History and phases of Summer University of Jyväskylä

The first Summer University began its operations in June 1912 in Jyväskylä. There were also other cities, such as Lahti and Mikkeli, who were willing to be the first location. Nevertheless, Jyväskylä was selected as the first Summer University city because of its previous university pursuits, the Teacher Seminary as well as the activity of the city.

The main purpose of the Summer University was to pave the way for the Finnish-speaking secondary school graduates towards academic studies. The thought of organizing Finnish-speaking university studies during summer was raised already in 1910.

In Jyväskylä, like in many other current university towns, the foundation of the Summer University functions later enabled the development of the city to a university town. These functions also developed the Finnish Adult Education pursuits in the area. From the year 1981 onwards, the activities of the Summer University have been year-round.

The founding of Summer University in Jyväskylä meant the birth of a whole new form of studying. The Summer University is closely linked to the history of the University of Jyväskylä, because the idea of organising summer courses arose as a by-product in the founding process of the University.

In the first phase during the years 1912-1916, the Summer University operated in the subordination of the university committee that was under the city council. In the beginning of the second phase (1922-1936), a special university association of Jyväskylä was founded which operated as a background community of the Summer University until the end of 1997.

After the foundation of Jyväskylä Teacher Seminary, Summer University was changed into a summer term of the Seminary in 1937. As the Seminary developed into the University of Jyväskylä in 1966, the Summer University became a summer term of the University.

The actual Summer University functions restarted in 1981. The goal was to meet the educational requirements of the region by organising activities all the year round. Nowadays the Summer University is open for everybody regardless of previous studies. The most important thing is to offer the possibility for lifelong learning.