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Finlandia University’s President Philip Johnson to Step Down at End of Year

Finlandia University President Philip Johnson will resign at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Last week, he gave notice to the school’s Board of Trustees, which was accepted with regret. Board President Julie Badel says Johnson’s leadership over the recent years will be missed. The university will begin the search for a replacement immediately.

Reverend Johnson has been with Finlandia since March of 2007. Faculty overwhelmingly voted yes on a measure of no confidence back in June. Of 22 potential professors, 20 participated. The final tally was 18 yes and two abstentions. The Faculty Council cited declining enrollment, cuts to retirement and healthcare compensation packages, and a loss of several courses in a letter the body addressed to Johnson at the time.

The resignation comes shortly after Northern Michigan University President Fritz Ericson was fired from the school’s top position after failing to come to an agreement to walk away from his post. Ericson will take a year sabbatical and return to the faculty ranks.

The full press release can be found below.


On October 6, President Philip Johnson informed the Finlandia University Board of Trustees that he will be stepping down at the end of the current academic year.

In a letter to the trustees, President Johnson wrote, “It has been a profound privilege and deep joy to serve Finlandia’s Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students. I am confident new leadership will emerge that is able to lead Finlandia toward a more prosperous future.”

Board President, Julie Badel, said the Board accepted, with regret, President Johnson’s resignation. “The Board appreciates all of the President’s hard work and accomplishments. His leadership, into and through these most difficult recent years, has Finlandia emerging stronger.”

As Finlandia celebrates its 125th anniversary, the search for the University’s next president will begin immediately. “The Board looks forward to the next president continuing the progress we have enjoyed under President Johnson’s leadership,” commented Badel.

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