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Marko Korhonen.

Director of North Savo Wellbeing Services County Marko Korhonen is UEF’s Alumnus of the Year

​​​​​​​Director of North Savo Wellbeing Services County Marko Korhonen, Doctor of Social Sciences, has been selected as the Alumnus of the Year of the University of Eastern Finland. The award was presented to Korhonen in an alumni meeting held in Kuopio on 19 November. The Alumna/Alumnus of the Year award recognises and celebrates the achievements of the alumni of the University of Eastern Finland in their chosen fields.

“I would like to extend a big and warm thank-you to those selecting me for this significant recognition,” Korhonen says.

Korhonen obtained his doctorate in social sciences from the University of Kuopio in 2004. He has held leadership roles in municipalities and local authority corporations since 2000, and he also worked as a researcher at the university’s social sciences department for a few years.

“The most significant steps in my career have been my role as CEO of the Social Services Foundation for nearly nine years, my years as the municipal manager of Kaavi and especially Lapinlahti, where I had the opportunity to lead a completely new municipality formed through a merger.”

Korhonen’s years in regional leadership have given him extensive experience of influencing on the national level, as well as of the significance of regional development.

“My current role as Director of North Savo Wellbeing Services County brings together the most significant experiences from my entire academic and professional career, which can be put to use in every way,” he says.

“Marko Korhonen has, both in his previous and current roles, been a strong regional developer and also an advocate of collaboration pertaining to the Savilahti campus area. Korhonen’s work and activities have contributed to the broad societal impact of the research, education and innovation activities carried out on our Kuopio Campus,” Rector Jukka Mönkkönen says.

“For the university, it is natural to be in close interaction with the surrounding society, and Korhonen is an exemplary promoter of this interaction. He has promoted the importance and visibility of the university's activities both regionally and nationally.”

“Having the university in our region provides a solid foundation for the wellbeing services county”

Korhonen remembers well his first days as a student in the University of Kuopio. He completed his military service in Karelia Air Command in 1992, while also serving as a training and social ombudsman for the garrison.

“I came across some Open University brochures and became interested in business economics. Admittedly, the extra evening leaves granted for exams might have played a role in motivating me,” Korhonen says.

In 1993, Korhonen was admitted to the degree programme in social policy, which, together with economics, formed a meaningful combination of studies.

“Back then, social sciences were characterised by academic freedom, and I ended up taking multiple subjects from different areas of life.”

Korhonen wrote his doctoral dissertation while also working, defended it in 2003, and obtained his doctorate in social sciences in 2004.

“Thirty years ago, I was probably thinking that people receiving recognitions are those who are already approaching the senior end of their career. I’ll take it back. It seems that a significant recognition can also be given to someone like me, a youthful person in their fifties who is still faced with new experiences, both academically and professionally, and as eager to learn new things as back in military training.”

According to Korhonen, the University of Eastern Finland is strongly committed to becoming an even more prominent university in order to succeed in international competition. However, nothing happens on its own and earning one’s place requires hard work.

“Having the university in our region provides a solid foundation for the wellbeing services county, and collaboration with the university must thus be close. The significance of the university for our region is indisputable, and this should be understood more broadly by citizens and decision-makers. It is our common concern to support the University of Eastern Finland, as the university supports its surrounding community.”

For further information, please contact:

Director of North Savo Wellbeing Services County Marko Korhonen, Doctor of Social Sciences, tel. +358 44 717 4111, marko.korhonen@pshyvinvointialue.fi

Rector Jukka Mönkkönen, tel. +358 29 445 8001, jukka.monkkonen@uef.fi

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