Skip to main content

Refine your search

Diplomikotelo ja tohtorinhattu.

University of Eastern Finland will confer 14 Honorary Doctorates in June

The University of Eastern Finland will hold a doctoral conferment ceremony on the Joensuu Campus on 6–8 June.

The doctoral conferment ceremony is the fifth one its kind organised by the University of Eastern Finland, and the third taking place on the Joensuu Campus. The three faculties operating on the Joensuu Campus have selected 14 scientifically or socially distinguished persons upon whom an Honorary Doctorate will be conferred. An Honorary Doctorate is the highest distinction the university may confer upon a person.

Strong representation in educational sciences

The Philosophical Faculty confers an Honorary Doctorate upon four internationally distinguished scholars of educational sciences, upon a wide-ranging scholar of translation studies, and upon an internationally renowned Finnish researcher of theology. An Honorary Doctorate in Educational Science will be conferred upon Professor Emeritus Michael H. Epstein, Professor Judith Harackiewicz, Professor Dirk Ifenthaler and Professor Emerita Diane Reay. An Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy will be conferred upon Professor Sharon O’Brien. An Honorary Doctorate in Theology will be conferred upon Professor Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen.

Professor Emeritus Michael H. Epstein’s long career has focused on research into the behavioural, emotional, and mental health functioning and support of children and adolescents. He is also one of the world’s leading researchers in strength-based assessment and support. Professor Emeritus Epstein is a distinguished researcher with a large-scale international network of colleagues; during his career he has collaborated with researchers of special education at the University of Eastern Finland.

Professor Judith Harackiewicz is one of the world’s most renowned scholars of learning and motivation in educational psychology. Recognised with multiple awards, Professor Harackiewicz is a pioneer in intervention research, and her diverse experimental studies on strengthening motivation and engaging especially minority students in STEM has yielded significant practical applications.

Professor Dirk Ifenthaler is Professor and Chair of Learning, Design and Technology. He is a highly distinguished and active researcher in the international field of educational technology and learning analytics. His publications combine research on cognitive psychology, educational technology, data analytics and organisational learning. Professor Ifenthaler continues to actively collaborate with members of the Digs research community at the University of Eastern Finland. He has provided valuable insight into the research community’s activities, especially with regard to using analytics to examine pedagogical perspectives. 

Professor Emerita Diane Reay’s research addresses and theorises how social class, gender and ethnic background are associated with how people end up on different educational paths and succeed on them. Employing the perspective of social justice, Professor Emerita Reay has examined how educational opportunities do not emerge equally for everyone, but the differentiation of educational systems and social inequality play a significant role in how educational paths are formed.

Professor Sharon O’Brien is a wide-ranging translation studies scholar who has studied, among other things, the effect of machine translation on the translator’s work and thinking, the translator’s professional practices, and the role of translation and interpretation in crisis communication. Her research emphasises digital humanism and working life perspective, and she has collaborated with translation technology companies as well as humanitarian NGOs. 

Professor Kärkkäinen is one of the most internationally renowned Finnish researchers in his field. He has worked as a professor in the United States for a long time and, before that, he has also worked both in Asia and Europe. Professor Kärkkäinen has published numerous works especially in the field of systematic theology. He is the author of a five-volume interdisciplinary and interreligious Christian theological work, and his constructive approach is groundbreaking within the Finnish context. A strong ecumenical perspective is also visible in his work. Professor Kärkkäinen’s recent publications delve into issues of global theology and interfaith dialogue. 

Diverse figures of influence

The Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology confers an Honorary Doctorate upon four leading figures in natural sciences. An Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy will be conferred upon CEO Pekka Mattila, Professor Shigeki Nakauchi and Professor Emeritus Anton Zeilinger. An Honorary Doctorate in Agriculture and Forestry will be conferred upon Professor Line Rochefort.

Pekka Mattila, together with researchers from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Eastern Finland and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland founded, in 2011, Desentum Oy, a company that develops next-generation allergy vaccines for immunotherapy, and Mattila has been the company’s CEO ever since. He has distinguished himself especially in the development of innovations in chemistry and biotechnology, and in driving business in the field. In 1986, Mattila founded Finnzymes, a biotechnology company that focused on the research and production of DNA modifying enzymes, and on their use in molecular diagnostics. He served as the CEO of Finnzymes Oy until 2010, when the company was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Mattila has also served as a board member of Herantis Pharma Oyj and Mobidiag Oy, and as a member of the Finnish Research and Innovation Council.

