Event Pictorials
 
Finland's Prime Minister Visits Hancock - 2000
April 29, 2000
Arriving in Hancock for a three day visit, Finland’s Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen attended various activities , beginning with his arrival on Thursday, April 27th, 2000, and ending Saturday, April 29th . The highlight of his visit was his commencement address at Suomi College’s Graduation ceremony.
 
MIArriving Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Lipponen (2nd from R) appeared for a downtown Hancock welcoming. Hancock Mayor Jim Martin introduces the honored guests, which included Klaus Hellberg (R) , a member of Finland’s Parliament. Mayors Jim Martin (Hancock) and Tom Merz (Houghton) present P/M Lipponen and Mr. Hellberg with custom made memento boxes. The Hancock Elementary School Finnish Class, under the tutelage of Maija Stadius (with headband), presents the Prime Minister with a bouquet. The P/M will visit their class on Friday. Prime Minister Lipponen expresses his appreciation for the warm welcome. The reception was held in front of the Community Arts Center.
Events continued on Friday, the main day of the visit, with a press conference in the morning at Suomi College’s Finnish-American Center, as the P/M fielded a variety of questions from the media. Klaus Hellberg, a member of the Finnish Parliament representing the Porvoo district (Hancock’s sister city), has been to Hancock previously. Following the press conference, the P/M taped a segment for WLUC’s “Finland Calling”, with television personality Carl Pellenpaa. The Prime Minister and party then traveled to the Hancock Elementary School to visit the second grade Finnish language class. As they arrive, they are greeted by the Hancock Schools administration.
Prime Minister Lipponen and Klaus Hellberg (seated front row) are welcomed by students. P/M Lipponen displays a certificate given him in honor or his visit. Second grade Finnish language teacher Maija Stadius introduces her class and explains what they will be doing. Many Finnish background grandparents are also in attendance, as the second grade class sings three songs in Finnish.
And as a special treat, the class performs a dance for the honored guest (seated R). Immensely enjoying the occasion, the Prime Minister happily poses with Maija Stadius’ second grade Finnish language class for photos. And then it’s on to Suomi College’s graduation ceremonies, as here, President Robert Ubbelohde (podium left) invites Reverend Bayard Brown-Beach, Chaplain (podium right) to perform the Invocation. Dr. Ubbelohde invites Parliamentarian Klaus Hellberg to address the audience.
The Commencement Address for the Suomi College Class of 2000 was delivered by Finland’s Prime Minister, the Honorable Paavo Lipponen. In honor of his visit, Prime Minister Lipponen has an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree bestowed upon him by Dr. Ubbelohde (L) and Suomi College Board of Trustees Chairman Gloria Jackson (R). A reception was later held at the Finnish -American Center where here, Dr. Lipponen chats with Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson and his wife Mary Lou. The Prime Minister and party left Hancock to return to Finland on Saturday, a day in which no formal activities were planned. A truly momentous occasion, the visit by Finland’s Prime Minister, Dr. Paavo Lipponen, and Parliamentarian Klaus Hellberg, will be remembered for a long time. As a historical note, the then President of Finland, the Honorable Urho Kekkonen, visited Hancock in August of 1976.
             
           
 
[Photos: Roland Burgan r-burgan@charter.net ].
 
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