Provost's message regarding John Michael Finn

  • John Michael FinnWilliam & Mary Professor John Michael Finn passed away suddenly in the early hours of Jan. 31.

    Photo by Tim Jones

    John Michael Finn

William & Mary Provosot P. Geoffrey Feiss sent the following message to the College community regarding the passing of Professor John Michael Finn. -- Ed.

The College of William and Mary sadly notes that Professor John Michael Finn passed away suddenly in the early hours of Saturday 31 January.

Professor Finn had been on the Faculty of the College since 1985 arriving after receiving his Ph.D. in 1975 from Catholic University, and after postdoctoral positions at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Louisiana State University. While a physics graduate student, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served for two years as an infantryman with the Fourth Infantry Division, stationed in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where he was awarded two U.S. Army Commendation Medals for meritorious service.

Over the years Mike taught a wide variety of courses in the Physics Department, ranging from introductory undergraduate physics to graduate level courses. He supervised the dissertation research of eight Ph.D.
students, and recently published a graduate-level textbook, "Classical Mechanics". His research was in experimental nuclear physics. He was an author of over 90 scholarly papers on nuclear physics.

His service to College governance included membership in the Educational Policy Committee and the Committee on Graduate Studies, and several Physics Department Committees.

In addition to his academic publications in physics, he published two books of poetry, "Flashback: A Journey in Time" and "Butterfly Girl", both published by 1st Book Library, as well as "Ghost Tracks", a memoir of the Vietnam War, published by Royal Fireworks Press. He was also politically active, most recently serving as the Chair of the York/Poquoson Democratic Party Committee.

Professor Finn is survived by his wife, Kit, five children and two grandchildren.

Viewing and visitation will be at Bucktrout Funeral Home on Sunday, 8 February from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at 3:00 pm on Monday, 9 February at St. Olaf's Catholic Church in Norge, Virginia.

Memorial donations to an education fund for his younger children and grandchildren can be sent to 133 Little John Road, Williamsburg, Virginia.