonds among them.
Outside of academics, Wiley participated in many extracurriculars and leadership activities: he served as class president all three years, played basketball, ran track, served as a mentor for the peer multicultural educators, served as an RA for his wing, participated on the board of the African American Student Association, and helped admissions recruit new students. While it was a lot, being active helped him to learn about lots of different people and to grow. It also brought challenges. In one instance his junior year, Wiley recalls that a situation made black students feel unprotected on campus and they organized a meeting in one of the halls. Members of the administration pulled him aside and asked him to help stop the meeting. Reflecting back on it, he feels that while IMSA did a great job of celebrating differences, that is not the same as being inclusive and understanding. IMSA is part of our larger society and affected by the same concerns, even as the community wants it to be better.
After IMSA, Wiley studied business the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He went into a career in marketing. He was VP of marketing for Bad Boy Entertainment. He started his own marketing agency and worked as head of content and marketing for the 76ers. He now runs a marketing and PR agency based in Brooklyn, New York called This Is Dope. The IMSA experience is still an important part of his life, influencing the way he approaches problems, the way he connects with people, and the close friendships he maintains.
Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 34:51
alumni, careers, college, Excel program, extracurriculars, friends, residential life, student governance
Digital Video Recording
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Wiley, Jason '99 and Goek, Sara, "Jason Wiley" (2021). Oral Histories, IMSA Archives and Special Collections, Leto M. Furnas Information Resource Center. https://digitalcommons.imsa.edu/oral_histories/27