On February 1, UCU hosted winter graduation celebrations. 100 students with Master’s Degrees in Theology, Christian Pedagogy, Technology and Innovation in Social Work, Data Science, Nonprofit Management, Human Rights, and History successfully took another step in their academic and professional careers.

Let’s see how UCU celebrated graduation.

After dressing in their gowns, the happy graduates, along with their parents, teachers, deans and program leaders, went to the University Church to start the celebration with the Divine Liturgy, headed by UCU graduate and the youngest Catholic bishop in the world, Stepan Sus.

“Today, leaving these walls, you are already different,” he said to the graduates. – “This is the vocation of UCU – to make people different, better, capable of something special. There will be times in your life when you doubt the choice you made; situations where diplomas can mean little, but you need to give advice and give the right answers to life’s challenges. In these circumstances, do not be afraid to gaze at the diploma you will receive today.

“See what it says: Ukrainian Catholic University. This should encourage you, not to be afraid to go forward, not to be afraid of others, to be proud that God has given us the opportunity and the chance to be educated at UCU,” said UCU graduate Bishop Stepan Sus.

With a prayer and the hymn of Ukraine, the second part of the festivities began. Some graduates greeted the audience, and Rev Bohdan Prach, UCU Rector, and Rev Ihor Boyko, Rector of Holy Spirit Seminary, also addressed those in attendance.

“Don’t be afraid to seek the truth and seek God,” Rev. Bohdan Prach encouraged the graduates to continue their path of service. “Don’t be afraid of challenges, even when they seem to frighten you. The Lord always gives us enough strength to meet those challenges. We will always be with you – come back to us whether  mentally or physically, as often as you can. Our doors are always open, we are always here.”

Speech of invited guest

This year, the motivational speech was delivered by a friend of the university, a top smart city project manager, and IBM security and privacy coordinator at IBM, Stephen Rousseau,  who was introduced by Yaroslav Prytula, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

The invited speaker spoke to the graduates with an explanation of the metaphor of a “surviving tree,” referring to a tree that burned during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack but survived through attention and concern: “It was badly damaged, its branches broken and burned and its roots torn off and covered with tons of debris, and yet on one of the branches workers noticed several young leaves. The crippled tree fought for life! It was transplanted, provided with water, nutrients and sunlight … The following spring, a dove built its nest on new branches. This seemed like a sign. The tree has returned home to Ground Zero, where it is growing and flourishing today. It is known as the Survival Tree, as it withstood all its trials and began to flourish! ”

“UCU has given you the opportunity to grow on fertile soil where your mind, heart and faith have been nurtured,” he continued. – “Thinking about your goals, think about how to plant the seeds of your knowledge and experience. How do you multiply and return the gifts you receive? How to truly change the world?”

Valedictorian 2020 Speech

This year, Natalia Datchenko, a graduate of the Master’s Program in Innovation and Technology in Social Work, received the title of “Valedictorian 2020.” In her speech, Natalia told about her educational and life path – from political science and management to social work and service: “I felt that I lacked knowledge for further growth, namely, a deep understanding of human weakness and needs, as well as the ability of local communities to respond to these needs. ”

According to the graduate, UCU is based on the values ​​of trust, openness and subsidiarity – which is what Natalia Datchenko defines as a major contribution to her professional position: “The conditions we studied made me personally feel deeply grateful and respectful of the people who created this university, who made it modern and welcoming, without special government support and budgetary funds. I have something to compare with, so I can boldly call UCU a Ukrainian miracle.”

“I was lucky enough to get a job at the United Nations. I always dreamed about this,” said the graduate.” It was at the UN that I felt the true meaning of social work as a mission. Working there, I became completely financially independent and professionally fulfiled. I was mistaken in my assumptions about the inferiority of social work, and this understanding had to mature,” admits the graduate.

And one of the soft skills that UCU forms in college students is the ability to dream and consistently approach their goals.

Daria Reznyk, a graduate of the Master’s Program in History and Archeology, says that she entered UCU for a master’s degree, because she was sure that she would be able to come closer to her dream here – and she was not mistaken. “My dream is to become a prominent scientist,” the girl says, “and my first meeting with UCU was during a scientific conference.”

“At the time, I was still studying for a third-year undergraduate degree at another university, and having seen a huge library and met with prominent professors whose work I had already studied, I realized that I wanted to study here. Over the course of a year and a half, I have participated in several conferences, participated in a scientific internship, and was able to change priorities and broaden my scientific interests.”

Andriy Kurochkin has just completed his Master’s of Science in Data Science. He says training was not easy, so he is proud he was able to complete it successfully. Andriy talks about his dreams, in particular, he wants to devote time to studying sociology with the use of big data: “This industry is narrow, but it has great potential, which is why I would like to do it. I also have a dream to teach, to share the experience that I have already accumulated, because I worked before and during my studies,” the graduate added.

“In addition to my internships and major projects, I also worked at UCU during my studies – and I consider myself a success with the projects that I can do and can do much better now – thanks to the education I received. I also found friends and confidence here – both as a person and as a professional.” So a graduate of the Master’s Program in Nonprofit Organizations Management and the head of projects and programs of the UCU Recruitment Division, Ostap Machinski, shares the major achievements of his studies.

Speech on behalf of the Alumni Association

After receiving diplomas and academic honors summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude and the traditional tassel tip, Roman Nazarenko, a representative of the Alumni Association, a graduate and a university teacher, delivered a concluding speech comparing UCU to the University of Magic at Hogwarts School: “Both study not only how the visible world works, but also how an invisible work works.

“And finally, they both have some kind of inner magic: no matter where you come from, whether you work, teach or study, whether you are a metropolitan or just a friend of ours, everyone here is united by the community. It is a great privilege that will always help you, if necessary, but it is also a responsibility: Will UCU become a community for a few years or a family for life?” Roman Nazarenko summed up.