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 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.

Learn about important historical milestones below, upcoming events and help us ensure Finlandia continues to thrive for the next 125 years and beyond.

Finlandia Through The Years

What’s missing from this timeline?  If there’s a story you think should be included here, please reach out to Archivist Joanna Chopp by mail, phone, or email:
Joanna Chopp
FAHC Archive
601 Quincy St.
Hancock, MI  49930

Upcoming Events


Juhannus Festival


125th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony
Finnish American Folk School
Festival Ruska


125th Anniversary Celebration Events

Ways to Give

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Where to Give

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125 Anniversary In the News

Growth at Finlandia, largest incoming class in five years

September 14, 2021

This fall, Finlandia University’s overall enrollment grew by six percent with the on-campus student population increasing by nine percent. This full-time-equivalent growth brought 25 more students to campus than in fall 2020, giving Finlandia an enrollment of 430. The fall 2021 incoming class is the largest since 2016 with Finlandia’s International School of Business realizing an all-time high of 137 degree-seeking majors. Nearly 70 percent of Finlandia’s fall 2021 student body is from Michigan and the Upper Great Lakes region […] Read More

President Johnson introduces 125th Anniversary on Finlandia Fridays

September 10, 2021

President Philip Johnson joins Finlandia Fridays this week to introduce the institution’s upcoming 125th Anniversary celebrations planned for December 3, 4 and 5. Johnson also details the significance of the ceremonial event held this week on September 8 in front of Old Main. For our new listeners, Johnson shares the history of Old Main as well. Don’t wait to listen to the full episode below!

For full access to seasons 1-6 of Finlandia Fridays, please visit our Finlandia Podcast Network!

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Finlandia announces 125th Anniversary celebrations

September 09, 2021

HANCOCK, MI – On September 8, 1896, hardy and hard-working Finnish Lutheran immigrants gathered to worship at the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, Michigan to officially dedicate a school in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: the Suomi College and Theological Seminary. J.K. Nikander, president of the Suomi Synod and the college’s first president, preached from the book of Proverbs 8:1, “Does not wisdom cry out, and does not understanding lift up her voice?”  

Founded in the late 19th century, Suomi College prepared […] Read More

Faculty and Staff

Doreen Korpela

Executive Administrative Assistant, President & Advancement