MARQUETTE – Ishpeming native Jane Piirto, a 1963 Northern Michigan University alumna and professor at Ashland University, will be the keynote speaker at mid-year commencement on Saturday, Dec. 18, in the Superior Dome. She will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

            Piirto is one of only five TrusteesÂ’ Professors in the history of Ashland University. She teaches courses in the Ed. D. leadership program, and is the director of talent development education.

She is best known as the author of books on creativity, including the recent Understanding Creativity. Her novel, The Three-Week Trance Diet, won the Carpenter Press 10th Anniversary Award. Other titles by Piirto include A Location in the Upper Peninsula: Collected Essays, Stories, Poems, which was funded by a grant from the Finlandia Foundation; Postcards from the Upper Peninsula; Silent Midnight Snow Falls Down; and Young Mather in Ishpeming.

Piirto has also written many short stories, many of which were featured in her books, as well as poems such as Ode to the Dutch Bicycler, May, Pirangea Olivecea, The Raconteur, Savu Sauna, and Tango Finland.

            Outside of Ashland University, Piirto has served as technical assistant for the Ohio Department of Education, division of special education, on research and development grants; overview advisory panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, arts in education division; arts in education panelist for the Ohio Arts Council; panelist for the Ohio Department of Education, division of special education; and grant evaluator for the U.S. Office of Education Research and Improvement.

The NMU commencement ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. It will be broadcast live on WNMU-TV.

Prepared By
Jessica Holman