Charles Finney was important because of his evangelistic work, his reforms to the church and his advancement of equal rights. Finney was considered one of the most influential leaders in the Second Great Awakening, a period of mass conversions to Christianity in America that lasted from 1790 to 1840.
Although he never attended college himself, Finney became a professor at Oberlin College in 1833. In 1851, he became the second president of the school. During his presidency, Oberlin became the first college in the United States to admit both African-Americans and women. Finney also advocated for a more equal role for women in the Church, encouraging them to not only speak openly during services but to take leadership positions as well.