Notable people

Notable people

Many well-known researchers, developers of Finnish science and great personalities have worked at the University of Tampere and its earlier incarnations.

Paavo Koli (rector from 1962 to 1968) is especially remembered for his work in developing the University. He was not only an active and bold actor in the field of higher education, but also a professor of sociology from 1961 to 1969 and a recipient of the Mannerheim Cross of Liberty for his wartime bravery. Jarmo Visakorpi (rector from 1981 to 1987 and 1993 to 1996) was invited to Tampere to establish medical education in 1972. He developed the Faculty of Medicine for three decades and defended it against plans to discontinue it. Visakorpi was professor of paediatrics from 1975 to 1996.

One of the best known Finnish social scientists is Armas Nieminen, who was professor of social policy from 1956 to 1976. He analysed the theoretical principles and historical perspectives of social policy and became a well-known researcher of social work. He was rector from 1957 to 1962 and chancellor from 1978 to 1984.

Antti Eskola, who was professor of social psychology from 1966 to 1997, is one of the most prominent developers of sociological and social psychological research in Finland. Yrjö Littunen, director of the Research Institute for Social Sciences from 1962 to 1989, developed multidisciplinary social research. Liisa Rantalaiho, professor of occupational psychology and sociology from 1989 to 1998, is known for postgraduate education and as a developer of women’s studies. Her research interests include the Finnish gender system as reflected in working life and the welfare state. Olavi Borg, who served as a professor from 1969 to 1998, investigated party ideologies and was an active politician, Member of Parliament and the vice-chair of the Liberal Party.

The three professors of communications and journalism Kaarle Nordenstreng (term of office 1971–2009), Pertti Hemánus (1973–1997) and Veikko Pietilä (1975–2004) have researched the relationships between society and communications. They were active trailblazers in Finland and internationally.

Professor of adult education Urpo Harva (term of office 1946–1973) was a pioneer in Finland and a well-known researcher of educational philosophy and ethics. Harva was the rector of the School of Social Sciences from 1945 to 1948. Aulis Alanen (term of office 1986–1990), another professor who developed adult education in Finland, investigated liberal adult education.

Professor of history Viljo Rasila (term of office 1976–1989), an alumnus of the School of Social Sciences, researched the history of crofters and workers. He also wrote the history of the Civic College. Unto Kupiainen, professor of literary history from 1950 to 1961 was also a poet. Lauri Seppänen, professor of Germanic philology from 1968 to 1991, was vice-rector of the University from 1972 to 1975. His research interests included the German language and medieval language philosophy.

Erkki Ala-Könni, professor of folklore and folk music from 1975 to 1977, was director of the Department of Folklore from 1965 to 1974 and 1977 to 1981. He is famous for his collection of musical instruments and research on Finnish folk music and folk instruments. The Department of Folklore was established after he donated his collections to the School of Social Sciences.

Pekka Ahtiala, professor of public economy, focused in particular on the international economy from 1968 to 1999, and was an internationally renowned expert of economic policies. He served as an advisor to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the central banks of several countries.

Professor of philosophy, especially of logic and epistemology, Raili Kauppi (term of office 1969–1985) was the first Finnish woman to earn a doctorate in philosophy. Besides being a trailblazer in the field in Finland, she was also an inspiring teacher who, among other things, started the popular philosophy evenings at the city library in 1985.

Professor of statistics Eino Haikala (term of office 1970–1980) was an eminent statistician who gave colourful lectures. After retirement, he came to be known as the presidential candidate of the Finnish People’s Unity Party.

Professor of public law Jaakko Uotila (term of office 1965–1991) served as rector of the University in 1969–1974 during a time of heated debate on universities’ administrative reform and students’ radical activism. As a researcher, he focused on decision-making in state administration and employment, and introduced new research perspectives in his field.

Professor of internal medicine Amos Pasternack (term of office 1976–2001) developed a new problem-based learning method, which was introduced in medical education in 1991. Kai Krohn, who worked as director of the Institute of Biomedical Technology in 1995–2001, is a distinguished AIDS scholar.

Professor of public health, especially outpatient care, Mauri Isokoski (term of office 1973–1996) contributed to the excellent reputation of the Faculty of Medicine as an educator of general practitioners. Professor of nursing Hertta Kalkas (term of office 1987–1990) started education in nursing at the University of Tampere in 1981 and was known as an active developer of her field.

Sources (in Finnish):

  • Kaarninen, Mervi (2000): Murros ja mielikuva. Tampereen yliopisto 1960-2000. Tampereen yliopisto ja Vastapaino. Porvoo.
  • Rasila, Viljo (1973): Yhteiskunnallinen korkeakoulu 1925-1966. WSOY. Porvoo.
  • Visakorpi, Jarmo, Seppälä, Raimo, Pasternack, Amos, Ylitalo, Pauli (toim.) (2003) 30-vuotinen sota. Tampereen lääketieteellisen tiedekunnan synty ja selviytyminen. Tampereen yliopiston lääketieteellinen tiedekunta 1972-2002. Tampereen yliopiston lääketieteellinen tiedekunta. Jyväskylä.