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Finlandia University Commencement is Sunday, May 2

Meisha BrayHANCOCK, MI - Finlandia University is pleased to announce that 2010 Commencement exercises will take place this Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., at the Paavo Nurmi Center, Hancock. Finlandia will award diplomas to 87 bachelor and associate degree candidates.

A Baccalaureate worship service will take place at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 2, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. Suomi College alumnus Marvin Kananen ('66) will deliver the sermon. Kananen recently returned to the U.S. following 12 years serving the ELCA Global Mission in Tanzania.

Degrees conferred to Finlandia's Class of 2010 are: 4 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in Elementary Education, 5 B.A.s in Liberal Studies, 1 B.A. in Liberal Studies: Arts, Culture, and Environment; 5 B.A.s in Liberal Studies: Human Services; 26 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degrees; 11 Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degrees; 14 Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees; 6 Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees in Criminal Justice, 13 A.A.S. degrees in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA); and 2 Associate of General Studies (A.G.S.) degrees.

ELCT Bishop Aloex MalasusaThe Finlandia University Class of 2010 Valedictorian is Meisha Bray, Hancock. Meisha has completed a B.S.N. with a perfect 4.0 GPA. In becoming a nurse, Meisha has followed a family tradition; her grandmother, mother, two maternal aunts, and a sister are also nurses. She graduated from Haslett (Mich.) High School in 1999, and she is the daughter of Meta and Michael Bray. Her mother, Meta, is an assistant professor of nursing at Finlandia. Meisha's sister, Mara, received a BSN from Finlandia in 2008.

Meisha is active in Finlandia's Student Nurses' Organization, she tutors high school students in math and science for Finlandia's Upward Bound program, and for two years she has worked part-time at the Omega House hospice in Houghton. She also completed a bachelor of arts in history at University of Tampa, Florida, and a bachelor of science in anthropology at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich.

Bishop Alex Malasusa will deliver the 2010 Commencement address and receive an honorary doctoral degree. In 2007, Malasusa was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). He also presides over the ELCT Eastern and Coastal Diocese (ECD). Finlandia University honors Bishop Malasusa with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his substantive contributions to the ELCT, as well as the many benefits Finlandia University and its students have enjoyed through an 18-year partnership between the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the ELCA and the ECD.

Malasusa, 49, is the youngest presiding bishop in ELCT history, and he represents a rising generation of African Lutheran leadership. The ELCT is the fastest growing Lutheran church in the world.

Marvin KananenAlumnus speaker Marvin Kananen attended Suomi College from 1964 to 1966, graduating with an associate degree in Liberal Arts. Kananen was born in Laurium, and he is the son of the Nelma Kangas Kananen, who attended Suomi College in the 1930s, and the late John Kananen. Two of Kananen's aunts, Winnie and Eva Kangas, also attended Suomi College.

Kananen attended Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., where he completed a bachelor's degree in education in 1968. After teaching public school for several years in Washington and the Bark River-Harris schools in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, in 1975 Marvin completed a master of arts degree in English at Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.

Kananen taught English at Trinity Lutheran College, Everett, Wash., until 1998 when he and his wife, Jean, began work with the ELCA Global Mission. For the past 12 years, they served at the Maasae Girls Lutheran Secondary School, Monduli, Tanzania. Kananen retired from his teaching career this January and he and his wife are in the process of returning to their home in Bellevue, Wash.

For additional information, please contact the office of Finlandia University Interim Provost Cameron Williams at 906-487-7512.

Photo cutlines:  Meisha Bray; Bishop Alex Malasusa; Marvin Kananen