Bookmark This PageIncrease Font SizeDecrease Font SizeRevert to Default Font Size

Substantial Bequest to Lakehead's Chair in Finnish Studies Announced at FinnForum IX

(May 26, 2010 – Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead is pleased to recognize a significant bequest from the estate of long-time Thunder Bay resident, Ms. Alma Jaakonaho, to Lakehead University’s Chair in Finnish Studies.  This announcement comes in the midst of FinnForum IX, a much anticipated conference which embraces various aspects of the social and political dynamics of the historic and ongoing Finnish presence in the world.

The Chair in Finnish Studies is a rotating position which generally lasts one or two terms.  The individual who occupies this particular position, along with their associated academic unit, is expected to carry out teaching and research duties, and to interact with the community on matters related to Finland and Finnish Canadian affairs. 

“Lakehead University truly appreciates Ms. Jaakonaho's generosity,” says Lee Gould, Lakehead’s Vice-President (University Advancement).  “By making a gift in her Will to the institution, she has created a lasting legacy in support of Lakehead University education and its connection to Finnish Studies.”

The bequest will be put into the permanent capital fund, from which any interest earnings will be used to help support the Chair. “Our initial goal in creating the endowment fund that supports the Chair was to reach $1 million,” says Dr. Reino Pulkki, Chair of the Chair in Finnish Studies Advisory Committee.  “We’ve surpassed that goal, and are pleased that Ms. Jaakonaho’s gift puts us well on our way to reaching our ultimate goal of $2 million.” The fund pays the full or partial salary of the individual Chair holder (amounts depend on the conditions of leave from the visiting professors’ home universities), as well as costs associated with the Chair’s accommodation and research.  It also covers travel expenses for the Chair and members of his or her immediate family.

The FinnForum IX conference takes place at Thunder Bay’s Prince Arthur Hotel from
May 26 – 27, 2010.  It is one of many efforts by the Chair in Finnish Studies Advisory Committee, which works to engage academics, both Canadian and international, as well as the local community, in conversations regarding a wide range of issues on Finland and the Finnish diaspora.  “The FinnForum IX conference is a prime example of the opportunities that can be leveraged through gifts provided to the University,” says Dr. Antti Hakkinen, Lakehead’s current Chair in Finnish Studies.  “Opportunities like this would not be made possible without the support of donors such as Ms. Jaakonaho, and we are pleased to recognize a gift of this magnitude at an event that celebrates a variety of elements related to Finland and its people.”  Dr. Hakkinen is the sixth holder of the Chair in Finnish Studies.  He came to Lakehead from the Department of Social Science History at the University of Helsinki, and holds the position of Chair until May 31, 2010.    

Ms. Jaakonaho was born in 1930 in Haapajärvi, Finland and later lived in the city of Turku.  In 1951 Alma moved to Sweden from which she emigrated to Canada in 1960. Alma worked for Domtar Woodlands (Nipigon) until her retirement in 1995, after which time she settled in Thunder Bay.  In 1996, Alma married Heimo Hanhisalo, who predeceased her in 1997.  Alma is survived by three siblings who live in Finland.  


MEDIA: Lee Gould, Dr. Reino Pulkki, and Dr. Antti Hakkinen are available for media interview.  To arrange interview times, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Last updated May 26, 2010

News RSS Feed Stay Informed - Subscribe to our RSS Feed