Finley Residence Hall to be enhanced through gift

Dec 14, 2022

A supporter of William Peace University (WPU) for nearly 60 years, the A.E. Finley Foundation recently gave a gift that is part of the “22 Courageous Gifts in 2022” giving campaign – a campus-wide fundraising initiative at William Peace University (WPU). Donors, like the A.E. Finley Foundation and Duke Finley, support this initiative by making a courageous commitment that provides our students with the resources they need to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn their passion into purpose. These gifts will shape both the future of our University and our students. To learn more or to donate, visit 22 in 2022.

For nearly 60 years, the Finley family has supported William Peace University.

It began in 1963, when business entrepreneur and philanthropist Albert Earle Finley and his wife, Marian Nottingham Finley, invested in what was then Peace College. They gave $100,000 to create the Marian N. Finley Residence Hall — a gift that today would be valued just shy of $1 million. Their gift was inspirational and rallied others in the community to support buildings and programs at the school. 

Nine years later, A.E. Finley and his wife gave again to add air-conditioning to the building. To ensure the dorm was always provided for, they then established the A.E. Finley Maintenance Fund. Over the years, this fund has provided a new roof, new furniture, skim-coating plaster, wallpaper, network wiring, and a student lounge.

In 2002, in addition to annual funds received from the Finley Maintenance Fund, WPU received a new commitment from the A.E. Finley Foundation for a $1 million gift. The gift was part of the “Dorm Room Redux” campaign, which aided in residence hall restoration across campus.

Alongside this, A.E. Finley served as an Honorary Trustee from 1978 to 1986.

Now, WPU is excited to announce a recent gift from the A.E. Finley Foundation to support renovations to the ​​heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in Finley Residence Hall. This gift will modernize the system to allow students to adjust the temperature in their own rooms. 

“The quality of residential life plays an important role in the search criteria of today’s college-bound students,” said Duke Finley, Board Chairman of the A.E. Finley Foundation. “We are proud to play a small role in helping William Peace attract the most qualified of college applicants.”

Duke wants this gift to continue the legacy of giving that A.E. Finley began. 

He is impressed by how the University has grown and evolved in the last 60 years to provide for its students. “The current success William Peace is experiencing in preparing their students to successfully function in today’s complex global economy is evidence that Mr. Finley’s confidence was well placed all those years ago,” he said. 

Duke hopes the Foundation’s support of the residence hall will make it one of the most desired residential locations on campus in years to come. 

“We are grateful to the A.E. Finley Foundation for their generous gift to help maintain and improve Finley Residence Hall.  Finley Hall’s spacious rooms and lounge spaces on each floor make it an ideal place for our students to live, learn and grow as individuals,” said Frank Rizzo, Vice President for Student Life. “Thanks to the generosity of this gift, many more Pacers will proudly call this residence hall home.”

Kiera Williams ’22 has loved calling Finley her home during both her freshman and senior year. Now, she’s excited to hear that this gift that will improve the residence hall for students.

 As the Student Government and Programming Board President, she heard students express a need for an updated HVAC system. 

“The ability to adjust your room’s temperature really helps enhance the overall quality of life,” she said. “I appreciate how this gift will provide for students and even bolster retention.”

If you are interested in joining the A.E. Finley Foundation in courageously supporting students, please visit

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Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
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