Former Trustee Michael Finley Passes Away

He is described as wonderful board member who will be dearly missed.

August 14, 2023

Eastern Washington University is saddened to report the passing of former Board of Trustee (BOT) member Michael Finley. The news was announced by The Colville Tribes last week. He was 44.

Born and raised in Inchelium, Washington, Finley was an enrolled member and respected leader of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and served as chair of The Colville Tribes as well as president of the Colville Business Council.

Finley was appointed to the BOT in 2014 to complete the term of a former trustee, and he was then reappointed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2015 to a six-year term. In a letter to Gov. Inslee last fall, Finley stepped down from his Eastern post for personal reasons, adding “It’s been an honor serving the university and its community.”

During a Board of Trustee information meeting Monday morning, Aug. 14, members shared their sadness about the news.

“This has just been incredibly shocking and tragic that we’ve lost Michael,” said Jay Manning, BOT chair. “He was an outstanding board member, an outstanding person, outstanding father and husband, and a leader for the Colville Tribes for years,” added Manning, who also worked with Finley when Manning served as the state’s Ecology Director and Finley was on the Tribal Council. “He was a great advocate for the Tribe and a great person to work with as we all experienced during his time on the board.”

Finley earned his BA degree in American Indian studies and history (‘03) and a master’s degree in history (‘05) from Eastern. He received numerous awards for his academic and professional achievements.

The Spokesman-Review also wrote an article about Finley’s passing.