2018 Graduation at Finlandia University

Latest Updates on Graduation Day 2018

Graduation at Finlandia University

2018 Finlandia University Graduation

2018 Graduation Day Schedule

  • Sunday, April 29, 2018
  • Baccalaureate: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Chapel of St. Matthew
  • Graduation Lunch: 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Finlandia Hall Café
  • Commencement: 1:30 p.m. at the Paavo Nurmi Gym


Shelby Winter Finlandia University SpeakerGraduates will assemble in the strength and conditioning room located in the lower level of the gym. Please arrive at 12:45 to begin lining up.

Depending on the number of graduates and speakers, the ceremony lasts between one and a half to two hours. Graduates will be presented with a diploma cover during the ceremony. Individual diplomas will be mailed at a later time to the address provided on the application for graduation. Graduates who do not participate in the ceremony will be mailed their diplomas. Diploma covers will not be mailed but can be picked up at the registrar’s office.

There is no limit on the number of guests you may invite. Tickets are not required. Seating is on a first-come, first serve basis. There is floor seating with folding chairs and bleacher seating. Those who have guests requiring special reserved seating (limited mobility or wheelchair access) should notify ushers, who will be at commencement rehearsal, or contact Administrative Coordinator for Academic and Student Affairs Laura Shawhan (contact information posted at the bottom of this page). A maximum of four seats may be reserved for each graduate.

Most commencement parking is located in the lot in front of Finlandia Hall and the south entrance of the Paavo Nurmi Athletic Center, which is accessed via Scott Street. Those requiring barrier-free access should go to the west entrance at Paavo Nurmi parking area behind Finlandia Hall. This is accessed via Scott Street, top of the hill, turn right at Elm Street. There is a barrier-free entrance and parking at the west end of the Paavo Nurmi Athletic Center.


Marilyn Clark currently runs MTEC SmartZone, a business incubator/accelerator in Houghton. This state-funded organization helps people with a business idea assess whether they can make money at their endeavor and create a job for themselves or others. During her seven years leading this organization, she has helped create programs that help companies grow and prosper in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

Marilyn is a Chassell native with a Bachelor’s Degree in Math and a Master’s Degree in Business from Michigan Technological University. Her career has taken her from Jamestown, New York to Columbus, Indiana to Crathorne, North Yorkshire England. She worked for Cummins Engine Company for 20 years before returning to the Copper Country in 2005. Upon returning, she worked for a startup in the SmartZone and taught in Finlandia University’s International School of Business before accepting the Chief Executive Officer position at SmartZone in 2012.


The 2018 Student Representative is nursing major Melissa Helppi. Melissa’s list of accomplishments at the university is long, including earning a 3.93 grade point average, being a member of Finlandia’s inaugural chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society for first-year students, serving as President of the Finlandia University Student Nurses Association and being a health sciences tutor with TRIO Student Support Services.

Melissa was born in Germany and lived in many places as a child while her father served in the Air Force. Although she lived in several locations, she always considered the Copper Country to be home. After graduating high school she moved back to the area. She started at Finlandia the same year she delivered her fourth child. She is thankful for the support of family and friends as she earned her degree. Immediately upon graduation, she will be traveling to Africa for three weeks as part of the Service Learning in Tanzania experience. When she returns home, she will begin her nursing career at Aspirus Keweenaw in Laurium, Michigan, working in the Medical-Surgical Unit.

Alumni Speaker – Kathleen Harmon, MS, RN, CENP

Kathleen Harmon is a 1986 graduate of Finlandia University’s nursing program. Since then, she has led an incredible nursing career that has ranged from 15 years working in a metro Detroit emergency department to nearly a decade working in nursing analytics. She currently serves as the Chief Nurse Executive of Sphere3, a consulting firm that utilizes patient data analytics to provide insights into caregiver workload management, patient satisfaction and patient safety. In total she has 32 years of experience in the nursing industry that includes a broad clinical background. She is known for her deep passion for ensuring technology supports best practice workflow and workflow enables the care providers to be at their best. Her expertise with workflow automation, predictive modeling, and point of care analytics is a game changer as health systems look to future proof their clinical communication platforms.


A complementary Graduation Lunch will be served at the Finlandia Hall Cafe from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on graduation day for graduates, their guests, and Finlandia faculty. We hope you will attend.


