William Asa Finley
W.A. Finley, ca. 1868.
[OSU Archives P1:2]
W.A. Finley served as the first President of Corvallis College from
1865 until 1872. He was appointed in 1865 as President of the
University's predecessor institution, Corvallis College, by the
Methodist Episcopal Church South and was president at the time the
College was chosen as the agricultural college for Oregon under the
provisions of the 1862 Morrill Act.
Finley resigned in June 1872 due to his wife's health and returned
to Santa Rosa, California where he served as the second president
of Pacific Methodist College (beginning in late 1876) and later as
president of the Santa Rosa Young Ladies College.
Finley was born in 1839 and came west to California from Missouri
in 1852. He attended the University of the Pacific in Santa Clara
for three years and then attended Pacific Methodist College for one
year and received his A.M. degree in 1864. He was awarded an
honorary D.D. degree in 1871 by Wofford College of Spartanburg,
South Carolina. In 1884, Finley returned to Corvallis College to
participate in commencement ceremonies and give the baccalaureate
sermon. He died in 1912 in California.
Sarah and W.A. Finley as bride and groom,
Sarah E. Latimer and William Asa Finley were married in
California and left immediately for Corvallis. [OSU
Archives #224; published in May 1930
Oregon State Monthly, p. 9]
The "Nest in the West," ca.
The Finleys' first home in Corvallis stood on Van
Buren and 5th Streets. The Finleys are standing on
the upper porch with their
son, Ernest, and a niece. On the lower porch are Rev. Lowell,
pastor of the Corvallis Church, and his wife, right; Mr. Osborne
and daughter; and Rosa Jacobs. [OSU Archives #224; published in
June 1930 Oregon State Monthly, p.
Where to Find More Information about W.A. Finley
President's Office Records
William A. Finley
E.T. Reed Papers (Sarah
Board of Trustees Records (RG 33)
Memorabilia Collection - Finley, William A.
OSU Chronological History for the
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