125 Year Anniversary

Celebrating 125 Years

125 years ago, hardy and hard-working Finnish Lutheran immigrants founded a school in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Their lives were marked by a gritty quality captured in the Finnish term, sisu – grit and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Begun in the late 19th century as Suomi College to prepare young men and women from immigrant families for work in the United States, we are today Finlandia University inspired by our vision to prepare graduates for the 21st century workplace and world.

Finlandia’s roots are not only Finnish. They are Lutheran as well, today belonging to a 26-member Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU) whose shared vision is to graduate men and women who are called and empowered, to serve the neighbor, so that all may flourish.

We hope you take a moment to enjoy this page to learn about our important historic milestones, view upcoming events and help us ensure Finlandia continues to thrive for the next 125 years and beyond.

If there’s a story you think should be included here, please reach out to Archivist Joanna Chopp by mail, phone, or email. Chopp can also be reached for questions regarding the anniversary celebrations: Joanna Chopp, Archivist, Finnish American Historical Archive •601 Quincy St. Hancock, MI 49930 • 906-487-7347 • archive@finlandia.edu

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125 Anniversary In the News

Ryan Bessolo
Ryan Bessolo, 1989-2022: Memorial scholarship created in honor of alum

February 21, 2023

Article originally shared in the Bridge Magazine 2022, Volume 75.

Created by his parents, Laurel and Michael Bessolo, and sister, Amy Kemppainen, Finlandia University alumnus and former nursing clinical instructor Ryan Bessolo (’11) will be remembered for years to come through the formation of an endowed scholarship in his name.

Bessolo, a Calumet High School graduate, chose to continue his education at Finlandia University and attained his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May 2011. He was known for his driven nature, […] Read More

CVC Mentorship Class with Ella Lindgren and Andrea McAleenan
Bridge Feature: Finding Purpose

February 15, 2023

Meaningful relationships created through Seaton Center’s mentorship program

Celebrating its official launch in 2021, the Seaton Center for Vocation & Career strives to accompany the whole student toward a whole life. The center provides a space for students to cultivate their identity and aspirations from a place of strength and self-acceptance by stimulating personal and professional growth through career and vocational education.

Last spring, the Seaton Center expressed this mission, perhaps most evidently through a pilot program called Vocational Mentorship. The course […] Read More

Click to read the Bridge 2022
The Bridge magazine goes interactive

December 20, 2022

75th edition of the Bridge now available online

Finlandia University’s annual donor magazine, the Bridge, is now available online. In a new and exciting format, viewers can interact with this year’s issue like never before.

Across 32 pages of clickable stories, links and highlights, this year’s magazine celebrates Finlandia’s friends and family, including those who contributed to and supported Finlandia University throughout the year.

Highlights of this edition include the following stories:

Leadership: Finlandia University Management Team

Connect with the campus leaders on the […] Read More

FinnU will not enroll students for 2023-2024Learn More
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