Finnish Council of America

Vision Statement

Furthering the Understanding of the Finnish Culture in America (FUFCA).

Mission Statement

Established in 1983, Finlandia University’s Finnish Council in America strives to preserve, maintain, and promote Finnish cultural heritage through support of the University and the Finnish American Community.


The concept was conceived by Dr. Ralph Jalkanen, then President of Suomi College, in the early 1980s and guided to fruition over many months of careful consideration.  Dr. Jalkanen’s original proposal for the Council stated:

BE IT RESOLVED that a Finnish Council be established of an undetermined number of persons to have as its focus and concern the Finnish heritage programs, curricula and interests of Suomi College, with the right to review, and receive reports of those activities, to make recommendations thereon and to provide or obtain resources to develop its proposals and actions, and to report annually thereon to the Board of Trustees.

The multifaceted purpose of the FCA was listed:

  1. To identify and review the faith and ideals of the founders of the college and early Finnish-American leaders;
  2. To explore the articulation of the programs and purposes of the tradition in relation to the life of the college and the Finnish-American community throughout their history in America;
  1. To examine the values of contemporary Finnish culture and to determine how best to nurture these values  in the process of enculturation;
  2. To maintain the best values of Finnish culture and heritage at Suomi college by establishing a climate and base of support for development.

During the latter part of 1982 and the first six months of 1983, Dr. Jalkanen‘s focus was on recruitment and targeted dissemination of information.  He identified Suomi’s initial charge, “To preserve and enhance its Finnish tradition”, and maintained that the college had established the FCA  “to ensure that the Finnish flavor isn’t lost in the American melting pot.” By July 1983, the FCA was 40 members strong with 22 attending the initial meeting at Suomi College.

Become a Member

Please fill out this application form to submit your application to join the Finnish Council of America today. Applications are accepted year-round and voted on by the current council.

As a member of the Council, your responsibilities are to participate in the council by:

    1. Attending the annual summer meeting in Hancock, Michigan; usually in July
    2. Becoming a participating member of one of the four committees (Academic, Heritage Center, Historical, Outreach)
    3. Supporting the University and Heritage center (financial, time)
    4. Attending area Finnish-American events
    5. Communicating with the council’s executive committee anything that will help promote the university or Heritage Center
Support Finnish American Heritage

The Finnish American Heritage Center has compiled a wish list of items it needs to continue to preserve the Finnish American history. You can view the wish list and make a donation here.


January 17, 2019 – FinnFest USA will be held in Detroit on September 19-22, 2019. FinnFest USA registration will open in February along with registration for a block of sleeping rooms at the Sheraton.  Rooms are limited and may sell out. FinnFest recommends making your reservations early. Festival details will be posted at https://finnfest.usView the complete press release here.

Current Officers

Chair – Dr. John Niska
Vice-Chair – Cheryl A. Rogers
Secretary – Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen
Recording Secretary – Mary Pekkala
FCA History Committee Chair – Candace Koski Janners
Academic Affairs Committee Co-Chairs – Marvin Makinen & Kristiina Vanhala
Outreach Committee Chair – Cheryl Rogers
Heritage Committee Co-Chairs- Steven Holli & D Keith Meyers

Current Members

Steven Aho, Hancock, MI
Evelyn Anderson, Saginaw, MI
Julie Badel, Chicago, IL
Joy Dorvinen, Scottsdale, AZ
David Holli, Ishpeming, MI
Steven E. Holli, Villa Park, IL
Candace Koski Janners, Houghton, MI
Judith Juntunen, Atlantic Mine, MI
Darley Kemppainen, Ishpeming, MI
Dr. John O. Kiltinen, Marquette, MI
Pauline Kiltinen, Marquette, MI
Karen A. Lahti, Ontonagon, MI
Jorma Lankinen, Marquette, MI
John P. Makinen, Kaleva, IL
Marvin Makinen, Chicago, IL
Fern Malila, Ontonagon, MI
D. Keith Meyers, Chassell, MI
Arleen Morrissey, Chassell, MI
Dr. Michael Nakkula, Elkins Park, PA
Rev. Leslie E. Niemi, Lake Havasu City, AZ
Dr. John Niska, Green, MI
Norma R. Nominelli, Hancock, MI
Kristin Ojaniemi, Bruce Crossing, MI
Paul G. Ollila, Painesdale, MI
Mary Pekkala, Hancock, MI
Allan Poikonen, Elizabethtown, KY
Tuula Poikonen, Elizabethtown, KY
Dr. Carl Rahkonen, Indiana, PA
Sharon Franklin Rahkonen, Indiana, PA
Cheryl Rogers, Glendale, AZ
Daniel Sarya, Traverse City, MI
Anne Kemppainen Todia, Marquette, MI
Henrik Työppönen, Espoo, FN
Kristiina Vanhala, Chassell, MI