HANCOCK, MI – Finlandia University announced a partnership with Finlandia Foundation National, Inc. (FFN) on Monday with the goal to preserve key parts of the university’s heritage and history.

Through the partnership, FFN has commissioned a task force that will help preserve Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center, its archives, folk school, art gallery, North Wind Books store and the monthly publication, the Finnish American Reporter.

“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 in a release. “Knowing that the Finnish American Heritage Center and Archives, the Art Gallery, North Wind Books, the Folk School and the Finnish American Reporter have a chance to continue the legacy of Finlandia University and Suomi College gives us all a significant ray of light in the midst of the darkness of losing our beloved University. We cannot express our gratitude to Finlandia Foundation National enough for their generous support.”

The news comes following Finlandia University’s announcement last week that it will not enroll students for the 2023-2024 academic year. Finlandia is the only remaining institution of higher learning in North America founded by Finns.

The non-profit Finlandia Foundation, founded in 1953 to connect, inspire and strengthen the Finnish-American community in the United States. The foundation is based in Pasadena, California.

“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.

Since its opening in 1990, Finlandia University says the Finnish American Heritage Center has become a community focal point and a national center, offering a folk school, art exhibits, lectures, plays, musical programs and community events each year. The Archive at Finlandia’s Finnish American Heritage Center is home to the most extensive collection of Finnish North American materials in the world.

“Our board of directors has unanimously agreed that Finlandia Foundation must make the preservation of these assets a priority, on several levels,” Paster said. “The irreplaceable archives must be maintained at the Heritage Center, which donors entrusted with their treasures. The living culture of the folk school offers unique experiences and the very fine monthly Finnish American Reporter links our community across the country, and even internationally. And the heritage of Finnish America is integral to the identity, livelihood and lifeblood of our community. It is too precious, and too important, and keeping it alive is aligned with the mission of Finlandia Foundation to keep Finland in America.”

More information about Finlandia University’s intentions and next steps is available on the University’s website at www.finlandia.edu. Specific questions not answered on the website can be sent to questions@finlandia.edu.