Finnish Council of America


Advocates of Finns faithful to a heritage in a pluralistic society, to explore the ideas and ideals of the founding mothers and fathers, to articulate the progress and programs of the tradition at Finlandia University, to examine the values of contemporary Finnish culture and nurture its highest values, to encourage the maintenance of Finnish culture and heritage at Finlandia University.


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 contact FCA president John Niska at to learn how to join the Finnish Council of America today.

Current Members
Dr. John M. Niska, Chair, Ontonagon, MI
Ms. Mary Pekkala, Vice Chair, Hancock, MI
Dr. Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, Secretary, Indiana, PA
Mr. Steven Aho, Hancock, MI
Mrs. Evelyn Anderson, Saginaw, MI
Ms. Julie Badel, Chicago, IL
Ms. Joy Dorvinen, Scottsdale, AZ
Mr. & Mrs. John & Bridget Durocher, Atlantic Mine, MI
Mr. David Holli, Ishpeming, MI
Mr. Steven E. Holli, Villa Park, IL
Dr. Katriina Hopper, Houghton, MI
Ms. Barbara Jackson, Lake Linden, MI
Ms. Candace Koski Janners, Houghton, MI
Mrs. Judith Juntunen, Atlantic Mine, MI
Mrs. Alice M. Kellogg, Hinckley, IL
Mrs. Darley Kemppainen, Ishpeming, MI
Dr. John O. Kiltinen, Marquette, MI
Mrs. Pauline Kiltinen, Marquette, MI
Mr. George Kinnunen, Calumet, MI
Mr. Philip Kolehmainen, Ontonagon, MI
Mrs. Karen A. Lahti, Ontonagon, MI
Mr. Jorma E. Lankinen, Marquette, MI
Mr. John P. Makinen, Kaleva, IL
Mr. Marvin Makinen, Chicago, IL
Mr. D. Keith Meyers, Chassell, MI
Mrs. Arleen Morrissey, Chassell, MI
Dr. Michael Nakkula, Elkins Park, PA
Rev. Leslie E. Niemi, Lake Havasu City, AZ
Dr. Norma R. Nominelli, Hancock, MI
Mr. Paul G. Ollila, Painesdale, MI
Dr. Carl Rahkonen, Indiana, PA
Mrs. Cheryl A. Rogers, Glendale, AZ
Ms. Muriel G. Ruonavar, Hancock, MI
Ms. Anne Kemppainen Todia, Marquette, MI
Mr. Henrik Työppönen, Espoo, Finland
Ms. Kristiina Vanhala, Chassell, MI
Mr. Philip L. Wirtanen, Bergland, MI
Mrs. Ruth Wisti, Hancock, MI




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