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Jerry Wiley, Vice Dean of Law School, Dies

03/03/97
School's chief administrative officer for 30 years is remembered for his contributions to teaching, scholarship and continuing education.
by James Lytle
Jerry Wiley, vice dean of the Law School, died Friday, Feb. 21, at the USC/Norris Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 63.

Wiley was the chief administrative officer of the Law School for nearly 30 years, with responsibility for financial affairs, personnel, physical plant and fund-raising. In addition, he directed the school's continuing legal education program of institutes and courses.

He was also a professor of law, publishing scholarly works and teaching courses in his area of expertise, torts, with special emphasis on liability issues in health care. His publications included "Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Obstetrical Malpractice," "California Cancer Quack Laws: The Best Is None Too Good," and "Do Appellate Court Tort Decisions Cause Changes in Professional Conduct?"

"Jerry Wiley was one of the most important persons in the history of our institution," said Scott H. Bice, dean of the Law School and a colleague and friend of Wiley's since 1967. "No one else contributed more to so many areas of the school's mission: teaching, scholarship, fund-raising, administration, continuing education and university service. He loved our school and advanced its mission with a passion. We were truly blessed to have his extraordinary talents in the service of our school for the years that he was with us."

Dorothy W. Nelson, judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and dean of the Law School when Wiley was first appointed, said: "He was one of the ablest scholar-administrators I have ever known, and he contributed so much to the development of the USC Law School as a national force. His entire life was dedicated to improving the justice system, the Law School and the university. Most of all, he was a friend whose values and character were exemplary."

Wiley was active in university service. He chaired the employee benefits committee and its subcommittee on health-care benefits and served as chair of the university's budget advisory committee.

President Steven B. Sample praised Wiley's contributions: "Jerry Wiley was an outstanding USC citizen. He chaired many important committees and task forces, and his leadership was instrumental in improving university policy and operations. His work as chair of the fringe-benefits group evaluating our health insurance programs was especially important."

Wiley was born Jan. 6, 1934, in Borger, Texas. After earning a bachelor's degree with distinction at Union College (Lincoln, Neb.) in 1955, he founded Jerry Wiley and Associates - a company providing planning, programming, fund-raising and publicity for professional, service and educational institutions. Clients included the American Medical Association, the California Medical Association, the Los Angeles County Medical Association, Loma Linda University and the city of Lincoln, Neb. He headed the firm until 1968.

Concurrently, from 1957 to 1960, he served as director of public relations at his alma mater, Union College. Meanwhile, he attended the University of Nebraska, where he majored in modern economic and social history and earned an M.A. degree in 1959.

While attending the USC Law School during the mid-1960s, he was a staff member of the Southern California Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif, the national legal honor society. He won the school's Corpus Juris Secundum scholarship by earning the highest grade-point average in his class during his second year of study.

After earning his law degree at USC in 1967, Wiley immediately joined the school's administration and faculty. He rose from lecturer and acting assistant dean in 1967 to full professor and vice dean in 1981.

Wiley was a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and Legion Lex of USC. He was a presidential member of USC Associates.

He was a member of the board of trustees of La Sierra University and a former member of the boards of Loma Linda University, White Memorial Medical Center and the Hewitt Research Foundation. From 1975 to 1982, he was a director of the Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Wiley was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a director of the Southern California Association of Seventh-day Adventists. He served two terms on the association's executive committee (1970-72 and 1984-1990) and was a member of its finance committee (1984-1992).

He is survived by his son, John Kent Wiley, of Seattle, Wash., and his daughter, Julie Elizabeth Wiley, of Pasadena.

Services will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, at the Alhambra Seventh-day Adventist Church, 220 S. Chapel St., in Alhambra.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made to either the Jerry Wiley Scholarship Fund at the USC Law School or the Jerry Wiley Educational Fund at the Alhambra Seventh-day Adventist Church.