As president of the College of New Jersey, Samuel Finley is known for increasing enrollment and for his popularity as a teacher. Finley was born in 1715 in Armagh County, Ireland. On immigrating to America in 1734, he immediately began to educate himself with the goal of becoming a minister and was ordained in 1740 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. During his seventeen years as pastor of the church of Nottingham, Maryland, he oversaw its educational academy. Early in his career, Finley preached in a contentious manner, very much in keeping with the spirited religious revivals of the Great Awakening, but he later moderated his tone. He received an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow before becoming the fifth president of the College of New Jersey in June 1761, serving in this role until his death in July 1766.