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Honors Grads Recognized at Annual Banquet

April 30, 2009

Finlandia LogoHANCOCK, MI - Friday evening, April 17, 2009, students, family members, faculty, and staff gathered at the annual Finlandia University Honors Banquet to recognize student achievement. Finlandia faculty and staff heartily congratulate these students.

The following 2009 graduates were recognized for their academic achievements:

Class of 2009 Valedictorian: The bachelor's degree valedictorian is Liberal Studies-English graduate Lauren R. VanderLind (Calumet, Mich.).

Class of 2008 Summa Cum Laude Honors Graduates: These students earned an overall 3.9-4.0 GPA. The summa cum laude bachelor's degree candidates are Lindsey J. Antilla (Republic), Lisa M. Harden (Baraga), Andrew W. Kirt (Gaylord), Ansley Knoch (Hancock), Frederick W. Knoch (Hancock), Ashley M. Metz (Crystal Falls), Jessica J. Millar (Acton, CA), Marinda P. Tolksdorf (Houghton), and Lauren R. VanderLind (Hancock).

The associate degree summa cum laude candidates are Amber L. Castro (Hancock), Bonnie L. Johnson (Kingsford), Linzy L. Monticello (Rapid River) and Kumiko Takahashi (Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan).

Class of 2008 Magna Cum Laude Honors Graduates. These students earned an overall 3.700-3.899 GPA. Magna cum laude bachelor's degree candidates are Colleen M. Carroll (Calumet), Michael J. Datto (Atlantic Mine), Stacy E. Karvonen (Nisula), Krystel L. Killian (Lake Linden), Tabitha M. Kuopus (Dollar Bay), Courtney E. Loosemore (L'Anse), Casey L. Luke (Iron Mountain), Katelyn A. Maki (L'Anse), Ibolya S. Manderfield (Houghton), Audrey L. Mills (Laurium), Tammy M. Perry (L'Anse), Melissa S. Peterson (Little Lake), Vicki L. Peterson (Pelkie), Melinda S. Seppanen (Atlantic Mine), and Dorianne Vassar (Florence).

The associate degree magna cum laude candidates are Kathryn A. Fredianelli (Hancock), Takaaki Niikura (Chigasaki, Japan), Kazuki Nishiyama (Suginami-ku, Tokyo, Japan), and Christine M. Zimmer (Ontonagon).

Class of 2008 Cum Laude Honors Graduates. These students have earned a 3.50-3.699 overall GPA. Bachelor's degree cum laude candidates are Heidi R. Butler (Hoyt Lakes, Minn.), Jessica I. Coltas (Copper Harbor), Kristy A. Coughlin (Algonac), Amy J. Daavattila (Hancock), Jennifer L. Hamel (Livonia), Keith E. Kangas (Lake Linden), Medea A. Klima (Alpha), Christian B. Kurtti (Houghton), Blake R. Miller (Hancock), Karilyn K. Noll (Green Bay, Wisc.), Selena T. Patolo (Concord, Calif.), Anne C.J. Patrick (Hancock), Jonica R. Ropiak (Crystal Falls), Jordan L. Siegler (Felch), Bobbi M. Teddy (L'Anse), and Jessica L. Voght (Hancock).

The associate degree cum laude candidates are Kara E. Destrampe (Lake Linden), Brittany M. Gagnon (Vulcan), Theresa L. Jarman (Chassell), Karen E. Koljonen (Mohawk), Lisa A. Naber (Houghton), and Johnna D. Taylor (Newberry).

Sampo Society Membership is awarded to graduating students with a cumulative GPA of 3.75-4.0 who have demonstrated leadership, commitment, achievement, initiative, and involvement in the cultural and intellectual life of the campus and community. This year's recipients are Lindsey J. Antilla (Republic), Michael J. Datto (Atlantic Mine), Lisa M. Harden (Baraga), Andrew W. Kirt (Gaylord), Jessica J. Millar (Acton, Calif.), Amber L. Castro (Hancock), and Bonnie L. Johnson (Kingsford).

The Sisu Award is awarded to students who have shown courage, fortitude, and perseverance in overcoming hardship to achieve academic and personal success. This year's recipients are Brittany M. Gagnon (Vulcan), Jacquelyn A. Hakala (Pelkie), and Stacy E. Karvonen (Nisula).

Continuing Finlandia University students received the following scholarships and awards:

The Kenneth and Lois Seaton Scholarship is awarded to a Copper Country area junior/senior student in a bachelor's degree program. This year's recipient is Romana M. Vosecky (South Range).

The Philip and Loret Ruppe Community Service Scholarship is awarded annually by the Ruppe family to commemorate the service of former Congressman Phil Ruppe, a Houghton native, and his late wife, Loret Ruppe, who served as head of the Peace Corps and ambassador to Norway. The scholarship recognizes students for outstanding volunteer efforts and service to the college campus and local community. This year's recipients are Justin W. Buzzo (Ontonagon) and Katrina T. Obikwelu (Jackson).

The Samuel Westerman Scholarship is awarded to nursing students from the Upper Peninsula entering their sophomore year as full-time students. Recipients demonstrate financial need, are active in volunteer service to the university or community, and have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0-3.49. This year's recipients are Roxanne M. McCabe (Laurium) and Donald M. Watson (Houghton).

The Virginia Fund Scholarship is awarded in memory of Mrs. Richard R. Smith to a freshman woman who plans to continue as a student at Finlandia for the 2009-10 academic year. The scholarship is awarded based on academic achievement and overall contribution to campus life. This year's recipient is Agnes S. Pietila (Bruce Crossing).

The David Lauren Jokela Endowed Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a continuing student who has demonstrated leadership, service to others, a caring attitude, and 'sisu.' This year's recipient is Pamela A. Kotila (Dodgeville).

For additional information, please contact Finlandia University Provost Dr. Jeanne Rellahan at 906-487-7512.

Finlandia University, founded in 1896 as Suomi College, is the only private university in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and one of 28 colleges and universities affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is the only university in North America founded by Finnish immigrants. Located in Hancock, Finlandia University is a learning community dedicated to academic excellence, spiritual growth and service. Bachelor and associate degrees are earned by students in two schools and two colleges serving the disciplines of art and design, business, liberal studies, and health sciences. Visit our Web site at