Commencement Speakers
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2014 Baccalaureate and Commencement Speakers


Bishop Thomas Skrenes, 2014 Baccalaureate Speaker

Pastor Thomas Skrenes is the third bishop of the Northern Great Lakes Synod. He graduated from the Sun Prairie Public Schools in Wisconsin ('72) and is a 1976 graduate of the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison. "It was during these college years that I felt the Call to ordained ministry," Skrenes said. He attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and did his internship year at Good Shepherd Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. Skrenes was Called to the Upper Peninsula to serve as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, Michigan from 1980 to 1993. In 1992 he became the Assistant to Bishop Dale Skogman.

Reelected to six year terms in 2005 and 2011, Bishop Skrenes is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America (ELCA) Conference of Bishops and served on the ELCA Blue Ribbon Commission on Mission Funding as well as on the Churchwide Board of Lutheran Men in Mission. He has been active in numerous church, community and other volunteer activities and was recognized in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Justice for his work at Badger Boys State, for "promoting the paramount interests of justice and encouraging public service among the future leaders of our state and nation."

Bishop Skrenes was raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. "My Norwegian grandparents immigrated to the Madison, Wisconsin area a century ago," Skrenes said. "They were charter members of Bristol Lutheran Church, where I was baptized on Reformation Day 1954, confirmed in the spring of 1969, and ordained in 1980."

Thomas Skrenes is married to Luanne (Kallungi) Skrenes from Tapiola, Michigan. She has been a registered nurse for three decades and has served on the Finlandia Board of Trustees since 2003. The couple has four sons and two grandsons.


Dr. Kenneth D. Seaton: 2014 Commencement Speaker and Recipient of President's Distinguished Service Award

Finlandia University is honored to have Dr. Kenneth Seaton as its 2014 Commencement speaker.

Dr. Seaton began his service on the Finlandia University Board of Trustees in 1963. After fifty years as a trustee, he announced his retirement. He has guided with strength, wisdom, and wit, and his retirement, though well deserved, is accepted with sadness.

Dr. Seaton has been a long-standing and active member to the larger community. His unwavering devotion to Finlandia and it's students reinforces the university's mission of acacemic excellence, spriitual growth, and service.

During this year's commencement exercises, Dr. Seaton will be the recipient of the President's Distinguished Service Award. He received an honorary doctoral degree from Finlandia in 1996.

Read more about Dr. Ken Seaton here


Eric Sauey ('75): 2014 Alumni Speaker

Eric Sauey graduated from Sumi College in 1975. From there he went on to earn a B.A. from Carthage College then began his career with Seats Incorporated. Mr. Sauey, who joined Finlandia's Board of Trustees in 2012, serves on its business and Finance Committee.

Eric Sauey became President and CEO of Seats Incorporated in 1983, and continues to hold that position. Seats Incoporated, which is based in Wisconsin, designs, manufactures, and markets seating and related accessories for wheeled and tracked vehicles, other than cars.

Eric and his wife, Elizabeth, who reside in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, have been married for more than thirty years and have four children and three grandchildren.


Kelsey Norz: Class of 2014 Student Representative

Kelsey Norz transferred to Finlandia Unviersity during her sophomore year to enroll in its International School of Art & Design. She will be graduating with Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design with a concentration in Graphic Design and a minor in Communication. Kelsey says, "I love how graphic design ties together art and busiess, allowing me to choose a business path while still being an artist." Kelsey, who carries a 3.931 grade point average, also ran cross-country for Finlandia athletics and served on the Reflection Gallery team. Her internship at Calumet Electronics has provided an opportunity to work on an environmental deisgn project within the factory hallway.

Besides the excellent art and design program at Finlandia University, Kelsey chose this school because she wanted to spend a semester studying abroad, and Finlandia offered that opportunity. She spent the fall of 2011 at the University of Arts in Zurich, Switzerland. For her senior capstone project, called "Diploma Works," Kelsey is creating a short film using special software. "I wanted to learn a new medium and software I have never used before, so I decided to make a short film." The film, yet unnamed, will of course have an artistic presentation and also a subliminal message.

Kelsey recogizes her professors, cross-country coach, and the small-campus learning environment as contributors toward her successful college experience. She advises new students to "Take advantage of learning."

Read more about Kelsey here