Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, spoke in praise of Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) and answered various questions about Ukraine at the Midwest Virtual Fundraiser for UCU held on November 8 and organized by Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation. Archbishop Borys Gudziak, President of UCU, also spoke to supporters, and singer Taras Chubay provided musical entertainment.

Ambassador Taylor emphasized that UCU “represents the highest standards of integrity and leadership.”

He added that UCU’s graduates and students can help Ukraine in many ways: “some in the military, some in government, the private sector, agriculture, commerce…”

He also responded to various questions asked him by UCEF supporters, including:

  • the short-term and long-term challenges that Ukraine is facing at this point

  • Ukraine’s future in the next year

  • changes in U.S. policy towards Ukraine with a new administration

Event attendees also heard from Daryna Sudarchyk, an UCU student now studying in Istambul. Sudarchuk is a scholarship recipient hailing from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and in her fourth year of study in the Ethics-Politics-Economics program. Among other things studying in Turkey the Arabic and Turkish languages, Sudarchuk explained: “Here I can see how this part of the world sees itself, sees international relations, and even how it sees, for example, the relations between Turkey and Ukraine.” She thanked the various benefactors who have supported her education over four years.

UCU President Archbishop Gudziak spoke of the fruits of UCU’s ongoing work. For example, he noted: “There’s probably about 500 priests that are UCU graduates helping throughout the world.” He had visiting him a graduate of UCU’s theology program, Anatoliy Nishtuk, who recently won a $750,000 grant for a rehab project in the Ukrainian city of Kremenets and himself pledged $1,000 to support his alma mater.

“It’s a pleasure for me to reiterate,” emphasized the archbishop, “that UCU is doing well,” facing and overcoming today’s challenges, forming students and reaching out to society, “like a tugboat pulling the entire system of higher education in Ukraine forward.”

As part of the opening prayer, Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Ukrainian Catholic Eparch of the Parma Diocese, thanked God “for the gift of [UCU’s] leaders, for their ability to stand and lead us in these trying times.” Students of the UCU choir then sang the “Our Father.”

A brief video about UCU showed, among other things, the first entrants to UCU’s bachelor’s in law degree program. As first-year law student Stanislav Pytkivskyi said when asked why he chose UCU: “It’s much more interesting to study with smart people.”

Rock singer and UCU supporter Taras Chubay performed a few numbers throughout the event, starting with “Chervona Ruta,” in honor of the popular song’s 50th anniversary.

Among the sponsors recognized during the event were friends and family of the late Marta Kolomayets, a great friend of UCU and herself a former leader at UCEF, who started a fund to support journalism students.

UCU Rector Fr. Bohdan Prach, PhD, greeted virtually-assembled supporters and later said the closing prayer, also with the help of the UCU choir.

Thanks to the generosity of the event’s donors, the afternoon of music, information and appreciation of UCU and its students was deemed a great success.