College president and minister, W.A. Finley served as the first President of Corvallis College from 1865 until 1872.
Finley was appointed in 1865 as President by the Methodist Episcopal Church South. During his presidency, Corvallis 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.
Scrapbook of clippings, letters received from family and friends, sermon notes, pamphlets and other memorabilia pertaining to Finley's association with Corvallis College; Pacific Methodist College of Santa Rosa, California; and the Methodist Episcopal Church-South. Noteworthy items include the 1872 commencement program from Corvallis College, the 1864 commencement program from Pacific Methodist College, and notes of Finley's first sermon, delivered in December 1861.