Community Impact: Associate Professor Sonja Wiley

February 28, 2023

BATON ROUGE - Sonja D. Wiley has been a vital part of the LSU community since accepting a joint appointment in the E. J. Ourso College of Business and the Center for Computation & Technology in 2002.

An associate professor in the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, Wiley shapes future business leaders in courses focusing on systems analysis and design, management of information systems, technology adoption, diversity in entrepreneurship and business communications. Her research interests include the organizational impacts of information technology, healthcare informatics, virtual healthcare, diversity and inclusion analytics (business school pipeline to professions), diversity in entrepreneurship and supplier diversity.

A self-described diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging disruptor, Wiley's service activities include The PhD Project, the Business School Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Collaborative, Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge, Student Association of Black Veterinarians, Kenilworth Science and Technology School, The Tenure Project, the Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion, LSU Athletics recruitment activities, informal mentoring and more. Wiley is also an African & African American Studies affiliate faculty member. She is committed to building a welcoming environment for all LSU students. The meaningful impact of her work is felt across campus, in the Baton Rouge community and beyond. 


Sonja Wiley stands and smiles in the BEC Rotunda

"I stand on the spiritual shoulders of my great great grandfather, Richard Nelson, and my father, Elmore Wiley Jr., land owners, and entrepreneurs. Grandpa Nelson was killed while protecting his 240 acres of land in Ouachita Parish. For years, my dad had to pretend that a white friend owned Wiley Logging Company Inc. because white land owner would not contract the sale of their timber to a black surveyor and logger. Hence, my passion for teaching ENTR 4010: Diversity, Entrepreneurship & Innovations and with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Baton Rouge.

My cerebral matter fixates on business IT and science but my heart was created to reach those underrepresented, unnoticed, and unappreciated; my work as a professor, researcher, board member, foster parent and community servant with students, faculty and administration is an extension of my heart."

Sonja Wiley in doctoral regalia at a commencement ceremony, she smiles and sits with other faculty

"It is my honor and responsibility to carry on the black excellence of my ancestors. It is my DEI charge to leave every place and every person I touch for the better than when I arrived."


 Sonja Wiley in the office of business student success with two LSU football recruits

"It does not escape me, that I am African American, tenured female professor fulfilling my ancestors’ wildest dreams."   

Wiley, authored a multicultural, multi-sensory book, with singer-songwriter, Stevie Wonder, “Little Stevie Wonder in Places Under the Sun” for her niece because of a lack of princesses of color and differently-abled protagonists in children’s literature.

Full story
Sonja Wiley and Stevie Wonder stand with a young man
Sonja Wiley enjoys an LSU football game with her two daughters and son.

Diversity is not a glossy brochure or cute idea for Wiley.  She lives and breathes the embodiment of difference, inclusivity and belonging.  She is the very proud mother of three adopted children.  



Sonja Wiley: Mentor, ambassador

"Dr. Sonja Wiley embodies the true meaning of a role model and mentor to the countless number of students she has encountered throughout her academic career.  She is a leader in DEIB efforts, as evidenced by her longstanding membership in The PhD Project and recent selection as an inaugural member of The PhD Project Advisory Council (PAC-15). During Black History Month – and every month – we celebrate Dr. Wiley!"

Blane Ruschak
President, The PhD Project

“Dr. Wiley's guidance and mentorship were instrumental in my journey as a startup founder. The Pre-Doctoral Scholars Institute transformed my outlook on what I could achieve and taught me valuable lessons on persistence, risk-taking, and adaptability that still guide me. I am forever grateful for her belief in me and proudly carry on her legacy in my entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Jason Boutte '07 BS Finance
CEO and Co-Founder, Shuttle Delivery

"I had the pleasure of having Dr. Wiley as my professor for two courses: Analysis and Design of Information Systems and Diversity in Entrepreneurship. She gave a perspective that students usually would not get in a predominantly white male technology industry. Dr. Wiley truly cares for her students. I hope she knows that it means something extra for Black students, especially Black females, since there are not many of us in the ISDS major. Seeing someone who looked like me as I walked across the stage to get my degree made that moment even more special. At the same time, I saw my niece rooting for me and knew we possibly inspired a new generation."

Renika Williams '21 BS Information Systems & Decision Sciences 
Associate Consultant, IBM

"I'm honored to share my gratitude for Dr. Wiley, who has been a guiding light in my academic and professional journey. Her mentorship and inspiration during my undergraduate years fueled my passion for technology and project management. The Pre-Doctoral Scholars Institute helped me and other students to aim high and achieve a graduate education. I am proud to be part of the legacy of Dr. Wiley, the first tenured black professor in the Information Systems and Decision Sciences program at LSU, and grateful for her impact on my life and the community."

Aaron Phipps '09 Bachelor's of General Studies, '11 Master of Analytics 
Project Lead, Halcyon Financial Technology LP

"Sonja Wiley has been the most unselfish faculty member, donating her time to meet with prospective students and parents for LSU Football. Dr. Wiley is a superlative ambassador for LSU and the E. J. Ourso College of Business. Her personality-plus presentations and sincere interest in the families always gave us an advantage in 'selling' LSU. We couldn't have hoped for a better person to represent the Tigers and the spirit of our university!"        

Sam Nader
LSU Football Operations, retired

"Diverse faculty makes a world of difference for students who don't feel like they belong in certain settings. For example, seeing Dr. Wiley in the business college made me feel like I had a place there. She is a wonderful professor who makes every space more inclusive. I'm lucky to have diverse faculty members like Dr. Wiley who make me and other Tigers feel more comfortable at LSU."

Hannah E. Hummel '22 BA Political Science, J.D./D.C.L. Candidate, 2025

"Dr. Wiley's guidance and mentorship in the Pre-Doctoral Scholars Institute profoundly impacted my personal and professional growth. With her support, I developed new areas of technology that contributed to my first patents and gained skills that have allowed me to excel in academia.

Thanks to her influence, I have taught master's and PhD students in engineering at the most innovative colleges and universities worldwide.  

Dr. Wiley's commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education has a lasting impact on all technology arenas. Her legacy of excellence, persistence, and service continues to guide my work today, and I am grateful for her impact on my life and career."

Kristopher Francisco '08 BS Information Systems & Decision Sciences
Co-founder, Evolute Inc.

“During my time in Young Entrepreneur Academy of Baton Rouge, not only did Dr. Wiley’s knowledge give me proper insights into communication and business skills, but her energy and passion gave me inspiration to reach for excellence.”

Josiah Helaire, Sophomore BS Marketing