Finlandia University honors its graduating students with this religious farewell service. The Baccalaureate ceremony lasts approximately one hour. The ceremony is open to the public, with no limit on the number of guests graduates may invite. Tickets are not required. Baccalaureate will be held in the Chapel of Saint Matthew.  There is no need to wear your ceremony attire. Please come in your Sunday best!


Commencement rehearsal will take place on Friday, April 27 at 11 a.m. in the Paavo Nurmi Gym. You will find your seat and receive other instructions at the rehearsal. A run through of the ceremony will take place. Please attend if at all possible. If you are unable to attend rehearsal and plan to participate in commencement, please contact Administrative Coordinator for Academic and Student Affairs Laura Shawhan for information (contact information below).


All graduates participating in the Commencement ceremony are required to wear caps and gowns, with the exception of ROTC graduates, who may wear their military uniforms. There is no cost to the student for his or her cap and gown, unless the order is placed past the deadline. Students must be measured for their caps and gowns at North Wind Books. Contact Alana Nolan at North Wind Books for further information. Honors regalia and tassels should be worn with the cap and gown. No other objects, streamers, sashes, neckties, etc. may be attached to or worn outside of the cap and gown and only the mortarboard cap may be worn. Please note that the gowns are semi-transparent and this should be taken into consideration when determining what to wear under the gown.


Graduation honors are determined by a student’s cumulative GPA at Finlandia University. To achieve graduation honors at the associate degree level, students must have earned a minimum of 30 credits at Finlandia University. To achieve graduation honors at the baccalaureate degree level, students must have earned a minimum of 60 credits at Finlandia University.



For those graduating spring or summer of 2018, please be aware that you are required to complete and submit a graduation application. This application will be audited to verify whether or not you have completed all requirements for graduation. These should be returned as soon as possible. Students that do not submit this in advance of the January before their last semester may risk not having all required classes for graduation.

Your advisor can help you fill out the form and work to have the information as accurate as possible prior to you submitting it. The graduation application has been emailed to your advisors or you can download it from the link below.

If there are any questions regarding the process, contact the registrar’s office.


Students who successfully complete their degree requirements by the end of the spring semester, and have applied for graduation, are generally eligible to participate in the spring baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies. A student must achieve, by mid-term of the semester, a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above, and no incomplete (I) grades may appear on a student’s transcript after March 30th.

An Associate degree student who has six or less credits to complete, and has registered to complete those credits during the summer session immediately following the ceremony, may participate in the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies.

Bachelor degree students who have two remaining program-required courses at the 300/400 level, and are registered to complete those courses during the summer session immediately following spring commencement are eligible to participate in the spring Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies.


Typically completed prior to graduation, the purpose of a degree audit is to confirm that all degree program requirements have been fulfilled. After students register for their final semester at Finlandia University, they should apply for both graduation and a degree audit.

To track progress fulfilling degree program requirements, academic progress sheets for all programs are available at the registrar’s office and in the Finlandia University Catalog. For each academic program, the progress sheet lists course requirements on one side and suggested course sequence on the reverse. Each academic year, progress sheets are updated to reflect any program changes.

Students follow the progress sheet applicable to their year of entry into Finlandia University. Alternately, students may choose to follow program and degree requirements on a subsequent progress sheet. However, students may not combine requirements from progress sheets of different academic years. Students who interrupt their schooling at Finlandia University for more than one academic year forfeit the option to follow the Academic Progress Sheet of their original year of entry.


To be granted a second bachelor’s degree from Finlandia University in a different program, program requirements completed for the second bachelor’s degree must total at least 36 credits beyond the credits completed for the first bachelor’s degree. To be granted a second associate degree in a different program, program requirements completed for the second associate degree must total at least 24 credits beyond the credits completed for the first associate degree.


Alana NolanManager, North Wind BooksFinlandia Universityalana.nolan@finlandia.edu906-487-7309
Jason SullivanUniversity RegistrarFinlandia Universityjason.sullivan@finlandia.edu906-487-7272
Tracy HendersonAssistant RegistrarFinlandia Universitytracy.henderson@finlandia.edu906-487-7396

Archived Information


2016 Graduation

2015 Graduation

2014 Graduation


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