Photograph by Jamie Betts

Fifty years after receiving his bachelor’s degree, Tim Finchem, R’69, was again feted by his alma mater.

The former PGA Tour commissioner’s professional achievements distinguish him as an alumnus who would make any institution proud, but it’s what President Ronald A. Crutcher described as his “extraordinary leadership and enduring contributions” that led to him receiving an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree, honoris causa, at 2019 Commencement.

Finchem came to UR on a debate scholarship after being recruited by coach Burt Bradley at a summer competition. More than a half-century later, he ties that occasion — and his student experience — to maintaining a connection to Richmond.

“I know the impact it had on me, and I know how valuable that was, so I felt that I owed the university,” Finchem said.

In more than two decades with the PGA, the Spider Athletics Hall of Fame inductee left a significant imprint on the sport of golf but always managed to make time for UR. Finchem served on the board of trustees, quietly and generously supported Richmond, and proudly watched as daughters Carey, ’12 (above), and Stephenie, ’15, followed in his footsteps, providing him with a fresh perspective.

“I got to learn about the enormous growth and change in the university,” Finchem said. “To receive [this] recognition was unique for me and very special for me.”