Flagler receives $2.5 million bequest from Molly Wiley

Flagler College President Dr. William T. Abare Jr. announced receipt of a $2.5 million bequest from the estate of Mary L.F. “Molly” Wiley, sister of the college’s founder Lawrence Lewis Jr. The funds were added to the college’s endowment, which was established in 1978 through a gift from Lewis and stands at more than $44.7 million.

Wiley passed away on May 28, 2010, in Richmond, Va. She served as a trustee of Flagler College from May 19, 1995, to May 16, 1997, and she served as a trustee on the board of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust until her 90th birthday in 2010.

Born in St. Augustine, she was named for her great aunt, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler, Henry
M. Flagler’s third wife. She and her older brother, Lewis, spent much of their early years at the Flaglers’ former St. Augustine home, Kirkside, and attended Memorial Presbyterian Church. Their mother was a beneficiary of the Flagler fortune.

In 1968, Molly supported her brother’s decision to establish Flagler College in the former Hotel Ponce de Leon as a tribute to their great uncle and builder of the hotel. This began their longstanding relationship with the college.

Lewis and Wiley established the Lewis-Wiley Scholarship, which was created to bring to the campus students who were academically talented and who had the capacity for leadership. Wiley also provided funds to establish the college’s first theater for drama productions, located in Government House, and she contributed funds for the renovation of the college’s former snack bar, which was renamed Molly’s Place.

“She was an exceedingly generous person who had a genuine interest in the institution.” — Flagler President William T. Abare Jr.

In 1988, Wiley was instrumental in converting her mother’s home, Casa Amarylla at 6 Valencia Street, for college use. Built a century earlier as the home for the Hotel Ponce de Leon’s physician, the building now known as Wiley Hall houses Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar, and faculty in the Business Administration Department.

In 2007, the former Edison Boiler Building and Artists’ Studios were rehabilitated for use as art studios, classrooms, and art faculty offices. Through a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the building was named the Molly Wiley Art Building because Wiley made a significant gift in support of this award-winning project.

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