Students in field

Finlandia Alumni Board successfully completes $45,000 Old Main GoFundMe

October 23, 2017

Money raised to complete preservation work on FinnU’s original building

The Finlandia Alumni Board came together in the fall of 2016 for their annual on-campus meeting and set a goal: Help with restoration efforts of Old Main, the school’s iconic, original sandstone building on Quincy Street.

Old Main at Finlandia University

Work began on replacing the roof this week at Old Main, Finlandia’s iconic sandstone building.

That effort would include a new roof on the south side of the building, maintenance on the building’s parking lot, landscaping around the building and more. After a seven-month effort on GoFundMe, the Finlandia Alumni Board has reached its goal of $45,000. A total of 45 donors came together to make this possible.

“This successful effort is a testament to the collaboration of the Finlandia Alumni Board and the university working together for a common goal,” said Steve Szuber, who served as co-president during the 2016-17 academic year. “Saving the roof is the first step in preserving this iconic building which requires further creative initiatives to continue with restoration project.”

Work began at Old Main in early October and this week work on the roof began. It’s expected that all of this work will be completed during the fall of 2017, with some portions continued in the spring.

Crowdsourcing the funds was a first for alumni board

When the Finlandia Alumni Board started their planning for this, they were immediately attracted to the idea of funding the restoration efforts through GoFundMe. The campaign launched with the following description:

On May 30, 1899, the initial cornerstone was laid in the foundation of Old Main, marking the start of construction on the first academic building of Suomi College, now Finlandia University . Over a century later, Old Main still stands proud, a testimony to the endurance and fortitude of not only Finlandia University, but of the Finnish immigrants that built the school from nothing, in spite of all odds and opposition.

While time may have seen Finlandia flourish, the timbers and tiles of Old Main have endured the fierce winters of the Keweenaw for over a hundred years, and the seasons have left their mark. Today, Old Main is in need of a new roof, and she needs your help.

Help preserve one of the most historic buildings in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, so that Old Main can live on as a symbol of Finlandia’s dedication to learning for another hundred years to come. This event is being championed by the Finlandia Alumni Board at Finlandia University.

See the entire campaign at gofundme.com/oldmain. Photos from work being done are available below courtesy of FinnU sophomore Denia Bent.

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