The graduates walked the stage for the very last time last week at one Northern Michigan university ending over 100 years of education.

The last class of students graduated from Finlandia University on May 8th in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The university announced in March it would be closing its door after more than 100 years of learning. The school, founded in 1896 by Finnish immigrants, cited demographics and an “unbearable debt load" as the reason for the closing.

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The school, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, had more than 600 students during its peak years and recently had less than 400. This year's graduating class was just 100 students.

Stephen Nikander, whose great-grandfather founded what began as Suomi College, addressed the last graduating class of the university located in Hancock, Michigan which was the only private university in the Upper Peninsula.

“This is not a funeral,” he said. “Commencement means beginning. As your post-collegiate lives begin, know that you received a unique valuable learning experience here.”

University President Timothy Pinnow also addressed the Class of 2023 saying,

“It’s time to go do, what Finlandia has always been. Make it a verb, not a noun. So that it will live on in our actions, and in the actions of those who follow us. Thank you for the privilege of being the President of this incredible place, and its even more incredible people.”

Finlandia University alumni and faculty also gathered to say their final goodbye’s to Finlandia University over the weekend with a commendation ceremony to honor its legacy.

There's no word on what will become of the university property.

Photo: Finlandia University Instagram
Photo: Finlandia University Instagram
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