Give for the future

To creativity, courage and new role models

Rafaela Seppälä, an art connoisseur, supports Aalto’s creative expertise and design with her donation. Aalto alumni Markku Ihantola and Kyunghyun Cho donate to their Alma Mater that prepared them well for life and career.
Rafaela Seppälä
Rafaela Seppälä

Rafaela Seppälä, an art connoisseur and collector, has donated 500,000 euros to Aalto University allocated to the fields of art and design. The impact of the donation will be strengthened by a government matching funding campaign, which will continue until the end of June 2022.

‘Finland has always exhibited high-quality creative expertise and design. Today’s generations are ambitious and they dare to reach for the stars. There’s also international demand for Finnish expertise. This is the time to support the framework that enables us to use their creative potential,’ Seppälä says.

‘Creativity emerges from combining ideas, materials and techniques. The university community offers its members an excellent structure for getting support, and for searching and finding their own medium of creative outlet. At the same time, the students learn to be more persuasive in expressing their own views and they create social dialogue,’ Seppälä continues.

She encourages young designers to first dare to dream and then find a concrete way of implementing their dreams. ‘The same applies to sustainable development: the same creative methods can be used to solve problems that now seem difficult. Allow for more passion, make friends with it; you’ll find that one thing you can spend your time and life on. Without passion there is no excellence!’

Markku Ihantola
Markku Ihantola

A boost from studies in aviation technology

Markku Ihantola gained a solid foundation from Aalto for his career in aviation technology and the courage to learn new things. ‘I’m happy to pay back by donating and I also hope that it spurs Aalto onwards in education and research,’ Ihantola says.

Ihantola graduated in aviation technology at the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) in 1972. ‘My studies built faith in the future. My course was the first one to start on the new Otaniemi campus, the construction of the wind tunnels was completed, the construction of Dipoli was completed in time for Lakinlaskijaiset, the “Caps Off” party, in 1966, and the campus in Hietalahti was given up a couple of years later,’ he reminisces.

Most of his career, Ihantola worked in the Finnish Air Force. He started as a project manager of the Draken interceptor project and retired from the post of Chief Engineer of the Finnish Defence Forces. ‘HUT provided an excellent foundation for both the knowledge and the attitude required in an engineer’s career, and courage for learning new things.

For current students, my wish is that they have confidence in their own competence, as well as courage to face future challenges and learn new things. Most importantly, it’s worth it to study a wide variety of subjects in economics and art. An engineer will also need them in their work and in life in general.’

Kyunghyun Cho
Kyunghyun Cho

More women in AI and data studies

Aalto alumni and Associate Professor of Computer Science and Data Science at New York University, Kyunghyun Cho, has made a donation of 30,000 euros to the Aalto Department of Computer Science. It will be awarded as scholarships to female students from outside the EU.

The scholarship can be awarded to a foreign female student who selects the module in Machine Learning, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence as the major subject of her Master’s degree studies. The studies develop competences that are central to solving major challenges such as combating climate change and understanding the causes of epidemics.

‘I enjoyed my time at Aalto. It’s had a significant impact on my career and my personal life. I hope that this donation enables an increasingly diverse group of students around the world to enjoy and benefit from studying at Aalto. I also hope that these students become role models in the field of artificial intelligence for my niece and her generation,’ Cho says. 

Cho’s donation promotes equality and inclusion, which are key objectives of the Aalto community.

Text: Marjukka Puolakka

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