Website to Focus on NMU, U.P. Connection

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center recently received a gift of $25,000 to create a new multi-media web project based on the relationship between the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University. The website will feature expansive content detailing how the U.P. defined NMU and, in turn, how NMU helped shape the future of the Upper Peninsula.

The goal is to inform NMU students, alumni and the community about this connection. The website will also create opportunities for students, alumni and faculty to contribute to this body of work.

The project is made possible by NMU History Professor Emeritus Jon Saari. He taught from 1971-2006, specializing in the history of the Third World, China, Finnish-America and historiography. In 1993, he received NMU's Teaching Excellence Award. He has served on the Community Engagement Committee of the Beaumier Center since 2007.

"The Upper Peninsula, when you live, work and study here, has a way of getting under your skin,” Saari said. “It repels some, enchants others, but it makes you face up to its intense localness, whether walking in a cedar swamp or sitting inside a wood-fired log sauna. I like to reflect on how people and places interact. Thousands of people over 120 years in this half-tamed place provide a rich tapestry of thoughts, feelings and actions. These stories of interconnectedness deserve to be told."

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will create a site that explores the roles that NMU, in over a century of inventing and reinventing itself, has played in helping shape the Upper Peninsula's landscape, culture and society. Students, scholars and members of the public can contribute content.

The site will be a dynamic resource, which presents new research and perspectives, as well as an archive for past work. It will be multi-disciplinary, so that students and faculty from many different academic backgrounds and professions can contribute work that is relevant to NMU's connection to the region's history, economy, politics, arts and culture, science, athletics and more.

The site will examine the historical record through an academic, rather than promotional, lens. It will feature multi-disciplinary articles, blogs and educational modules created by NMU faculty, staff and students about the connection between the Upper Peninsula and NMU. The site will also feature links to research and writing about the Upper Peninsula from sources outside and inside the university.

For more information, or to express interest in contributing to the site, contact the Beaumier Center at or call 906-227-3212.

This story was written by Dan Truckey, director of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center.

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Categories: Alumni, Around NMU