2000 Distinguished Service Award: Markku Markkula

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Markku Markkula
Finnish Parliament

The College of Engineering’s connections are far-reaching, as its relationship with Markku Markkula illustrates. Markkula is a member of the Finnish Parliament, and although he resides nearly 5,000 miles from Wisconsin, he has been instrumental in making the university part of the technological revolution.

More than 15 years ago, Markkula helped form a partnership between the Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Through his efforts as director of the Lifelong Learning Institute and as secretary general of the International Association of Continuing Engineering Education, Markkula involved UW-Madison in preliminary testing and use of the Internet, E-mail and video conferencing.

Markkula, his wife and two youngest children came to UW-Madison in 1993 for a three-month sabbatical during which he studied technology management and the distance and continuing education programs offered by the university. His insight and involvement won him the privilege of being named an honorary fellow in the college’s Department of Engineering Professional Development.

Markkula led a program in which students from Finland came for the summer months to work in the Wisconsin Dells, a vacation destination located in the state’s midsection. The program started four years ago and attracts between 60 and 100 students each summer.

As a member of the Finnish Parliament since 1995 and through his work there in the Committees for the Future and for Education, Science and Culture, Markkula is a driving force behind industry and university relations. He has also served on the steering committee of a study benchmarking economic development and public policy between Finland and the state of Wisconsin.

Markkula is a fellow of the European Society for Engineering Education and chairman of the Educational Committee of the National Coalition Party. He is president of the Finnish Association of Graduate Engineering, as well as chairman of the board of the Finnish Information Technology Development Centre.