Wasyl and Anna Kuryliw Fund - Ivan Franko Scholarship

Anna and Wasyl KuryliwThis family foundation was made possible by the generous donations of Wasyl and Anna Kuryliw in 1988. Born in Ukraine, the Kuryliws immigrated to Canada and settled in Sudbury, Ontario. For over 50 years, Mr. Kuryliw worked for the International Nickel Company of Sudbury. Both were dedicated and longstanding volunteers in the Ukrainian community. Their children now continue this family tradition of community involvement.

The Kuryliws chose to honour the eminent Ukrainian writer and ethnographer Ivan Franko by establishing their scholarship in his name. The mandate of the endowment is to provide scholarships to graduate students enrolled in the Ukrainian Folklore Program at the University of Alberta.

Thanks to Kuryliw family scholarship, the Kule Folklore Centre is able to support four to five students per year in their studies. Students come from around the world to study Ukrainian Folklore. Without this generous support, they would not have been able to pursue their academic goals.

Huculak Chair of Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography

Erast Huculak

The Huculak Chair is an endowed professorial position at the University of Alberta. Dr. Andriy Nahachewsky occupied the chair until his retirement in 2018. He conducted research, undertook projects and taught courses in the Ukrainian Folklore Program. In July 2020, Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen has become the Huculak Chair.

The establishment of the Huculak Chair was made possible by a major donation from Erast and Lydia Huculak as well as other donors. The Huculaks had responded to a fundraising drive for the Ukrainian ethnography program in what was then the Department of Slavic and East European Studies.

Because of the size of their donation, made in 1987, the central endowment of the Chair was named after them. At that time, gifts to the Ukrainian Folklore Program were matched on a 2:1 basis by the Government of Alberta. The Chair was officially opened and celebrated at the University of Alberta on September 19, 1989. Today, the combined endowments in Ukrainian ethnography have a market value of over $2.4 million.

The Huculak Chair has established a unique niche in Ukrainian studies worldwide because it is perfectly positioned to act as a bridge linking Ukrainian and Western scholarship. Western scholars benefit when the Chair's projects give increased access to the wealth of ethnographic resources accumulated by Ukrainian scholars. Ukrainian scholars benefit from western ideas and methods. Apart from being able to provide financial and organizational support for Ukrainian ethnographic projects that could not otherwise be undertaken in Ukraine, the Huculak Chair also encourages study of the vibrant Ukrainian-Canadian culture that has evolved in Canada over the past 100 years.

In his autobiography My Wooden Suitcase - A Memoir, Dr. Huculak shares his philosophy regarding philanthropy: "Help others, and that goodwill will return to you a hundredfold. This is truly how I've tried to live my life." His philosophy has benefited many and his legacy will live on.

Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives Endowment

Bohdan MedwidskyThe Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives (BMUFA) is the largest North American repository of Ukrainian and Canadian-Ukrainian folklore materials. The archives was founded in 1977 when Bohdan Medwidsky assembled students' fieldwork projects from his first course on Ukrainian folklore. Dr. Medwidsky's vision is the development of a rich, vibrant and lasting resource for the study of diverse Ukrainian traditions.It is open to students, scholars, and the general public. It is used in teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses related to the BA, MA and PhD programs in Ukrainian Folklore. It is also used by outside researchers for studies related to Ukrainian and Canadian folklore, and as a resource for continuing community outreach projects and publications.

Dr. Medwidsky was born in Ukraine and spent his youth in Switzerland and Toronto. He joined the University of Alberta faculty in 1971, where he has been the driving force in developing the Kule Folklore Centre, degree programs in the field, and many community-based projects promoting Ukrainian culture.

The Ukrainian Folklore Archives were renamed the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives in 2003 to honour Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky. The BMUFA is part of the Peter and Doris Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore (Kule Folklore Centre) at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.

Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography

The Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography was established by a major donation from Drs. Peter and Doris Kule to the University of Alberta. The Kule Chair is administered through the Kule Folklore Centre and participates in its projects. The professor holding the Kule Chair teaches Ukrainian folklore classes and other folklore themed classes in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies.


The Kule Chair is only the second endowed professorship ever in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. The Kule Chair is a permanent professorial position. Dr. Natalie Kononenko occupied the position from 2004 to 2019. The position is currently held by Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn.

Peter Kule was born in the Rohatyn area in western Ukraine and came to Canada just before World War Two. He established a practice as a Chartered Accountant and engaged in a variety of developments and investments. Doris Kule was born near Willingdon, Alberta, and enjoyed a long and successful career as a teacher. Both Peter and Doris have contributed freely of their time and skills in service to their church and their community.

The Kules have shown their great generosity by making substantial donations to many institutions, especially those with charitable, educational and religious focus. In particular, they have been great benefactors of St. Paul University in Ottawa, where they have endowed three chairs in the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute in Eastern Christian Studies. They each received honorary doctoral degrees from St. Paul University in 1998. We celebrate their continued vision and beneficience in founding the Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography.

 Mike and Elsie Kawulych Family Endowment

Mike and Elsie KawulychMike and Elsie Kawulych and their family have been contributing to Ukrainian folklore endowments for decades and have established a special endowment in their name for student awards. The endowment is designated to the Peter and Doris Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore to support scholarships, fellowships, awards, and other support for the students of Ukrainian folklore.

The Kawulychs have contributed greatly to community life in Vegreville and around Alberta. Elsie was admitted into the Order of Canada in 2012, one of her many awards.


Ukrainian Pioneers Endowment Fund

The Ukrainian Pioneers Endowment Fund was established at the Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta in 2008 to support Ukrainian cultural activities, publishing of books on Ukrainian life in Canada, and bilingual studies. It provides support to the following activities:

  • research in the history and culture of Ukrainian Canadians;
  • production of the publications and educational materials on the topics related to the history and culture of Ukrainian Canadians;
  • acquisition, preservation, and processing of publications and archival records from members of the local Ukrainian community to the Kule Folklore Centre or the Ukrainian Pioneers Association;
  • purchase and distribution of books on the Ukrainian experience in Canada to Alberta libraries and schools and as gifts for dignitaries on special occasions;
  • redistribution of the acquired materials among Canadian and Diaspora Studies Centres to relevant institutions worldwide;
  • organization of conferences, public lectures and seminars related to the Ukrainian Canadian history and culture.

The Ukrainian Pioneers Association of Alberta was initiated by Wasyl Czumer and Wolodymyr Plawiuk. Shortly thereafter Dmytro Ferbey, Tom Tomashewsky and John Basarab joined it. The first meetings were held in March of 1941, and on March 31, 1941 the organization was registered with the Provincial government.