The following article was originally published in the Fall 2020 edition of Finlandia University’s Alumni & Friends magazine, the Bridge. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please fill out this form.
“I just wanted to do more, and do it now.”
This was the sentiment shared by Ray Hirvonen in spring of 2018 when he pledged to support Finlandia’s health science programs with a gift of $1,000,000 to the Finlandia Fund. Together with other strong support from Finlandia’s alumni and friends, and in cooperation with a local developer, Finlandia is now preparing to move its health science programs to its new location on Quincy Green, the former Hancock Central High School. Though exterior work remains, interior renovations are in their final phase of completion.
Finlandia acquired the iconic building in 2009 in an agreement with Hancock Public Schools called, Campus and Community: Together for Good. From the beginning, Finlandia has been committed to renovations that preserve the building’s historical character, enhance its community spaces, and create inspiring learning environments. Finlandia plans to deliver its health sciences programs from the newly renovated space by January 2021, in time for spring semester.
“We are very excited about the new educational spaces for our health science programs,” said VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Health Sciences Dr. Fredi de Yampert. “A new cohort model will be implemented, placing learning spaces and faculty offices within designated spaces, allowing for easier access for students and faculty. In addition to the newly upgraded instructional spaces, the building’s 700-seat auditorium and adjacent gymnasium will become available for community use as well as for university events.”
Most of the instructional spaces are nearing completion and de Yampert anticipates the full move to begin as early as November. REMC, Finlandia’s internet and IT service provider, is currently working with FinnU to complete the internet/technology pieces. In addition to the new facility, the College of Health Sciences received a grant from the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation for new equipment.
“The CHS faculty appreciate the generous grant provided to us by the Towsley Foundation,” said de Yampert. “This five-year $220,000 grant supports program enhancements in technology and learning environments.”
Finlandia has been a recipient of several Towsley Grants in the past. The most recent in 2018 funded a third patient simulator. For CHS students, the anticipated move to the new building is a welcomed one.
“The new space will allow us to use more of our simulation equipment,” said nursing student David Carlson. “I am really looking forward to getting into the new building because it will allow us to have more space. The nursing and PTA programs don’t typically mix with the other majors, so having our own building that we can have more room in to work is going to be very useful. I am excited for the things that will be possible for our programs with this new space.”
“I am excited to have classes there because it will be a new environment dedicated to all students who are studying health sciences,” said sophomore nursing student Hillary Hantz. Hantz transferred to FinnU last year after spending two years at Lansing Community College. She enjoyed her experience so much, she convinced her older brother, Nick, and younger sister, Madeline, who are also studying nursing, to transfer to Finlandia this year.
Although the space for health science majors will be bigger, students will still have the small class sizes and connection with the professors they’ve come to know and appreciate.
“I suggested that my brother and sister should join me here at FinnU because of my positive experiences,” said Hantz. “I love that the classes are smaller than other colleges and universities. I truly feel that the professors here want us to succeed and care about their students.”
The College of Health Sciences building will be named in recognition of the Hirvonen family’s lifetime legacy of generosity, leadership, and healthcare careers. An opening for alumni and friends with a naming ceremony and other donor recognitions is planned for 2021.