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First Endowment Fund at CIUS Established by Leo and Betty Krysa

Photo Leo and Bettty KrysaLeo and Betty Krysa were proud to be the first donors to establish an endowment fund at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies in December 1981. They originally donated $25,000 from the Leo J. Krysa Family Foundation in support of an undergraduate scholarship in Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian studies. The couple’s generosity has made a difference in the lives of many undergraduate students and set an example for subsequent endowments at CIUS.

Leo and Betty Krysa married on 18 July 1953. They had three children: Cathryn, John, and Eric. They encouraged and supported each other and their family throughout their lives. Leo chose a business career and worked in the machinery industry as a young man. In 1974 he incorporated Krysa Construction Machinery, which was recognized that year as the largest-volume distributor in North America, with operating units in Canada and the United States. In that period, he was elected chair of his peer group for eight years. In 1984 Leo initiated a new venture, the Ultra Seat Corporation, under the leadership of his son Eric, who became president in 2003.

Leo and Betty believed in the importance of supporting the community with volunteer work and financial contributions alike. For this purpose, they established the second private family foundation ever incorporated in the province of Alberta in 1974. Since its inception, the Leo J. Krysa Family Foundation has provided funding to more than eighty community, educational, religious, and health-related organizations.

Leo Krysa passed away on 20 November 2010.



A major gift from the Golemba Fund supports students at Lviv University

Photo Bohdan GolembaThe Bohdan and Natalia Golemba Endowment Fund, with an initial capitalization of $450,000, was established in May 2012 from the estate of Natalia Golemba of Toronto. The new fund made it possible for CIUS to create the Bohdan and Natalia Golemba scholarship at the University of Alberta for students in their third to fifth years o study and for graduate students at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv who are enrolled in law or humanities programs. The new fund will enrich the Student Exchange Program, which has been in existence at CIUS since 2006, and will also benefit Lviv students who wish to study or conduct research at the University of Alberta. All applicants for the scholarship must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in English, French, or German and maintain a high academic standard.

Bohdan Yaroslaw Golemba was born on 20 August 1908 in Kolomyia. Natalia (née Shpikula) was born in Kopychyntsi near Ternopil on 12 January 1913. They met at a cooperative in Kopychyntsi where they were working. The Golembas married before fleeing to Poland during the war. From 1939 the young couple lived in Gdańsk, Poland, until they came to Canada in 1959 to join the rest of Natalia’s brothers and sisters (she came from a family of nine children).

Photo Natalia GolembaHaving settled in Toronto, Bohdan worked as an accountant and real estate agent, while Natalia worked as a cashier at an IGA store. Bohdan loved to collect stamps and developed an impressive collection. Natalia embroidered beautifully and made artificial flowers and wreaths. “Most of the time,” recalled Natalia’s niece Nadine Shpikula, “they recounted stories of fleeing during the war and of how Ukrainians were discriminated against by Poles, Germans, and Russians.”

Traumatized by their wartime experience, the Golembas were devoted to Ukraine and sought to assist their ancestral homeland by promoting education. Toward the end of her life, Natalia sponsored students from her native Kopychyntsi. Their posthumous gift will always remind us of their sacrifice, generosity, and efforts to make a difference in the lives of young people. Bohdan passed away on 26 February 1997, and Natalia on 8 October 2005.



Danylo Husar Struk and Oksana Pisetska Struk

Photo Danylo and Oksana StrukIn November 2009, the Danylo Husar Struk Memorial Endowment Fund at the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies (CFUS) in Toronto was transferred to CIUS at the University of Alberta and renamed the Danylo Husar Struk and Oksana Pisetska Struk Endowment Fund. In response to an appeal from the community, the principal of this fund was increased to $100,000 before the transfer in order to take advantage of the Government of Alberta’s Matching Funds Program. The main objective of the fund is to support the Danylo Husar Struk Program in Ukrainian Literature at CIUS, which seeks to promote Ukrainian literature in the English-speaking world by sponsoring literary research, scholarly writing, and translation, as well as to improve access to texts by means of print and electronic publications, public lectures, and readings.

The fund was established at CFUS by Struk’s family and friends shortly after his death in 1999. Both Danylo and Oksana were born in Ukraine. After the war, by different paths, they emigrated to the United States from Displaced Persons camps in Europe. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University, Danylo Husar Struk completed his master’s program at the U of A and his doctoral at the University of Toronto, where he then served as professor of Ukrainian literature at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures for almost thirty years. He is also known as a scholar, poet, translator, and author of the monograph A Study of Vasyl Stefanyk: The Pain at the Heart of Existence (1972) and the textbook Ukrainian for Undergraduates (1978), which has been reprinted several times. He worked on the monumental five-volume Encyclopedia of Ukraine (1984–93), first as managing editor and then as editor-in-chief.

Oksana graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame and received a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology at Mount Saint Agnes College. She was a member of Plast, sang in a church choir, and headed the Baltimore chapter of the Ukrainian Students’ Union of America. Having come to Canada (1960), she married Danylo Struk in 1978 and became his inspiration, sharing his appreciation of the fine arts, music, theatre, literature, and travel. She has been working on an English translation of selected works by Valerii Shevchuk that are planned for publication soon.


Daughter Follows in Her Father’s Footsteps

Photo Nadia JacykNadia Jacyk is president of the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation (PJEF), a private charitable organization established in 1986 by her father, the Ukrainian-born Toronto businessman and philanthropist Petro Jacyk (1921–2001). In 2008, the PJEF donated $500,000 to CIUS which was matched by the Province of Alberta to establish the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Modern Ukrainian History and Society at CIUS. This was a signal event for Nadia Jacyk, who has followed in her father’s footsteps as a successful businesswoman and a generous donor to Ukrainian studies and promoted his educational agenda.

