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Our Namesake

Dr. Matthew W. Dogan

Dr. Matthew Winfred. Dogan was elected as the second black President of Wiley College, and served in this capacity for more than 46 years. Under his administration, the school chalked up many enviable “firsts.” Among them was Dr. Matthew Dogan, one of the first persons to be elected to the Wiley College National Hall of Fame.

Dr. Matthew Winfred Dogan, Sr. was born on December 21, 1863, in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He was the third child of William and Jennie Dogan in a family of six children. His father was a barber who had purchased his own freedom in 1861 for $1400. In 1869, the family moved from Pontotoc to Holly Springs, Mississippi, in order to give the children advantage of the educational facilities at Rust University, then known as Shaw University. 

He earned his education from first grade through graduation from college by working as a bootblack in his father's barbershop. In 1886 he received his A.B. degree in mathematics from Rust University, where he was noted for his high scholarship and his logical mind. After three years on the faculty at Rust, he was called to a mathematics professorship at Central Tennessee College (later Walden College). Success there led to his appointment to the Wiley presidency, being only the second African-American to attain that office. During his tenure there were numerous achievements: a building program which produced five buildings; a new Carnegie library; other building and landscaping improvements; expanded course offerings; new degree programs in law, nursing, and theology; lengthening the school term; eliminating the old grammar and secondary schools with a name change; offering the Ph.D. degree; affiliation of fraternal and sororal organizations; increases in enrollment from many states and foreign countries; and changes in the financial foundation. In 1888 he married Fannie Forrest Faulkner, also a teacher. They were the parents of seven children. She died on June 16, 1929.

Dr. Dogan is buried in the Wiley College Cemetery in Marshall.

The College was one of the first, if not the first, to secure an endowment of any significant size; it had on its campus the finest library facilities in this section for a long time, serving both the College and the community. It had the only Carnegie Library in this section; The College introduced the practice of interracial student conferences in the state; it led out in educational reorganization program, divorcing college from the high school; it was the first Negro College in the Southwest to adopt the Honor Roll System.

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