September 12, 2011
40th Anniversary Alumni Spotlight: Gary D. Finch ’89; Assemblyman, Entrepreneur, Civic Leader
Gary D. Finch ‘89, graduated from Central New York Center with a B.S. in Public Administration and Political Theory.
Elected to the New York State Assembly on November 2, 1999, he is also a successful small-business owner and holds an extensive record of community service. The Auburn native represents the 1,611-square-mile 123rd Assembly District, which encompasses parts of Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland and Tioga counties.
Finch is assigned to the assembly committees on agriculture, economic development, job creation, commerce and industry, energy and environmental conservation. Finch previously served as ranking minority member of the assembly’s corrections committee and continues to be a vocal advocate on behalf of correction officers, their families and correction issues.
Finch was first elected to public office in 1979 as a Village of Aurora trustee, and in 1982, he was elected mayor. During his eight years as mayor, he was successful in negotiating financial support from a local tax-exempt higher-education institution and planned a financially solvent, long-term strategy for the village. He was also instrumental in planning the village's water storage and delivery system and upgrading the village's streets.
Additionally, since 1970, Finch has been owner and chief operating officer of Brew-Finch Funeral Homes, Inc., a funeral home company operating in northern, central and southern New York state.
Finch's commitment to higher education is evidenced by his service to Cayuga Community College. He has served the college as chair of the board of trustees and as a member of the negotiating, scholarship, presidential search and strategic planning committees. He has served on the assembly’s education committee and continues to be a strong and knowledgeable advocate on educational issues.
Finch is an active member of his community. He has served as Cayuga County United Way's president and campaign chair and also on its executive and finance committees.
He is a past member of Leadership Cayuga's Curriculum Program Committee, chair of the past membership committee for Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Rotary Club, a charter member, past president and big brother for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, past board member of Hospice of the Finger Lakes and a former member of the Schweinfurth Art Center finance committee. Additionally, Finch is a member of the American Irish Legislators Society and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
In recognition of Finch's commitment to his community, he has been honored as an Outstanding Young Man in New York State for his contributions in public service by the New York Jaycees. Recently, he was named Assemblyman of the Year by the NYS Association of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He also received a perfect score of 100 on state farming issues from the New York Farm Bureau and was presented with the Circle of Friends Award. Finch served on the Assembly’s agriculture committee and continues to work with the district’s number one industry in addressing issues facing the farming community.
In addition to SUNY Empire State College, he attended Cayuga Community College and was awarded a degree from the Simmons School of Mortuary Science in Syracuse.
He and his wife, Marcia Herrling Finch, reside in the town of Springport and have two children, Amy and Gregory.
In honor of the college's 40th anniversary year, we will spotlight alumni from across the college, celebrating the range of academic, career and personal paths; geographic locations; modes of learning; and life circumstances and experiences supported by a SUNY Empire State College degree program.