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Students in field

Ken Seaton completes pledge to Finlandia University

June 21, 2021

Accompanying students as they uncover their vocation, or calling, is at the core of Finlandia University’s vision: to advance expansive learning that best prepares students for the 21st-century workplace and world. As an institution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Finlandia focuses on helping students discern their purpose by asking big questions like, “who am I going to be?” along with “what am I going to do?”. The Seaton Center for Vocation & Career guides students in uncovering answers to these questions, cultivating both meaning and purpose.

The idea for a center for vocation and career was seeded by a $25,000 NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grant from the Council of Independent Colleges. This grant amount was matched by members of the Ken and Lois Seaton family, releasing another $10,000 from NetVUE. This effort by the larger family in 2019 led to a 3-year $150,000 operating support pledge made by Ken Seaton in January 2020. Seaton has informed the University that he is completing his pledge now rather than later. The Seaton Center for Vocation and Career, located in Finlandia’s Nikander Hall, has been named in honor of the family’s lifelong commitment to Finlandia.  

“I am very happy to complete my pledge for the Center for Vocation & Career, which is another expression of Finlandia’s commitment to preparing students for successful careers,” Seaton said. 

Seaton’s pledge to Finlandia’s Center for Vocation & Career continues to afford students the opportunity to receive personalized vocational and career counseling, graduating self-aware and well-rounded individuals who value qualities of personhood as well as professional competencies.   

“Ken Seaton’s generosity certainly makes it possible for us to fulfill this vision of a center that can accompany our students in a holistic educational experience, but more importantly this kind of generosity embodies perfectly the notion of vocation – where what you have to offer meets another’s real need,” Director of the Seaton Center for Vocation & Career, Dr. Rene Johnson said. “Generosity doesn’t always have to be financial, but vocation-minded giving, demonstrated in the Seaton family, is selfless and difference making, and that kind of impulse in the world is priceless.” 

Officially opened in Spring 2021, the Seaton Center for Vocation & Career accompanies the whole student toward a whole life. The Center offers students a unique space to cultivate their identity and aspirations from a place of strength and self-acceptance by providing more opportunities to students in the way of one-on-one, certified strengths coaching, career coaching, courses, workshops, retreats and etiquette training to develop additional workforce skills in real life situations.  The integrated design, content and up-close-and-personal delivery of personal and professional development programming sets the Seaton Center apart.

Born and raised in the Copper Country, Seaton has a deep commitment to service, serving on Finlandia’s Board of Trustees from 1963 to 2013, a length of time unequaled in Finlandia’s history, and is now Board Emeritus. Before her passing, Lois Seaton, Suomi College alumna class of 1950, was active on the Finlandia Alumni Board, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Christian Women’s Board and Finnish Council in America. 

“Finlandia is deeply grateful for this latest expression of support from Ken. He, and his late wife, Lois, have established and continue to build on an extraordinary, a truly stand-alone, legacy of service, leadership, and generosity at Finlandia; one that spans over six decades,“ said President Philip Johnson. “The Seaton Center for Vocation and Career embodies one of Finlandia’s boldest commitments to accompany the whole student toward a whole life. Thank you, Ken and family.”

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