Students in field

Dr. Sarah Kemppainen is 2016 commencement speaker

April 12, 2016

Finlandia University is proud to announce that Dr. Sarah Kemppainen will be the 2016 commencement speaker. Dr. Kemppainen is currently on the Finlandia University Board of Trustees, serves as principal at Graveraet Elementary School in Marquette and assistant principal at Marquette Senior High School.

Portrait of Dr. Sarah KemppainenDr. Kemppainen has a long list of professional accomplishments including several leadership honors from Delta Kappa Gamma Society, the most recent coming in 2014 when she was named Delta Chapter Woman of Distinction, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International: Alpha Iota Michigan. In 2014 she led Finlandia’s Finnish Education Exploratory Team to Helsinki. She’s also been a presenter at conferences throughout the state, in Honolulu and Ottawa.

She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from UW-Milwaukee, Masters of Education in Education Technology from Lesley University and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University.

She is the fourth daughter of the late Reverend Dr. Rudolph Kemppainen and Darley (Anderson) Kemppainen. Her parents met at Finlandia University (then Suomi College), and are both graduates. Rudy went on to attend the Suomi College Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Suomi Synod (1955). He spent his career as a bilingual minister, preaching in both Finnish and English and also served on Finlandia’s Board of Trustees.

Between her college years Dr. Kemppainen worked at Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp in Crystal Falls, Michigan. She taught string orchestra and general music in Fox Point, Wisconsin for 16 years before returning to the Upper Peninsula, where she has been employed as an administrator with the Marquette Area Public School District since 2001.

Passionate about music, she is learning to play the 39-string kantele, Finland’s national instrument. She performed on the kantele, jouhikko and violin at FinnFest 2002 and Finn Grand Fest 2005 and continues to perform with local Finnish musicians expanding her repertoire of Finnish folk music. Sarah loves playing her violin and creating music, downhill skiing, cooking, reading, writing and gatherings at the family cottage.

Graduation day at Finlandia University is Sunday, May 1. Commencement will be at 1:30 p.m. at Paavo Nurmi Center. A full list of graduation day festivities can be found at finlandia.edu/graduation.

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