William A. Finley
Born in Missouri in 1839, Finley moved to California in 1852. He went to University of the Pacific in Santa Clara for three years and Pacific Methodist College for one year, where he received the degree of Artium Magister. Thereafter, he received the honorary Doctor of Divinity from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1871.
In 1865, Finley became the first president of Corvallis College by the appointment of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His presidency there lasted until he resigned in June 1872 because of the health problems of his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Latimer. After Finley moved back to Santa Rosa, California with his wife, he became the second president of Pacific Methodist College in 1876; later, he became a president of Santa Rosa Young Ladies College.
Finley's contribution to Oregon State University was significant in that during his presidency, Corvallis College reached the status of an independent institution of higher education rather than that of a high school for pioneers.