Skip to main content

Vivian Finlay ‘72

I graduated from UNC in 1972.  My honors thesis and much of the focus of my Sociology honors’ classes was on India.  I was raised in New Delhi, India from 11-18 years old with a British Father and an American Mother, and my Father worked for a British owned oil company.  In the American International School I attended I had little opportunity to learn about rural India.  My thesis was about the Status and Roles of women in village India.  My main advisor had lived in a village and I went back to that village, with an interpreter, and did some research.  I also visited another village to conduct the same research.  Both were within driving distances of New Delhi (several hours).  I spent additional time in a much more remote village where I did not do formal research, but learned a great deal.  I was very interested in Cultural Anthropology, but UNC did not have a major in that subject.  So, I studied Sociology and many Anthropology courses that were cross listed with Sociology.

My parents retired from work in India to England in 1978.  I have visited family friends in India several times over the years since my parents left there.  However, I settled in the USA, got my graduate degree in Educational Counseling at the University of Virginia in 1976, moved to Oregon, later to northern California, and since 1983 have been in Alaska.  I have been working in mental health rather than in the educational system, and obtained my first license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1980 in California.  In 1993 licensing became available in Alaska, and I received the MFT license then.  I had a private practice for about 30 years working with clients of all ages, and eventually I specialized in working with couples, and grief issues. I also worked in various other settings and taught at the University of Alaska as an adjunct instructor on various campuses – Sociology, Psychology, Human Services. I have done, and continue to do a great deal of volunteer work including teaching workshops and doing training for Hospice organizations, and other groups.

I am currently supervising a “new” psychotherapists, recent graduates, who need their work supervised to obtain their licenses.  Otherwise I am now mostly retired.  6 years ago, I moved to a small community in another part of Alaska about 300 miles from where I lived since 1983, and decided not to open a new private practice business.

I am married, and my husband and I have 7 children, 24 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren dispersed around the USA, with only 1 child and 2 grandchildren in Alaska.  I have family in England and Ireland who I try to visit regularly.

455 Elderberry Drive,


Alaska, 99603

Submitted December 2015