W. Max Finley Chair for Excellence in American Business

The W. Max Finley Chair was established by a $1.1 million gift from the Finley family in 2015.  UTC's College of Business distinguished faculty will hold this Chair and 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.

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.”