The Alum of the Year recognition was awarded to Doctor of Medicine, Medical Counsellor Sakari Alhopuro on Thursday, 25 February 2021, on the eve of the University's 101st anniversary. With the Alum of the Year recognition, the University of Turku wishes to thank Alhopuro for his investment in science and in building social well-being and a sustainable future.
The Alumni of the Year recognition is awarded annually to a former student of the University of Turku who has promoted the success of the University of Turku and Finnish society with their activities.
Sakari Alhopuro graduated from the University of Turku as Licentiate in Medicine in 1973. After his graduation, Alhopuro was involved in founding the private health clinic on Puutarhakatu street in Turku which later changed its name to Pulssi.
– The University of Turku has provided me with an excellent education for being a doctor. There were great teachers and peers at the University of Turku. The medical school was also a place of mental growth where you got to know top experts from different fields, tells Sakari Alhopuro.
With this recognition, the University of Turku wishes to thank Sakari Alhopuro for his persistent investment in science and in building social well-being and a sustainable future.
– With his significant support, Alhopuro has enabled the development of new knowledge and competence. In addition, he has promoted the success of the University of Turku, says Rector Jukka Kola.
With Sakari Alhopuro’s contribution, the University of Turku has developed, for instance, futures research, entrepreneurship education, and research and education in medical technology and health economics. With Alhopuro’s donation, the University also launched the Pentti Malaska Futures Award. In 2016, Alhopuro was conferred as an Honorary Doctor of Turku School of Economics.
During recent years, Sakari Alhopuro has donated funds to biodiversity research. The topic is personal for Alhopuro.
– Biology and nature photography, especially bird photography, are my passions. In recent years, I have noticed that several bird species that used to be common in Lapland have become a significantly rarer sight. Humans tend to make the life of many animals difficult with their actions, says Alhopuro.
The Sakari Alhopuro Foundation established in 2020 promotes medical research, biodiversity, entrepreneurship, and the well-being and culture of the Finnish society.
The University of Turku has awarded the Alumni of the Year recognition since 2004. In previous years, the Alum of the Year recognition has been awarded to, for example, President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö (2020), Editor-in-chief Ville Pernaa (2019), CEO Aleksi Randell (2018), and Member of Parliament Krista Kiuru (2017).
Phoenix Universitatis Turkuensis Decorations to Kirsi Varhila and Olli Aakula
The University of Turku and Turku Finnish University Society awarded the Phoenix Universitatis Turkuensis decoration to Permanent Secretary Kirsi Varhila and CEO Olli Aakula. Both are alumni of the University of Turku and have promoted the University’s goals.
During the past year in the media, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Kirsi Varhila has promoted trust in scientific knowledge and its possibilities to solve the problems faced by humankind. In addition, Varhila is a member of the Turku University Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
– When I found out about this recognition, I immediately thought about a scene from a Finnish movie called Koirankynnen leikkaaja (Dog Nail Clipper). I was especially touched by this scene where a medal of humanity and humanism was awarded. To me there is something similar in these recognitions. This means a great deal to me, said Varhila to Rector Jukka Kola and Vice Rector Mika Hannula who gave the decoration to Varhila on Friday 26 February 2021. Picture: Erja Hyytiäinen.
CEO of Lähitapiola Varsinais-Suomi Keskinäinen Vakuutusyhtiö Olli Aakula has been involved in realising the Entrepreneurial Act of the Year competition of the University of Turku two times. The Entrepreneurial Act of the Year is awarded to a person or group who have successfully promoted entrepreneurial attitude and activities in the University. Aakula is also a member of the Advisory Board of Turku Finnish University Society.
Olli Aakula received the decoration on Thursday, 25 February 2021 at the University’s Joutsen hall. Picture: Hanna Oksanen