Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. William Edward Finlayson was born on September 1, 1924 in Manatee, Florida. Finlayson served as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1943 through 1946 and served in the Army Reserves from 1946 to 1953. He received his B.S. degree from Morehouse College in 1948 and his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 1953. Finlayson completed his residency at the University of Minnesota in 1958.
After his residency ended, Finlayson established his own private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1958. He continued to practice medicine for nearly the next forty years (from 1958 to 1997). Finlayson also held two fellowships: one at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist in 1963 and the other at the American College of Surgeons in 1964. He also taught at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Medical School.
In 1971, Finlayson founded the first black-owned bank in Milwaukee: North Milwaukee State Bank. He also serves on the board of directors and is the bank’s chairman. In founding the bank, Finlayson’s mission was not profit based. Rather, he intended to add stature and viability to underserved communities by offering full-service banking to individuals and businesses. North Milwaukee State Bank’s mission is to facilitate community development and economic growth, personal and business advancement, home ownership growth, and financial education.
Finlayson is a member of the Milwaukee Medical Society and a house delegate to the Wisconsin Medical Society. He is a past president of the Milwaukee Gynecological Society and serves on the board of directors of the Southeastern Wisconsin Health System Agency. Finlayson is also a former president of his local YMCA board. He is a member of the Urban League and a lifetime member of the NAACP.
Finlayson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2008.