Professor Pentti Kaitera

"A spirit that fosters creative work is needed at the University: Researchers and teachers must be provided with inspiring goals, which will guide them in realising their life's ambitions."

Pentti Kaitera (19 November 1905–8 June 1985) at the first opening of the University of Oulu on 3 October 1959.

Professor Pentti Kaitera

In the 1950s, Professor Pentti Kaitera headed the Pohjois-Suomen korkeakoulukomitea (Northern Finland Committee for Higher Education), whose preparatory work and proposals led to the establishment of the University of Oulu on 8 July 1958 with enactment of the Oulu University Act. Kaitera also served as the first rector of the University of Oulu and played a central role in launching university operations, starting in the autumn of 1959 and continuing through to 1962.

Pentti Kaitera was born in Rantasalmi, but spent his teenage years living in the home parish of his father's family, Liminka, where the family lived as farmers. Kaitera matriculated from Oulun lyseo (Lyseo Upper Secondary School) in 1924, earned a Master of Science (Technology) in Agricultural Sciences degree at the Helsinki University of Technology in 1929 and a Doctor of Science (Technology) degree in 1939.

In 1942, he was appointed Professor of Agricultural Water Management at the Helsinki University of Technology in 1942.  Kaitera studied flood water and its impact on watersheds as well as the impacts, advantages and disadvantages of soil drainage.

In addition to his professorship, Kaitera held a number of government and other elected positions. He was especially interested in the economic development of Northern Finland. Kaitera participated in the planning of regional watershed management, agriculture and industrialisation. He was involved in processes, which led to the founding of Typpi Oy (today known as Kemira) in Oulu and Rautaruukki Oy in Raahe.

Based on the preparatory work done by the Kaitera-led committee, three faculties, Technology, Philosophy and Medicine, would be established at the new University of Oulu, and the Teacher Education College of Oulu was merged with the University. In addition to these, the Research Institute of Northern Finland was founded at the University.

Consequently, the University of Oulu has been, since its inception, a multidisciplinary institution, which has had a major impact on the vitality of the region as a whole. In the preparatory work for the University, there was a prevailing consensus that the primary mission of the University was to broadly serve the cultural and economic needs of Northern Finland.

Kaitera is considered to be the progenitor of the Faculty of Technology and responsible for the inclusion of the Teacher Education College of Oulu. The Faculty of Philosophy was later divided into the Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Science in the 1960s, thus forming the basic structure and division of faculties of the University of Oulu. In the 2000s, Oulu Business School was added.

Last updated: 11.10.2017