A dedication and ribbon-cutting was held this afternoon for the Waino Wahtera Pavilion, located between Cohodas and Lee Halls. The facility was made possible through a bequest from the alumnus, who earned his bachelor of science degree in 1940. It overlooks both Lake Superior and the Summit Street neighborhood where he was born and raised.
"This pavilion is really two things," said Kim Wahtera about his uncle Waino's legacy. "It is the epicenter of his youth because his family lived nearby and he went to school at Northern. "And the vistas from here, especially when the leaves are down, are expansive and unending. That is much like the unlimited vistas Waino enjoyed throughout his life because of education. It was through education that he became a true Renaissance man. He was a gourmet cook, an inventor of sorts, an avid reader, world traveler and musician. He spent 70 years as a member of the Central New York Bluegrass Association and played several instruments."
Waino held a variety of professional positions after leaving Northern. He spent time at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., as a chemist in the polymer technology division and as an engineer in the environmental division. He later changed occupations, working as an environmental engineer for the city of Rochester, helping businesses meet EPA standards.
NMU is one of five higher education institutions to receive gifts from Wahtera's estate. The pavilion features LED lighting, along with optional infrared heat and wind curtains. At 40-by-60 feet, it serves as a flexible-use venue that can accommodate about 200 people.