This fall, five charitable events in support of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) were held in North America: four in the USA – Philadelphia, San Francisco, East Coast, Midwest; and one in Canada. Regardless of the pandemic, two of the events were live. Donors actively supported UCU’s students, raising $600,000. The funds collected will help provide a quality education at a European level, founded on Christian values.
Some 600 donors and friends of UCU in total took part in the charitable events. “We’re glad that UCU was able to conduct at least two live gatherings: people really missed live interaction. Unfortunately, in some locations people’s safety led us to hold virtual meetings. Nevertheless, we managed to use the online format to advantage, since in this way we were able to allow the participation of people in various parts of America and Canada, and also students and graduates of UCU. The donors very much appreciate this kind of contact, because it’s important for them to see those they support,” explains Olha Zarichynska, Director of the UCU Development Department.
The annual meetings that the university organizes with friends abroad are full of interesting talks by famous speakers, interaction, and musical programs. For the first time, Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, leader of the group Okean Elzy, recorded a few of his songs for donors. Also performing were famous entertainers Oleh Skripka and Marichka Burmaka and the UCU student choir Stritennya.
Honored guests at the events were: Ukrainian Ambassador to the USA Oksana Markarova, a long-time benefactor of UCU; UCU Vice-Rector Myroslav Marynovych; Canadian journalist of Ukrainian descent Michael Bociurkiw; Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyy; UCU student and noted TV host and civic activist Serhiy Prytula; Andy Hunder, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine; UCU Senator Emeritus Nataliya Popovych. The President of UCU, Metropolitan of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak, was a very honored participant. Also among the honored guests were Bishop David Motiuk of the UGCC’s Edmonton Eparchy and Bishop Paul Chomnycky of the UGCC’s Stamford Eparchy.
UCU President Archbishop Borys Gudziak told the guests that he had been at UCU twice this summer. In a time of pandemic, confusion, division, and fear, he saw a community that is going forward with a smile and standing straight, and this inspires hope. “Today we had an opportunity to be convinced of this once again, hearing of phenomenal successes and the high bar that UCU holds. This university is bearing fruit for its country. The UCU team are my brothers and sisters. I pray with them morning and evening. I share my life with them. We conduct informal seminars on questions of global challenges in the world. We open the doors to the church community and share our history. I can assure you that supporting young people is the best investment you can make today.”
Addressing the guests, UCU Rector Fr. Bohdan Prach thanked them for their trust and support of the university’s students, professors, and staff: “I am glad that we have again gathered in an intimate, friendly circle. Year after year our benefactors motivate us to develop in the field of education and provide proper formation for Ukrainian youth. I sincerely thank you for your support and await you all in my office with a cup of good Lviv coffee.”
“I want to thank everyone who has supported UCU, and to assure those who still have not that this is worthwhile. With your donations you can help Ukraine’s future right now. Ukraine is now in its eighth year of war. Under these conditions, it is important to keep focused on education and a university that is not only based on ‘dry’ instruction but on Christian values. There is a great need for this. As the years go by, your contribution today will become more and more significant.” So Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the USA and long-time benefactor of UCU, appealed to the audience.
Serhiy Prytula, a student of UCU’s Master’s Program in Public Management and Administration and a noted TV host and civic activist, added that he has been the emcee for charitable evenings in support of UCU for six years. He said that it gives unbelievable satisfaction to be in an environment where people are aware that the future is being built right now and that investment in education is of utmost importance for Ukraine. “When we speak of Ukraine today, there are, in my opinion, two great shortcomings: the lack of critical thinking and ‘famine’ regarding management personnel. I’m glad that UCU’s activities aim at overcoming these shortcomings. I’m inspired by the incredibly active students who study here and the environment that I have to opportunity to be in. The students already are critical thinkers who ‘infect’ the society around them. And even at the 9th convocation of Ukraine’s Parliament we see six deputies who are UCU graduates. I believe that these are only ‘the first swallows’ and that, in the future, we will see even more people from UCU in leadership positions. This might be the best thing that can happen to Ukraine.”
On behalf of the UCU community, we thank our benefactors and the friends of the university for their many years of support for the good of talented students, the best professors, and the development of new educational programs! We value your contribution towards our coming successes!
The next UCU fundraising event is a Charitable Evening and Silent Auction with friends and benefactors of UCU which will be held in Kyiv on 4 December. Join us! Register HERE