President Letter, Summer-Fall 2008 Bridge
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The sunflower is so named not only for its appearance, but also for its behavior. As a heliotropic flower,
its blossom faces east each morning as it greets the sunrise, tracking the sun's course throughout the day,
and looking west at sunset. In the morning, the sunflower is once again ready to face the new day.

The course of the sun, and the sunflower, reminds me of the seasonal cycles here on campus. The
Finlandia University campus, on the south-facing slopes of Hancock, can't help but face the sun,
adjusting our work and priorities as the seasons change and our community grows and changes.

This issue of the Bridge finds me both looking back and leaning forward. As you read these pages you'll
look back at April commencement ceremonies and Finlandia's Class of 2008 graduates, spring
international study and travel opportunities, several annual summer events including the Sibelius Festival
and Elderhostel, and an all-class reunion that took place in June. It was a good summer for Finlandia. I
believe you'll enjoy the review.

Now that it's August, however, we're leaning forward as we prepare to welcome this year's students. They
are our most distinguished guests, and we consider it a privilege to have them on campus and in our

In truth, we've been leaning forward for several months now. When the presidential priorities for the
2008-09 academic year were announced this spring, faculty and staff immediately began to identify and
implement many small but significant improvements to student quality of life.

Small but significant means that several important new faculty and staff positions were filled this
summer. Our new colleagues have already proven themselves capable and eager to contribute to the
Finlandia community. Small but significant means we have renovated more space in our residence hall
and made substantial improvements to campus security. And, especially significant for laptop users, the
convenience of campus-wide wireless Internet service now makes it possible for Finlandia students to
access the Internet anywhere on campus, inside or outside.

These small but significant leanings belong to a larger forward movement that is coming together in a
new round of strategic thinking. We have spent the better part of this year, in fact, looking and leaning.
You'll discover additional pieces of this larger movement in future issues of the Bridge.

Where did the summer go? It seemed that summer was reluctant to arrive this year, and yet it's fall
already. I've heard predictions, however, that the warm temperatures may stick around a bit longer. I
don't think I'll hear many complaints about a few extra weeks of sunshine!

Philip Johnson, Ph.D.

Summer-Fall 2008 Bridge