Donor, Mentor, Pioneer

Since his involvement with the College of Charleston began in the 1980s, William “Bill” Finn — a School of Business Board of Governors member, donor and esteemed mentor to students, faculty and staff — has been a School of Business linchpin. 

While Finn served as chair of the School of Business Board of Advisors (now the Board of Governors), the former AstenJohnson CEO bore witness to the construction of a new School of Business building in 2005 and was heavily involved in the hiring of Alan T. Shao, current dean of the School of Business. 

Finn has always focused on helping students reach their full potential through personalized coaching — none more so than those in the Schottland Scholars program. 

Finn (bottom row, second from the right) with Susan and Peter Schottland, and the class of ’19 Schottland scholars

Established through an investment from Peter and Susan Schottland and Peter’s father, Stanley, the Schottland Scholars program connects highly motivated students to business and organizational leaders, including opportunities to build relationships with business leaders through professional and networking events throughout the year. 

Impressed by the confidence Schottland Scholars, Finn has enhanced the overall Schottland Scholar experience. He has regularly contributed to the endowment, including a gift that permanently named one of the 10 Schottland Scholars in honor of Carrie Messal, the program’s founding director. He has also taken part in the development of the program’s curriculum, coordination of site visits and connecting scholars with his C-suite–level professional contacts.  

While every student in the program is assigned a mentor, Finn usually serves as a second, supporting, mentor.  “I find that a lot of the experiences I’ve had in my business career are meaningful to them,” he says. 

“We know so many people who could be helpful to these students,” adds Finn. “It’s rare that I call on someone to mentor a student, and they do not agree.” 

A true donor in every sense of the word, Finn fully supports giving financially to the College in multiple ways, such as to the School of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund, and including the College of Charleston in his estate plans. His generous support has led to enhancements in technology as well as faculty enrichment opportunities, such as research grants. For Finn, however, providing his time and a listening ear to students is how he truly adds value to the student experience. 

“It just makes sense,” says Finn. “Life experiences are invaluable for students, and that is easy to give.”  – Erika LeGendre