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Adam Jeffery and Amanda Moyer are 2011 Finlandia University Co-Valedictorians

Amanda Moyer and Adam JefferyHANCOCK, MI - Adam Jeffery, 33, Lake Linden, is one of two Finlandia University Class of 2011 valedictorians. Amanda Moyer, 21, Livonia is the other.

"Both Adam and Amanda are outstanding students and involved community members," says TyAnn Lindell, executive vice president for student affairs. "Typically, just one valedictorian is selected, but this year we were presented with an impossible decision, so we chose both."

Finlandia University Commencement exercises are this Sunday, May 1, 2:00 p.m., in the Paavo Nurmi Center gymnasium, Hancock. A Baccalaureate worship service is also Sunday, at 10:00 a.m., at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Adam and Amanda graduate this spring with 4.0 GPAs: Adam with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), Amanda with a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in integrated design. They agree that the small classes and friendly, approachable teachers and staff at Finlandia added significant value to their college education. But, in many ways, the two valedictorians are completely different.

Adam admits that he is not at all artistic, while Amanda decided early that a health care career was not for her (both her mother and grandmother pursued health care careers). Adam is a "non-traditional" student, while Amanda is a "traditional" college student. They agree, though, that learning is fun and that their individual fields of interest fascinate them.

Amanda Moyer's creativity takes many forms, including fiber arts, metalwork, clay, and sculpture. She believes art-making holds more meaning when it is done for a larger purpose.

"For me, it's not enough just to create art," Amanda confirms. "Wherever my career takes me, it will have to involve creativity and working with my hands, as well as helping others in some way."

In a few years, Amanda plans to attend graduate school, but for now she's looking for a position in the Detroit or Ann Arbor area. She hopes to work at a small design firm that focuses on sustainability in some way.

In part, Adam Jeffery was inspired to become a nurse by his brother, Aaron, who completed a BSN at Finlandia in 2008. Adam also wants to help others and he likes the advancement and specialization opportunities of a nursing career. In the near term, Adam is seeking a nursing position in the Upper Peninsula. In a few years, he plans to continue his education to become a nurse practitioner.

For 12 years, Adam has been a member of the Lake Linden Volunteer Fire Department and is currently the treasurer. For the Salvation Army, Adam has volunteered for Adventure Corps, mentoring boys ages six to 12, and coached basketball for five and six year olds. During the school year, Adam works part-time for Baccus Dairy Farm, Lake Linden, and in the summer works there full time.

Amanda lived on campus each of her four years at Finlandia, and has been a resident assistant for the past two years. She is active in Finlandia Campus Ministry and the Young Women's Caucus, was on the staff of the student-run Reflection Gallery in the 2009-10 academic year, and appeared in the university play, "Two Plus Two" her freshman year. She worked at Kukkakauppa Flower Shop, Hancock, for 18 months.

Amanda has been involved in Rotaract and she is enthusiastic about community service. She says she especially enjoyed chopping wood for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly!

Amanda graduated from Stevenson High School in 2007. She is the daughter of Stuart and Theresa Moyer, Livonia. She has a younger brother, Adam, who is 17.

Now that she has finished her bachelor's degree, Amanda says she won't miss having to "pack up and move twice a year." She's also looking forward to having more freedom to create as she is inspired, free from deadlines.

Adam is married to Tina; they have three daughters, ages four, six, and 19 months. He is the son of Judy Jeffery of Elkhart, Ind., and the late Jim Jeffery. Adam has five brothers and one sister, and he is one of a set of triplets. He graduated from Copper Country Christian School in 1995.

With school over, for now, Adam is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and children, and fishing.


Photo cutlines: 2011 Finlandia University Co-Valedictorians Adam Jeffery, Lake Linden, and Amanda Moyer, Livonia.