According to the Teekkarit.fi website, the Grim Bearded Engineer is “a mythical figure and spirit-like being who watches over technology students and gives the Tempaus order in Otaniemi.” The Tempaus activity is a way for technical students to draw people’s attention to a topical issue or to raise money for a charitable cause.
The first mention of the Grim Bearded Engineer in the press was in the 1924 Ylioppilaslehti student magazine. “This was the same year he gave his first Tempaus order,” says Rasmus Ruohola from the Museum of Student Life in Otaniemi. The purpose of this first Tempaus activity was to collect money for Finland’s Olympic Team.
- Watch an example of a Tempaus order given by the Grim Bearded Engineer on Yle Areena.
When the Helsinki University of Technology moved from Helsinki to Espoo, the Grim Bearded Engineer was given his own office in Dipoli. The Student Union building was opened in 1966. The Grim Bearded Engineer invited President Kekkonen as Dipoli’s Honorary Janitor in 1967.
Rumors and differing opinions on the identity of the Grim Bearded Engineer abound among technical students. The Museum of Student Life has invited his spirit to dwell at the Museum’s premises in Otaniemi. The Museum’s collection includes a bust of him (see photo), sculpted by Taisto Kaasinen.