Niilo Koponen, Ph.D. – North To Alaska

Posted on August 6th, 2019 in American History by Ignacio Ayala

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People who crave space, freedom, adventure, and opportunities have long been attracted to Alaska. In June of 1996 I spoke with Niilo Kopanan, the son of Finnish immigrants who grew up in New York City and moved to a mountain ridge near Fairbanks, Alaska in 1952. At that time, land there was still open for homesteading. He located his 160 acres and filed a homestead on the ridge where he still lives. After several years there, in the mid 1950s, he returned to the lower 48 states to earn a Ph.D. Yet the magnet of Alaska pulled him back where he became a university professor and a member of the Alaska legislature, and he’s been there ever since.

Niilo Koponen, Ph.D. recommends “The life story of Elizabeth Morgan” by Ernest Morgan. 12

Originally Broadcast: June 18, 1996

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