Continuing a legacy of support for UTC, a $1.1 million gift from the Finley family has created the W. Max Finley Chair for Excellence in American Business to honor the entrepreneurial energy and career of the late W. Max Finley, former Chairman of the RockTenn Corporation.
The W. Max Finley Chair will employ or retain a distinguished faculty member for the UTC College of Business who will focus on instruction and research in the areas of capitalism, capital formation and change, the use of data analytics in business decision making and critical support to entrepreneurism and family-owned businesses.
“Outstanding faculty are key to providing a high quality education and attracting the finest students,” said UTC Chancellor Steven Angle. “The W. Max Finley Endowed Chair will allow us to recruit and retain a world-class thought leader in an emerging area of business.”
The late W. Max Finley, former Chairman of the RockTenn Corporation, dedicated his life to public service. He was an active supporter of the University of Tennessee system and a 1931 graduate of the University of Chattanooga.
The family’s business, Tennessee Paper Mill, was founded in 1917 by Finley’s grandfather and others. Finley joined Tennessee Paper Mill in 1930 as a bookkeeper and became executive vice president in 1950. In 1973, the company merged with Rock City Box Company, creating RockTenn. Finley served as Chairman of the Board for RockTenn.
Finley was a staunch backer of both academics and athletics at UTC. His generosity allowed the athletics program to survive when budgets were limited and he funded a professorship and a variety of scholarships. He received both the University of Chattanooga Distinguished Alumni Award and the Outstanding Service Award of the UTC Alumni Council and was inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame. Finley Stadium, home of the UTC football team, is located on the site of the former RockTenn plant and is named in Finley’s honor.
“Max Finley was a man of few words, who avoided the limelight yet he gave back to Chattanooga because he always said it helped his business be successful,” Cynthia Anderson, Finley’s daughter, said. “His belief in the benefits of capitalism and his love of UTC make this chair so appropriate.”
“This endowment will provide the College of Business the resources needed to achieve excellence in teaching, service and research,” said Dr. Robert Dooley, Dean of the UTC College of Business. “Not only will this strengthen our academic reputation, but it will enrich the academic environment for our students and help provide them with the real-world skills needed to be successful in their careers.”