Finlandia University personnel including Rene Johnson, at far left, and President Philip Johnson, third from right, celebrate the launch of the Seaton Center, named in honor of the Seaton family, including Ken Seaton, center. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Garrett Neese)

HANCOCK — Finlandia University officially launched the new Seaton Center for Vocation and Career Thursday, with the center’s namesakes on hand to celebrate.

The center was established last year with support from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NETVUE), as well as donations from people including Hancock resident Ken Seaton and his family.

“We have had career counseling happening at Finlandia before this center, but now there is a place where students can come in, and we can help them work even beyond some of the work that they’re doing with their advisors or TRIO (Student Support Services) for some help,” said Rene Johnson, director of servant leadership at Finlandia.

The center includes a variety of vocational discernment and career preparation services, including individual coaching, targeted group exercises, focused workshops and other events. It also serves as an information hub for internships, study abroad programs and other opportunities. The center also hosts University Studies classes, designed to not only help students succeed at the university, but transition into post-collegiate careers.

Finlandia stresses not just careers, but the sense of a vocation, where people develop skills to contribute to the needs of their community and the world, Johnson said.

“What I often tell students when they come to my office is you’re going to graduate with a degree, and you get grades through courses, but what you don’t get graded on is the development of your personhood,” she said. “That is equally important. It’s part of your curriculum.”

Johnson thanked Seaton for instilling a culture of generosity and public service in his family.

“That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to instill in our students with this idea of vocation — that your purposeful kind of living is in your job, but it’s in your home and community as well,” she said.

Seaton has been part of the university community for more than 50 years. His wife graduated from the university, while his father-in-law was a former president. His nephews also worked for the university.

“They do a great job, and I was willing to do whatever I could to help them move forward,” he said.

Seaton said the facility is part of an upswing in the university’s quality, pointing to the increased enrollment this fall.

“The key is that when people leave Finlandia, they’re ready for a job,” he said. “They’re prepared. They know what they’re looking for. That hasn’t always been true in the past, but it certainly is now with this facility.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today