Celebrating The Service And Accomplishments Of Dr. Donald J. Finley Upon His Retirement As President


Adopted by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council
Board of Directors

July 18, 2022

Don Finley Presented With Retirement Gift
Don Finley being presented with retirement gift.
Pictured (LTR): Dennis Treacy, Dr. Tim Sands, Heywood Fralin, Don Finley, Dr. Linwood Rose, Sara Finley, Frank Atkinson

WHEREAS, Dr. Donald J. Finley served with uncommon dedication and distinction as President of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council from 1997 until 2022, and upon completion of his service on June 30, 2022, was the only president to have served the Council to that time, and,

WHEREAS, Dr. Finley’s tenure as President of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council was the culmination of a remarkable life-long career of public service in the Commonwealth of Virginia that included, among other roles, service with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, service on the staff and as staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, service in Governor Charles Robb’s administration as deputy secretary of finance and then as secretary of education, and service as secretary of education during all four years of Governor Gerald Baliles’s administration, as well as service to the nation in the United States Army, and,

WHEREAS, Dr. Finley’s work as President of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council was exceedingly fruitful and contributed to major advances for higher education in the Commonwealth—among them, significant increases in state support of higher education operations, faculty compensation, and student financial aid, including the unprecedented $1 billion investment in the current biennium; historic capital investments on campuses; and landmark legislative measures to enable institutional advances, improve performance, enhance educational and employment opportunities for Virginians, and increase the positive impact on Virginia’s economy, including the Restructuring Act, Top Jobs Act, Workforce Credential Grant program, Tech Talent Investment Program, the G3 initiative, the Innovative Internship Fund, and numerous other instructional and research initiatives, and,

WHEREAS, the Virginia Business Higher Education Council during Dr. Finley’s tenure became the preeminent state-level public-private partnership advocating for higher education in the nation, forging a true partnership among business leaders, college presidents, and governors, legislators, and other officials in both political parties, and demonstrating that diverse people of goodwill still can work together productively for the common good, and,

WHEREAS, the innovative advocacy programs conceived and carried out during Dr. Finley’s tenure, including the successive Grow By Degrees and Growth4VA campaigns, significantly increased public and political support for higher education in Virginia by communicating that Virginia’s top-ranked system of colleges, universities, and community colleges provides the Commonwealth with a competitive advantage in economic development, an exceptionally well-qualified workforce, and a strong catalyst for economic growth and job creation, and,

WHEREAS, generations of young Virginians will enjoy significantly enhanced job and career opportunities and make greater contributions to the larger community because of the profound ways their lives have been enriched by Virginia’s higher education system and the improvements accomplished through Dr. Finley’s service, and,

WHEREAS, Dr. Finley’s outstanding personal qualities, including his impeccable character and integrity, sound judgment, extensive knowledge and experience, affable manner, keen wit, generous spirit, and insistence upon giving credit to others rather than drawing attention to himself, have inspired and elevated all who have had the privilege of working with him, and,

WHEREAS, Dr. Finley, known affectionately to people of every station as “Don,” is an esteemed colleague and treasured friend who will be sorely missed by us all,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of Directors of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council that Dr. Donald J. Finley is commended and thanked for his quarter century of exemplary service to this Council and to the cause of higher education in Virginia, and that the Council conveys its gratitude and hearty best wishes to him, his devoted and accomplished wife Sarah, and his entire family upon the occasion of his retirement.


Growth4VA is a campaign of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council