Ms. Jacyk was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She obtained a B.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto and a graduate degree in business from Harvard University; she is also a graduate of the Teachers’ College at York University. She has been active in Ukrainian community life since childhood, attending and graduating from Ukrainian school courses, belonging to Plast, taking part in Plast and Ukrainian National Federation summer camps, attending church, playing volleyball, singing in the Vesnivka Choir, and living in Toronto’s Bloor West Village (a well-known Ukrainian community centre), all of which strengthened her identification with her ethnic roots.

Ms. Jacyk’s understanding of Ukrainian culture, customs, politics, and history was further broadened by her travels to Ukraine with her father. Her involvement in the Language Competition entailed work with many Ukrainian organizations in Toronto and elsewhere. She has made donations to send election observers to Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, to help renovate the Ukrainian Care Centre, to bring the Trypillia Collection to the Royal Ontario Museum, and to provide annual support to the Ukrainian Bloor Festival.

The work of the PJEF is a good example of trans-generational co-operation to sustain Ukrainian identity, promote Ukrainian education, and secure a better future for posterity. Nadia Jacyk’s achievements as businesswoman and philanthropist owe much to her father, who groomed her to be his successor. “Heading a charitable foundation,” she says, “is rewarding in a different way, and therefore one does not mind giving of oneself and one’s time.” Ms. Jacyk is confident that her dedication to philanthropy will continue to make a global impact and contribute to a better understanding of Ukraine. The establishment of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Modern Ukrainian History and Society is a major initiative dedicated to that purpose.


Roman Kolisnyk

Photo Nadia and Roman KolisnykIn March 2011, Roman Kolisnyk of Toronto established the Roman and Halia Kolisnyk Endowment Fund at CIUS with a donation of $15,000, to which he contributes annually. The purpose of the fund is to support English and French translations and publications (print and electronic) of Ukrainian literary works, literary memoirs, diaries, and correspondence of Ukrainian-Canadian and other diaspora authors. Mr. Kolisnyk has also made a bequest that will make it possible to accomplish the fund’s objectives more effectively in the future.

Roman Kolisnyk belongs to a generation of Ukrainian emigrants who, faced with the horrors of war and communist terror, had no choice other than to fight back and then leave their homeland. His persistence, friendliness, and drive for self-improvement through education and creative work helped him overcome many difficulties and gain recognition as a writer, translator, publicist, editor, scholar, and community activist.

Roman Kolisnyk was born in 1923 in Tovstenke (present-day Chortkiv raion in Ternopil oblast). His father, Semen, worked in Canada from 1913 to 1921, which helped the family develop a successful business upon his return. After graduating from the Chortkiv secondary school, Roman joined the Galician Division with his whole class. His elder brother, Antin, died fighting in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Roman attained the rank of ensign, and the fortunes of war took him to Feldbach, Austria, in the American zone of occupation.

After gaining his freedom in 1947, Kolisnyk lived in Munich, a major center of Ukrainian emigrant life. There he enrolled in the Ukrainian higher school of economics and worked for the newspaper Ukraïns′ka trybuna, for which he began writing reports.

In 1949 Kolisnyk moved to Australia. In 1957 he settled in Canada and reunited with his friends and relatives. In 1960 he married Halia Soltykevych, the daughter of an Orthodox priest from Konotop. She became his first and most exacting critic. Halia Kolisnyk passed away in 2007.

In Canada, Kolisnyk worked as an administrator of the newspapers Vil′ne slovo and Novyi shliakh, where he was also a columnist. He continued his studies, obtaining a diploma in management accounting from McMaster University. He then worked in the Ontario provincial government, from which he retired as a financial manager.
His humorous stories, columns, reports, and articles appeared in various newspapers and magazines in Canada, the United States, and other countries of the diaspora, as well as in Ukraine after it became independent. In 1986 Kolisnyk published his first collection of humorous stories, Tiazhko buty politychnym emigrantom under the pen name Walter Cap. It was followed by collections of humorous pieces: Naikrashchi khloptsi z Dyviziï (1993) and Vid Adama do Leonida II (1996); reports: O Ukraïno, o liuba nen′ko and O Ukraïno, o bidna nen'ko; memoirs and observations: Dovkola svitu (1982); speeches: Vid z’ïzdu do z’ïzdu, vid iuvileiu do iuvileiu (2001); memoirs: Maizhe, ale ne zovsim (2002); war memoirs: Masheruiut′ dobrovoltsi (2003); the novel Ostannii postril (1989); the story “Erika” (2009); and a translation of selections from John Steinbeck’s Russian Journal (2010). Kolisnyk also wrote poetry and a number of works in English. He edited the journal Koordynator for the Ukrainian Cooperative Council of Canada (1985–90) and the veterans’ journal Visti kombatanta (from 2000).

Kolisnyk translated Sie wołlten die Freiheit by Wolf-Dietrich Heike with his own detailed commentary (appeared under the title Ukraïns′ka dyviziia “Halychyna” in 1970). He wrote and published the documentary study Viis'kova uprava ta Ukraïns'ka dyviziia “Halychyna” (1990; 2d ed., 2009), based predominantly on minutes of meetings of the military administration. Overall, Kolisnyk has more than 800 literary and scholarly works to his credit.

A generous man and a community activist, Kolisnyk has belonged to various organizations, worked with the Jewish-Ukrainian Society, and supported dissidents and democratic change in Ukraine. He is a member of the National Writers’ Union of Ukraine and the recipient of numerous awards. The Ternopil regional museum houses his personal archive (1,500 items), including his correspondence with prominent scholars, writers, and politicians from Ukraine and the diaspora.