Vehmanen Raili and Petri:
Remembrances of Association with John and Melva

In 1985 or so, John gave a lecture on consumer behavior (based on his own research) at the University of Tampere. Petri attended the lecture, and after the lecture he had a brief discussion with John in his office. We talked about Petri's research in accounting, and John wondered how ethical issues are taken into account in Finnish research. John perhaps does not even remember this first mecting.

In the spring of 1989, a group of business executives as well as researchers from the Turku School of economics and Business Administration and from the University of Tampere (the JOKO-group) visited Mississippi State University, where John was provost and the vice-president for academic affairs. John and Melva hosted the whole group in their home, and Petri was impressed by Melva's cheerful appearance. Juha Näsi had told John that Petri would be acting professor at the University of Lapland in the fall of 1989 when John and Melva were going to visit Finland. John expressed his interest in visiting with Petri in Lapland.


In the fall of 1989, John and Melva did come to Finland, and Petri invited them to the University of Lapland. John gave a couple of enthusiastic lectures, and after the lectures John, Melva, and Petri had lunch with rector Riepula. In the afternoon Petri took John and Melva to various places in Rovaniemi, e.g., the Lappia House and Martini Oy. Then, in the evening, when Petri took John and Melva to Vladimir Askenazi's piano concert, John really surprised Petri! He asked Petri, if he would be willing to come to Mississippi State University as a visiting professor. John would have the accounting department make an offer to Petri! He asked Petri to consider the proposal, discuss it with the family, and contact him again before he would leave Finland. John and Melva would still be in Helsinki for a while before they were to leave back for the United States.

First Petri thought that the visit would not be possible because the family might not be too enthusiastic about it. It would be difficult for Raili to get a leave of absence from her dentist position at the city of Tampere, and the children might not be willing to stay so long away from their friends, etc. Anyway, after the concert Petri just could not put the idea off his mind and fall asleep. He kept on thinking about John's proposal for hours until he finally fell asleep much after midnight.


A surprise was awaiting Petri at home. Everyone was excited and enthusiastic about the possibility of staying a year in the United States and experiencing all kinds of new things. Raili believed she could get the leave of absence, and the children did not mind staying away from home for a year. So, Petri called John the very next day, and they agreed that Raili and Petri would come to Helsinki to meet John and Melva. The meeting took place in Dipoli, and it was very exciting for both Raili and Petri. After a lovely dinner, before Raili and Petri left back for Tampere, John said that he would arrange an offer to Petri as a visiting professor.

Later in the fall of 1989, the offer came. Petri approved of it, and then in the summer of 1990 Petri and his family left for Mississippi. They had an incredible and wonderful year in Starkville, Mississippi, and on several occasions during the year they could enjoy the great company, wonderful hospitality, and invaluable help of the Darlings.

For Raili the year of 1990-91 gave a great opportunity to work on her doctoral dissertation. John helped Raili in this regard by letting her have an office at the university and by organizing visits to some dental schools and libraries in Jackson, Mississippi.

After the academic year of 1990-91, Raili and Petri have visited the Darlings three times in the United States, twice in Shreveport, Louisiana (1992 and 1994), and once in Pittsburg, Kansas (1996). Moreover, John and Melva have visited Raili and Petri in their summer house in Rymättylä just about every year since 1991.

Petri Vehmanen

[ Petri Vehmanen, professor at the University of Jyväskylä P.O.Box 35 40351 Jyväskylä,, GSM +358 40 5025038 Raili Vehmanen, M.D.(Odont.), Dentist at the Tampere Health Center, GSM +358 3 2140823 Home address: Minna Canthin katu 6 A 1, 33230 TAMPERE - Finland ]

Asko Korpela 19990921 (19990921) o o AJK kotisivu