Finlandia University graduates 81 students during virtual commencement ceremony


HANCOCK, Mich. (WJMN) – The Finlandia University Class of 2020, had a graduation ceremony unlike any other.  On Thursday May 21st at 6 p.m. the 81 students that make up the graduating class were conferred their degrees in a virtual ceremony.

University President, Dr. Philip Johnson began the celebration by welcoming all to the virtual ceremony.

“It is my delight to welcome all of you to Finlandia University’s 2020 special edition commencement ceremony,” said Johnson. “Today, together even if virtually, we celebrate the grand academic achievements of this year’s graduating class.”

President Johnson later introduced this year’s student representative, “ This year’s representative, Nicholas Tobey impressed the academic achievement committee for these very reasons. He embodies Finlandia’s highest aspirations for its graduates, to be academically successful, socially responsible, and community-engaged.” 

Student representative, Nicholas Tobey shared a heartfelt speech with his classmates. “What I found here was something much more valuable than just getting a college degree. I found lifelong friendship, support, incredible experiences, and opportunities. I learned the importance of community, varied experiences, service to others, and leadership,” he said. “ As a class, we helped Finlandia become a better place and Finlandia helped us become better people. Over the course of these past four years, I have seen my fellow students, myself included, transform.”

Commencement speaker Darlene King (’90 Suomi College) said, “To the graduating class of 2020, I salute you from Southeast Michigan. I admire your tenacity and your discipline to make it to your first finish line despite all the obstacles you faced during this uncertain time that will forever be known as COVID-19.” 

King continued to share with graduates her words of wisdom throughout her speech, leaving them with this, “If you have passion about your purpose, then progression, growth, and progress is inevitable. I say to you graduating class of 2020, I give you charge to find your purpose and to be passionate about it so you impact the world from a progressive perspective. That is where we are going and that is where you all are going to take us.” 

For those who missed the virtual commencement, it can be viewed on our YouTube channel, Finlandia University.  

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