Professor Shigeki Nakauchi is Vice President for International Affairs and Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan. Professor Nakauchi’s collaboration with the University of Eastern Finland began especially in the fields of computer science and photonics in 1995. Together with researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, Professor Nakauchi has contributed to the establishment of double degree programmes between the University of Eastern Finland and Toyohashi University of Technology at the Master’s and doctoral levels of education. Professor Nakauchi holds the title of docent at the University of Eastern Finland, and he has significantly promoted and facilitated educational and research collaboration between Finland and Japan.

Professor Emeritus Anton Zeilinger was recognised with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2022 for his work in quantum photonics. A major launching pad for his research, ultimately worthy of a Nobel Prize, was his participation in the Symposium on the Foundations of Modern Physics: 50 Years of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Gedankenexperiment, which was held at the University of Joensuu in June 1985, and which he also highlighted in his Nobel Prize speech in Stockholm. In 1997–1998, Professor Emeritus Zeilinger conducted pioneering experiments that proved the existence of quantum physics phenomena and paved the way for quantum computers, quantum networks and quantum encryption. He has also published the book Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation, which is a popular book on quantum physics.

Professor Line Rochefort from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, is a pioneer in peatland restoration. Since 2003, she has held a prestigious NSERC Chair of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which is partly funded by industry. Professor Rochefort is the leader of the Peatland Ecology Research Group composed of several professors and their teams, which in addition to the scientific research has trained hundreds of experts in the field. Her publication record is exceptionally broad, ranging from restoration ecology, moss ecology, peatland biogeochemistry and arctic ecosystems to peatland afforestation and plant physiology. In 2011, the International Peatland Society recognised Rochefort with an award for her scientific work.

Significant actors from different fields of society

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies confers an Honorary Doctorate upon four scientifically and socially distinguished persons. An Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences will be conferred upon Dr Tarja Cronberg and Professor Sarah Green. An Honorary Doctorate in Law will be conferred upon the President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland Kari Kuusiniemi. An Honorary Doctorate in Business Studies will be conferred upon Professor Iis Tussyadiah.

Dr Tarja Cronberg is a researcher, a former Regional Director of North Karelia, a former Member of the Finnish Parliament, a former Minister of the Finnish Government and a former Member of the European Parliament. A long-standing member of the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute, Dr Cronberg’s experience in security and peace research, both as a scholar and as an influencer, is extensive. Her research has focused especially on soft security, changes in foreign and security policy, great power politics and nuclear disarmament. Currently, Dr Cronberg works as a visiting professor exploring Russian militarism and nuclear weapons at the Aleksanteri Institute, and she has served on the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as on the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

Sarah Green is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She is one of the most esteemed scholars in border studies and spatial dynamics in the world. Her regional expertise includes the Balkans and the Mediterranean (especially Greece), as well as spatial dynamics in London and Manchester. In pursuit of trying to understand the significance of borders, Professor Green has researched gendered border dynamics, the spatial effects of digital technologies, cross-border trade, multispecies borders, and attempts to control the cross-border spread of microbes.

Kari Kuusiniemi is the President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland, with a diverse career in both the judiciary and the academia. He is a prominent legal figure who actively participates in the discussion on law and the role of courts, especially administrative courts, in society. His speeches as the President of the Supreme Administrative Court emphasise themes that are important for law and society as a whole, including the rule of law.

Iis Tussyadiah is Professor of Intelligent Systems in Service and the Head of the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at the University of Surrey in the UK. Professor Tussyadiah is also a past President of the International Federation for Information Technology and Travel & Tourism. Her research interests include peer-to-peer services, the future of work, and applications and implications of artificial intelligence in services. Professor Tussyadiah has played a significant role in advancing international tourism business research at the University of Eastern Finland Business School.

In addition to the Honorary Doctors selected by the faculties, persons who have completed their doctoral degree within the agreed time limit in a subject represented at the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, or the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies, may participate in the doctoral conferment ceremony to be held on the Joensuu Campus.

Next doctoral conferment ceremony will be held on the Kuopio Campus on 5–7 June 2025.

Print-quality photos of the Honorary Doctors: