Finnfocus export fair and old classmates will not be forgotten

The so-called 'joy walruses' of Helsinki School of Economics gathered to celebrate their class 50 years after beginning their studies.
The joy walruses, Yrjö Somersalmi among them, gathered to a class reunion held at the School of Business on 17 September 2015.

The Helsinki School of Economics class of 1965 gathered at the School of Business to celebrate the fact that 50 years had passed since they began their studies. Last time, the class gathered together five years ago, and before that, they celebrated their "fortieth". There are 130 persons in the alumni register who began their studies in 1965, of whom no fewer than 74 had signed up for the class reunion. The joy walruses represent the baby boomers and were born in the years 1943–46.

'The Finnfocus export fair in 1968 was definitely the biggest event in the history of KY. Back then, KY rented M/S Finnpartner ferry from the Amer shipping company, which sailed by the Tower Bridge in London and increased international awareness of Finland and Finnish companies. 15 000 English businessmen were invited to the site to familiarise themselves with Finnish products. Princess Margaret also came to the event. The fair was a success and brought the student union widespread positive publicity, although also slight financial loss', reminisces joy walrus Yrjö Somersalmi, one of the 'workhorses' in organising the fair.

Before the start of the class reunion, Yrjö Somersalmi also explained that there was intense growth in the social benefits of students in the late 1960s. Student housing was being built, HOAS was established and the Centre for Student Financial Aid was founded, which produced the student financial aid system as time went by. Student health care also embarked on a new level as the Finnish Student Health Service was established.

'In my time as a student, I was an active member of the student union, was in the board of KY and later also had an active role in HEKO. In 1965, 460 students began their studies in Helsinki School of Economics, half of whom were women studying to become academic secretaries. The studies lasted 3 to 4 years and included, for example business economics, marketing, economics and mathematical economics. Among the professors, particularly memorable have been, for example, Fedi Vaivio and Jouko Paakkanen, professors of economics, and Pertti Muukkonen, a professor of commercial law.

Yrjö Somersalmi spent his career in Fazer as well as in the Sampo Insurance Company and its predecessors. As a business school graduate, he has seen how accounting legislation and taxation steer the economy. He also reminds today's students that having juridical expertise, such as knowledge of labour legislation, is important.

'Life takes people to places and carries them. What a person has studied might not have the greatest importance. What is important is that the person is willing to adjust and embrace things. I think Aalto University is on the right track, as combining different fields provides a genuine opportunity. In itself, a product or service is worthless if it cannot be commercialised in a profitable way', says Somersalmi.

Meeting classmates had main role

Vice Dean Seppo Ikäheimo welcomed the joy walruses to celebrate this landmark birthday. The student jazz band Akystic provided music during the evening. Orko Vila, who hosted sing-along events in Kynssit dance events in the 1960s, lead the singing of the Orkon Lenkki song.

The programme emphasised health and well-being. Professor Antti Hervonen had been invited to the event to talk about the topic 'Memory fails, but will sense leave.' Nevertheless, meeting classmates, reminiscing about the times as a student, chatting about how everyone was doing and planning the future in an informal spirit had the main role. An abundant buffet table had been set at Restaurant Proffa, and some of the joy walruses continued their celebrations with a herring matinee on the next morning.

At the event, Yrjö Somersalmi praised the Aalto University alumni newsletter and several interesting events organised at the School of Business, to which the newsletter included invitations.
'It is a joy to be an alumni of School of Business.

Class reunions are a part of the alumni activities at Aalto University. Nearly 35 000 alumni from 80 different countries are already members of the Aalto University alumni network. You can join the network free of charge at:

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