Ukrainian Catholic University can operate and develop thanks to the great amount of people who believe in its mission. These are: motivated students who choose UCU, professional professors who create a quality academic environment, staff who keep things running smoothly, and also benefactors who generously support the university.

Olga Sunden is one of those who generously takes part in UCU’s development. She was born in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine. At 16, she entered the Journalism Institute of Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. In her third year of studies, she began to work: “We had to work, to support ourselves. We had no place to gather, converse, and share ideas. We lived in very simple conditions,” she explained.

Eventually, through her work, Olga met her future husband, Jed Sunden, founder of KP Media.

“My husband is an American. He came to Ukraine in 1993 to write his thesis on the Holocaust and Babyn Yar, and he stayed here. Eventually, he founded the English-language newspaper ‘Kyiv Post.’ He’s a journalist-historian by education. His mission was to establish an independent press in Ukraine and tell the truth. For 23 years he did everything possible to achieve this goal. At his publishing house, a generation of talented journalists grew up; now they are the basis of the free press. He and I share common values. Jed left Ukraine during the time of Yanukovych, because he could not continue his work,” explained Olga.

In America, Olga and her husband continued to support Ukrainian journalism, in particular through Ukrainian Catholic University. She explained: “My husband and I are practicing Jews. For us, education is the foundation of the nation, so we are always looking for educational programs which we can support. Ukrainian Catholic University is the most coherent, professional, and organized university, particularly in the area of fundraising. We have no doubt that our donations are helping the needs of students.”

When asked why they decided to support a Catholic university, Ms. Sunden answered: “Education here comes not only through the prism of religion. It’s about the individual student’s choice; he or she can choose a major of personal interest. We decided to provide scholarship support in journalism, because this field is near and dear to us; my husband and I are journalists. The values that the university promotes are consonant with those that we think will develop journalism. Now, with the war, we all need to oppose the enemy but at the same time not forget to provide for the education of young Ukrainians, so that they become the foundation of the nation and move it in the right direction.”

Ms. Sunden and her family recently traveled to Ukraine and attended UCU’s Farewell to Caroling event, where she was able to meet her scholarship student and find out about her achievements and successes.

“When you meet the actual person whom you are supporting with a scholarship, you see what you’re investing in. You understand that the young person has goals, motivation, that she appreciates what she is receiving,” emphasized Olga.

Olga Sunden and Indira Urusova

Olga Sunden and Indira Urusova

Indira Urusova, the student of the Master’s Program in Media Communications that the family of Olga Sunden supports, shared her impressions of the meeting: “Ms. Sunden, the supporter of my scholarship, is a wonderful person. She took such an interest in my story and thanked me for continuing my studies even in such difficult times. This aid for my studies is not only an investment in the future, but it also motivates me eventually to become a benefactor and help other students.”

Olga also shared her impressions of the UCU campus: “When I studied, we had no coworking, no place to relax in a beautiful space, where you can gather, chat, exchange ideas. I’m impressed that this university is at the level of an international company. I am sure that those who study here get filled with ideas, the desire to create something new, to move ahead and to do great things. UCU’s atmosphere is stimulating and inspiring. Here the question is not about simply arranging the space. That has all been decided. Just study and create. It’s incredible.”

In addition to supporting education, Olga and her husband also actively support Ukraine’s army: “Americans need to understand that Russia won’t stop at Ukraine. If it takes our country, it will start to kill other people, as it did before. It is destroying and will continue to destroy our nation. And it won’t stop with this, the Baltic countries and Europe will be next.”