February 27, 2008 — PGA Tour Commissioner Timothy W. Finchem, a 1973 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, will return May 18 to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2008 on the Law School’s Holcombe Green Lawn.
“The graduation speaker is charged with the task of sparking inspiration and confidence in our class,” said Brian Leung, president of the Student Bar Association, who helped choose this year’s speaker. “Mr. Finchem was a very clear choice, as his distinguished career is marked with personal drive and extraordinary success.”
Finchem is the third commissioner of the PGA Tour and has served in that position since 1994. He joined the tour staff as vice president of business affairs in 1987 before becoming deputy commissioner and chief operating officer in 1989.
A former Virginia Beach, Va., resident, Finchem attended the University of Richmond on a debate scholarship and graduated with a B.A. in 1969. After earning his U.Va. law degree and practicing law in Virginia Beach for three years, he served in the White House as deputy advisor to the president in the Office of Economic Affairs in 1978 and 1979. He then served as national staff director for President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign in 1980 and as finance director for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential bid. In the early 1980s, Finchem co-founded the National Marketing and Strategies Group in Washington, D.C. He received the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's Old Tom Morris Award for 2001 and the PGA of America's Distinguished Service Award for 2002.
“Having practiced law immediately after law school, participated in local and national politics, and started his own business, Mr. Finchem has demonstrated the wide breadth of career options our students can pursue upon graduation, and because of this, students will be able to connect with him regardless of which path they’ve chosen,” Leung said. “His career is remarkable, his stories are enthralling, and his message will undoubtedly inspire our eager graduates to seize our careers as we enter the legal profession.”
At the PGA, Finchem has made an effort to involve young people in the game of golf by including them in instructional programs. Since Finchem became commissioner, the total purses for PGA Tour events has more than quadrupled.