Lakehead University Chair in Finnish Studies

The Chair in Finnish Studies at Lakehead University differs from traditional academic chairs, which are occupied by one individual for long periods of time, perhaps entire career. The Chair in Finnish Studies has a language components; however the Chair’s position is occupied each year or so by a different professor from a different academic discipline. 

The Chair’s position rotates among various academic units at the University and during his/her tenure at Lakehead; the individual occupying the Chair’s position is associated with appropriate academic unit. He/she has an office in the academic unit and is expected to carry out teaching and research duties, interact with the community on matters related to Finland and Finnish Canadian affairs in the media.

The Chair capital fund pays the full or partial salary of the individual Chair holder; the amount depends on the conditions of leave from the visiting professor’s home university.  Funding for accommodation costs are at subsidized rate, as well as reasonable research funding, return travel costs for the Chair and his/her immediate family are also covered by the Chair Fund as are appropriate library costs and travel costs associated with the Chair’s activities. 

Previous Chairs in Finnish Studies

Dr. Antti Hakinen of the University of Helsinki held the position as Chair of Finnish Studies during the 2010-2011 academic year. He taught two course for the Department of History.  

Dr. Hanna Snellma was the fifth occupant of the Chair in Finnish Studies. She is Professor and Vice-Dean at the University of Helsinki. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oulu, and in January 2008 she will be affiliated with the Helsinki University Collegium for Advanced Studies.  Beginning in August 2007, Dr. Snellman worked with the Department of Anthropology in collaboration with History and Northern Studies, and teaching an interdisciplinary course called Finns: a Northern People between East and West. 

Dr. Annikki Kaivola-Bregenhjj, a retired Professor and Chair of Folkloristics at the University of Turku was the fourth occupant of the Chair in Finnish Studies. She and her husband Carsten Bregenhjj, an archivist at the Ostrobothian Archives of Traditional Culture, co-taught a course entitled "Oral Culture in Finland and Scandinavia."

Dr. Lassi Heininen, from the University of Lapland was the third occupant of the Chair in Finnish Studies. Dr Heininen and his wife Mari and their son Tarmo were at the Lakehead during the winter term 2002. He taught in the Department of Sociology. During his tenure at Lakehead, Dr. Heininen also interacted with a number of local Finnish Community organizations and engaged in research activities associated with his research interests in northern studies. 

Dr. Tatu Leinonen from the University of Oulu was the second holder of the Chair of Finnish Studies. He was associated with Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and taught a course in Mechanical Engineering in the fall term of 2000. He assumed his Chair’s responsibilities on August 14, 2000 and left Thunder Bay December 20, 2000. During his stay Dr. Leinonen also quest lectured in other academic units at the University. 

Dr. Kari Hakapaa from the University of Lapland was the first occupant of the Chair in Finnish Studies. Dr Hakapaa and his wife Liisa were at Lakehead in the winter term of 1998. He taught in the Department of Political Science, she in the Department of Visual Arts.


Fundraising for the Chair in Finnish Studies has been ongoing since 1988. Generous support has been given by the Canadian Suomi Foundation (which has been contributed more than 400,000 to date), the Finnish Education Ministry, Lakehead University and numerous local Finnish organizations. The Capital Fund has raised over 1 million of its goal of 2 million dollars.

If you would like to make contribution to the Chair in Finnish Studies at Lakehead University, please contact:

Dr. Reino Pulkki,
Chair, Chair in Finnish Studies Committee
Lakehead University
Thunder Bay Ontario Canada P7B 5E1 

Or phone (807) 343-8564 

All contributions are tax deductible.