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Finlandia University
Former name
The Suomi College and Theological Seminary
Dominus Illuminatio Mea
Motto in English
The Lord is my Light
EstablishedSeptember 8, 1896; 125 years ago (1896-09-08)
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
Religious affiliation
EndowmentUS$5,786,875 (2020)[1]
BudgetUS$13,106,234 (2020)[1]
PresidentPhilip Johnson
Students430 (Fall 2021)[2]
601 Quincy Street
, , ,
United States

47°07′39″N 88°35′22″W / 47.1276°N 88.5894°W / 47.1276; -88.5894Coordinates: 47°07′39″N 88°35′22″W / 47.1276°N 88.5894°W / 47.1276; -88.5894
CampusRural, 24 acres (9.7 ha)
Colors    Finlandia Blue, Anthracite Gray and White[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III
MascotRiku F. Lion
Finlandia University
Location in Michigan
Finlandia University
Finlandia University (the United States)

Finlandia University is a private Lutheran university in Hancock, Michigan. It is the only private university in the Upper Peninsula. Founded in 1896 as The Suomi College and Theological Seminary, it is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.[4][5]


Old Main
Old Main, between 1900 and 1906
Old Main, between 1900 and 1906
Finlandia Hall
Finlandia Hall

Suomi College was founded on September 8, 1896 by J. K. Nikander (b. 1855, Hämeenlinna, Finland, d. 1919).[5][6] During the 1880s, large numbers of Finns immigrated to Hancock, Michigan to labor in the copper and lumber industries. As a mission pastor of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America headquartered in Hancock, Nikander observed that Swedish and Finnish immigrants along the Delaware River did not train new ministers, and he feared a loss of Finnish identity. The college's role was to preserve Finnish culture, train Lutheran ministers and teach English. During the 1920s, Suomi College became a liberal arts college and in 1958, the seminary separated from the college. On July 1, 2000, Suomi College changed its name to Finlandia University.[6][7]

The cornerstone of Old Main, the first building erected at Suomi College, was laid on May 30, 1898. Jacobsville sandstone, quarried at the Portage Entry of the Keweenaw waterway, was brought by barge, cut, and used to construct the Old Main. Dedicated on January 21, 1900, it contained a dormitory, kitchen, laundry, classrooms, offices, library, chapel, and lounge. The burgeoning college quickly outgrew this building. In 1901 a frame structure, housing a gym, meeting hall, and music center, was erected on an adjacent lot. The frame building was demolished when Nikander Hall, named for Suomi's founder, was constructed in 1939. The hall was designed by the architectural firm of Eliel Saarinen and J. Robert F. Swanson. In addition to Old Main, the present day main campus consists of Nikander Hall, Mannerheim Hall, Wargelin Hall, Finlandia Hall, the Paavo Nurmi Center for Physical Education, the Kivi House, Hoover Center, the Finnish American Heritage Center, the Chapel of St. Matthew, and the Jutila Center.

Finlandia University has been a university of the Lutheran church since its inception. In 1988, the University became affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The curriculum, campus events, and the community explore the value of faith, vocation, and service. Finlandia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association for Colleges and Schools (NCA-HLC). In 1996, the university transitioned from a two-year college to a four-year university.[citation needed]


Finlandia University is located in Hancock, Michigan. The town is located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Keweenaw Peninsula stretches north into Lake Superior.

Finnish American Heritage Center

Also part of Finlandia University, and serving both the campus and the community, is the Finnish American Heritage Center which hosts numerous university and community events and houses a museum, art gallery, and theater. The Finnish American Historical Archives are located here.

North Wind Books
North Wind Books

The Lions Den of North Wind Books offers an extensive collection of quality adult and children's fiction and nonfiction publications, and textbooks. It also sells Finnish functional design items for the home, and university logo merchandise.


There are 10 NCAA Division III athletic sports at Finlandia. Women's athletics include: basketball, ice hockey, soccer, softball and volleyball. Men's athletics include baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey and soccer. Finlandia University also participates in ACHA D2 Men's Ice Hockey and Co-ed Varsity Esports.

Conference Affiliation:

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of Finlandia University include:


  1. ^ a b "Finlandia University Reported Data: Finance 2019-2020". National Center for Education Statistics - Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  2. ^ "Finlandia University reports enrollment growth". WLUC-TV 6. September 14, 2021. Archived from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  3. ^ "Style Guide - Finlandia". Finlandia University. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Our Finnish Founders - History and Heritage, Finlandia University. Accessed 2009-07-29.
  5. ^ a b Biographical Record: Houghton, Baraga and Marquette Counties. Chicago, IL: Biographical Publishing Company. 1903. p. 16. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b Holmio, Armas Kustaa Ensio (2001). History of the Finns in Michigan. Wayne State University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8143-2974-0. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Library History, Mission, and Vision". Findlandia University. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.