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International News | September 22, 2021

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New Johnson Scholarship Opens Doors to Finnish Architecture Students

New Johnson Scholarship Opens Doors to Finnish Architecture Students

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| On 20, Apr 2014

Although international students have become an integral part of the University of Colorado Denver, offering varying cultural and global perspectives that enrich the classroom experience for all students, scholarships for internationals are few and far between. Through the generosity and foresight of two donors, Don and Maria Johnson, the new Johnson Scholarship opens the door wider to Finnish applicants to pursue a master of architecture degree (MArch) in the College of Architecture and Planning.

The Johnson Scholarship is granted to an aspiring master of architecture student who, in order to be eligible, has received a pre-professional undergraduate degree from one of three specified Finnish universities. The scholarship, which is part of the school’s Finnish Initiatives Project, covers a student’s full tuition for two academic years and provides financial stability as well as access to new opportunities. Scholarship founders Donald L. Johnson, a University of Colorado graduate, and Maria A. Johnson, a Fulbright Scholar from Finland, both share a passion for the arts, design architecture and a focus on giving back to the community.

The first recipient of the Johnson Scholarship, Pipsa Happo, Tampere University of Technology, is eager to be studying in the University of Colorado Denver’s internationally renowned architecture program. She feels it will provide “a comprehensive view of the field”. Happo, who is from Finnish Lapland, enjoys an active outdoors lifestyle and also feels that CU Denver provides a high quality education in an ideal environment.

The University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning is the only architecture school in Colorado and is home to many award-winning students, faculty members and programs. Global partnerships and community service projects span continents, ranging from initiatives with Dar Al-Hekma College for women in Saudi Arabia to Gensler architectural firm and Tongji University in Shanghai, China to design-build projects for non-profits in Guatemala. In the United States, design build projects take students into western regions such as the Navajo Nation in Utah.

Learning how to integrate, build and manage one’s skills in support of local communities is exactly what Happo is looking for: “I want to do something good for society, to be part of some kind of American-Finnish partnership that will connect architects from both countries.” Happo has found a place where she can is dream big and focus on her goals. “If you really want to achieve something, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

Learn More

To learn more about International Admissions, visit:

For more information about programs at the College of Architecture and Planning, visit:

Global Education: Study Abroad in Finland: Finland is recognized internationally for its architecture, particularly for its modernism and functionalism. CU Denver’s Office of Global Education and the College of Architecture and Planning are offering a summer 2014 study abroad term which includes interdisciplinary lectures, tours, and an extensive introduction to Finnish design culture. Students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in architecture ranging from national romanticism to modernism and the contemporary scene. To learn more, visit online at: