John H. Finley Campus School 
PS/MS 129M

Excellence without Excuses


John H. Finley (1863-1940)

The John H. Finley Campus School opened in 1970 on land owned by City College. The elementary school was named in memory of City College’s third president, John H. Finley. He served from 1903 to 1913.


John Huston Finley was a journalist and educator. At age twenty-nine he became the president of Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois. Finley's former teacher from Johns Hopkins, Woodrow Wilson, invited him to teach politics at Princeton University. In 1903, through the intercession of his Princeton neighbor, former president Grover Cleveland, Finley became president of the City College of New York. Finley then became educational commissioner of New York in 1913, and when the U.S. joined WWI, he silenced all radicalism in New York State schools. Invested with great power, he decided against academic liberty and freedom of expression in every case brought against dissenting teachers.