Distinguished Service Award 2016

Distinguished Service Award - Mike Wiley

GU4U Small IconGU4U Mentoring Program 

A never ending love for Graceland prompted Mike Wiley '83 to join the Alumni Board in January of 2011. That decision has reaped over the top dividends for both the Independence, Missouri native and the University.

Wiley led the charge in the birth of the new GU4U initiative, connecting current students with successful alumni and friends all over the world. In today's highly competitive workplace, the GU4U program is crucial in providing mentorship that helps students better undersatnd the nuances of a chosen career path.

Helping launch the program goes hand in hand with what Mike and his wife, Dana Cochran-Wiley '82, have done the past several summers. They opened their home to five Graceland sudents with internships at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis where Mike works as a Senior Research Fellow. Says Mike, "Mentoring involves establishing a relationship. Helping develop young people is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job."

Speaking of his job, Mike Wiley is among the best of the best in his field. He followed up his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Graceland in 1983 with a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Utah in 1988, which then led to an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow position at Columbia University from 1988-90. He joined Eli Lilly as a senior organic chemist in 1990 and has never looked back.

He's served as leader of the Enzyme Inhibitor Platform Initiative and led research teams that delivered numerous molecules into clinical trials in the therapeutic areas of diabetes, neuroscience, oncology, osteoarthritis and thrombosis. Wiley has co-authored 30 peer-reviewed publications and is co-inventor on 70 U.S. patents (among the top ten in Lilly history).

Mike is best known as an impactful coach and mentor of scientists, both within Lilly and in several partner organizations, helping colleagues improve skills in the design and analysis of experiments, the development of innovative research strategies , timely decision making and effective communications, He's played a significant role in the development of the Lilly China Research and Development Center in Shanghai, established in 2011. These achievements were recently recognized with "The 2016 President's Diversity Award" - the most prestigious award within Lilly Research Laboratories - for contributions to the development of diverse talent within the company.

The Wileys have been exemplary in their financial support of recent Graceland capital campaigns, and Mike is currently serving on the university's presidential search committee.

"I continue to love and support Graceland because of my alignment and commitment to its mission and values. Toward that end, I've appreciated the opportunity I've had over the last few years to couple my passion for helping develop people with my passion for supporting Graceland."

Daughter, June is a proud 2013 Graceland graduate and, along with mom and sister Claire, has enjoyed a front row seat watching her father embody all the virtues of Graceland's Distinguished Service Award.