Maija Lehtonen (d. 2015), former professor of comparative literature and aesthetics at the University of Helsinki, has bequeathed her estate to her alma mater, and specifically the arts and humanities. She listed the following fields as the beneficiaries of her will: French language, French literature, French history, Finnish-French cultural relations or Finnish literature.
The intention is to support these fields by providing grants and awards for doctoral students as well as postdoctoral researchers and teachers in particular. In addition, doctoral students, researchers and teachers may be appointed to positions under Lehtonen’s name of up to four years in duration.
Maija Lehtonen’s estate is considerable – its value is just over €4 million. The administrative committee of the University of Helsinki’s fund for the humanities and social sciences will decide on how to use the donation, after consulting the professors of the relevant fields.
The annual sum to be awarded as grants is approximately €150,000. The first grants will probably be awarded in autumn 2017.
Maija Lehtonen’s bequest is the largest ever individual donation to the University of Helsinki. In total, the University of Helsinki’s current fundraising campaign, which launched in 2013, has raised more than €40 million in donations from more than one thousand donors. Approximately half of these donations have been received from foundations, but private individuals are also an important donor group.
Overall, the University of Helsinki’s donated funds total more than €170 million, with several thousands of donors since 1745.
Anne Ala-Pöllänen, liaison manager for partnerships and fundraising
+358 50 318 5097