On 25 June 2014 Victor and Maria Rudewych, sponsors of many community and educational initiatives, announced their donation of $1.52 million to the Ukrainian Studies Support Fund (USSF) of the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria. The USSF is the granting body from which the Mykola Zerov Centre for Ukrainian Studies at Monash University has received much of its research funding in recent years. The gift is the largest single philanthropic donation that Australia’s Ukrainian community has seen to date.
In an arrangement to be formalised in a memorandum of understanding, the donors have stipulated that $300,000 of their gift be earmarked to finance, over three years, up to four PhD scholarships in Ukrainian Studies or in interdisciplinary areas involving Ukrainian Studies.
A further $220,000 is to be reserved for an expansion of the existing Monash Rudewych Ukrainian Language Scholarships in the years 2015-2019. Initially established in 2008 to encourage school students in Australia to take Ukrainian language as a Year 12 subject, provision was made last year to extend such encouragement to students from Year 7 onward. The current further expansion means that eight flagship Year 12 scholarships, valued at $2500 each, will be available each year for the duration of the present arrangement, while $24,000 per annum will be available for the scholarships in more junior years.
Signalling the Importance of Languages and Cultures
The donation more than doubles the USSF’s financial base and increases its ability to provide continuing support for Monash activities in Ukrainian Studies.
At a celebration of the donation the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Associate Professor Peter Howard, and Associate Professor Rita Wilson, Head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, emphasised the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship between the Ukrainian community and Monash University and welcomed the donation of Victor and Maria Rudewych not only as a contribution to the welfare of Ukrainian Studies at the University, but as a signal to the University as a whole and the Australian community at large of the importance of languages and cultures, and of the value the teaching of them, and research into them.
A Tradition of Philanthropy
Professor Marko Pavlyshyn, Director of the Mykola Zerov Centre for Ukrainian Studies, sketched the distinguished history of the benefactions of Victor and Maria Rudewych. Beneficiaries of their generosity include the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria, the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, the Ukrainian Youth Association (SUM), and the two Ukrainian community newspapers in Australia Church and Life and The Free Thought.
Mimivic Nominees, the company that Victor Rudewych and Maria Rudewych jointly built up, is a successful industrial development enterprise with the construction of 36 industrial facilities to its credit. Most are in Melbourne, others are in Queensland, South Australia and regional Victoria.
On numerous occasions Victor Rudewych has donated his time and professional expertise to Ukrainian community projects. Two that are of special importance are the construction of the headquarters of Dnister Ukrainian Credit Cooperative Ltd., which he project managed, and the development and establishment of the Ukrainian Elderly People’s Home, where Victor Rudewych’s input included finding and securing the land, negotiating for government funding, project managing the construction, and serving on the committee until the Home became a self-supporting concern.
Among the leaders of the Ukrainian community who lauded the magnanimity of Victor and Maria Rudewych were Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM, president of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, Mr Michael Moravski, president of the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria, and Ms Orysia Stefyn, president of the Ukrainian Education Council of Australia, the peak body for Ukrainian Saturday schools.
The focal point of the evening was the presentation of a cheque for the full amount of the donation to the chairperson of the Ukrainian Studies Support Fund Mr Marko Misko.
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