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FFN Steps in to Preserve Cultural Assets

Finlandia University, founded in 1896 as Suomi College in Hancock, Michigan, has announced its decision of March 2, 2023, to not enroll students for the 2023-2024 academic year. It is the only remaining institution of higher learning in North America founded by Finns.

Upon learning of the decision, the board of Finlandia Foundation National acted to assume responsibility for the many cultural assets of the university. The FFN task force is working with the university to determine the course of action.

“Finlandia University is incredibly pleased that we have been able to partner with Finlandia Foundation National in order to move toward preservation of the entities at Finlandia University that are the most unique part of our history — our Finnish heritage,” Finlandia University President Timothy Pinnow said.

“The Finlandia cultural campus described by President Pinnow is the Smithsonian of Finnish America,” said FFN President Anne-Mari Paster. “This is the essence of why Finlandia Foundation was founded 70 years ago—to preserve the culture and history of our roots in Finland, while making the connection with the current and future generations.”

Anne-Mari Paster,
FFN President

FFN and Finlandia University are collaborating on the highest and best use of the assets, which include the Finnish American Heritage Center, its extensive archives and artifacts, the monthly Finnish American Reporter, the Finnish American Folk School, the Art Gallery, War Museum and North Wind Books store.

On March 14, 2023, FFN President Anne-Mari Paster released a video statement with an update on behalf of the board of trustees (click at right).

“We are just at the beginning of the process, with much work to be done and many questions yet to be answered. We will continue to issue statements as we progress in our intent to assume responsibility for these cultural treasures.”

An important message from Anne-Mari Paster