University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries
University of Georgia Libraries

From Ahmedunggar to Lavonia:
Presidents at the University of Georgia 1785-1997

Robert Finley



Born 1772, Princeton, NJ; Died October 3, 1817, Athens, GA; B.A. College of New Jersey, (1787).

Finley was instrumental in the growth of the Basking Ridge (NJ) Classical School (Brick Academy), serving there from 1795 (as an outgrowth of his ministry at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church) until 1817, when he accepted the Presidency at Franklin College (UGA). He was one of the founders of the American Colonization Society, an organization dedicated to the establishment of a homeland in Africa for freed American slaves.


Finley came to UGA from Basking Ridge, NJ. He conducted a whirlwind tour of the state to garner support. Upon his return to Athens from this trip, he died of fever. He was buried in what is today the Jackson Street Cemetery in Athens.