Bemidji State University Names Dr. Arne Vainio as 2022 Distinguished Minnesotan
Bemidji State University has recently named Dr. Arne Vainio, who will be delivering the university’s 2022 commencement address, as the recipient of the 38th Distinguished Minnesotan award.
According to a press release, BSU’s Distinguished Minnesotan award was first presented in 1981 and recognizes the contributions of past and present residents of the state who have provided outstanding services to both the people of Minnesota and the United States.
The award has not been given out since 2019 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vainio, a citizen of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, has spent the last 25 years as a family practice physician on the Minnesota Fond du Lac Reservation. In 2017, Vainio was named Physician of the Year by the Association of American Indian Physicians.
Other awards Vainio has received include the 2016 Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes people who have made an impact on the state of Minnesota. Vainio currently works both as an educator and a mentor to many indigenous and BIPOC students.
The address by Vainio will be delivered to graduates on May 6th and will be streamed online during the graduation ceremonies, one for each of BSU’s three colleges.