Niemi, John A(rvo) 1932-2004

views updated

NIEMI, John A(rvo) 1932-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born December 6, 1932, in Ironwood, MI; died July 6, 2004, in DeKalb, IL. Educator and author. Niemi was a professor of adult education who also built educational ties between the United States, Finland, and Russia. The descendant of Finnish farmers, he grew up in modest circumstances to be one of the first in his family to attend college. First earning an A.A. at Gogebic Community College in 1952, he went on to earn a B.A. in history from Michigan State University in 1954, studied at the University of Southern California, received a master's degree from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1967. His early interest in adult education was sparked while he was in Alaska during the early 1960s. Here he was head of evening classes at the University of Alaska, teaching functionally illiterate military personnel and other adults and inspiring many of them to attend college. In the mid-1960s, he was an extension specialist at UCLA, and he next joined the University of British Columbia faculty as an associate professor of adult education from 1966 to 1975. Niemi became a professor of adult education at Northern Illinois University in 1975 and was still there at the time of his death. Always interested in travel, he especially enjoyed going to the home of his grandparents in Finland. At the University of Helsinki, where he was a visiting professor in 1981, he helped found the graduate program in adult education and the Research and Training Center at Lahti. He was also a frequent attendee and organizer of conferences, and fostered the exchange of students from Finland and Russia to the United States and vice versa. Also, while at Northern Illinois University, he continued his work with the military, establishing a partnership between the university and the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Niemi, who was awarded the insignia of the commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland in 2001 for his work in encouraging cultural relations between Finland and the United States, was the editor and author of several books. Among these are Adult Education and the Disadvantaged Adult (1970), Research and Investigation in Adult Education Register (1976), and Recruiting and Training Volunteers (1981).



Chronicle of Higher Education, September 3, 2004, p. A53.


Northern Today Online, (July 12, 2004).

About this article

Niemi, John A(rvo) 1932-2004

Updated About content Print Article