Ukrainian Foundation for College Education

For more than two decades, the Ukrainian Foundation for College Education has been supporting a range of URDC initiatives, from student and faculty exchanges with campuses in Ukraine to international health care collaborations and research.

For more than 25 years, UFCE has supported post-secondary institutions in the province through its volunteer and fundraising efforts, including the establishment of five endowments at MacEwan University totalling approximately $9 million. Through these endowments, UFCE and MacEwan work together to advance international scholarly and educational activities and to establish resources connected to Ukraine and its diaspora, which includes more than 400,000 members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Alberta.

In 2020, MacEwan University nominated UFCE for the National Philanthropy Award, which celebrates an organization's philanthropic and charitable spirit. The nomination was successful, with UFCE being recognized in the education category. Congratulations! 

History of UFCE

Since 1994, the Ukrainian Foundation for College Education has contributed to MacEwan’s Ukrainian Resources and Development Centre’s projects and partnership. Learn about the evolution of the foundation's first 25 years.

The first 25 years

Board of Directors

UFCE board members are committed to supporting educational programs and cultural exchanges between Canada and Ukraine.

Dr. Olenka Bilash, a faculty member at the University of Alberta, is passionate about language, culture and intercultural competency education. She teaches research methodology and is pleased to be collaborating with the Faculty of Nursing and URDC to offer a program on qualitative research methodology with MacEwan’s partner, Ternopil National Medical University (TNMU).

Dr. Bilash has received awards for her scholarship (1999), teaching (1999, 2000, 2010, 2020) and service, including the Alberta Centennial Medal (2005); Hetman Award of the UCC-APC (2020); and International and Heritage Language Association Awards (1990, 1999, 2001) and has been made a sister by several Cree and Blackfoot communities. She also serves as acting director of the Ukrainian Language Education Centre (ULEC) at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, editor of the Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) Canada newsletter and North American representative of the board of directors of Linguapax (Barcelona). She has supervised dozens of graduate students to degree completion.

From 1974 to 1987, Dr. Ernie Skakun was employed as a psychometrician by the R.S. McLaughlin Examination and Research Centre, the testing arm of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. From 1987 to 2004, he held the position of director of Psychometrics, Division of Studies in Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta. His curriculum vita shows 78 publications, 155 presentations and 179 reports.

Dr. Skakun is the recipient of the Dr. Louis Lavasseur Award (2004) for a significant contribution to the assessment program of the Medical Council of Canada, which is responsible for licensing physicians in Canada, and has a leadership award named after him. He currently serves as a public member on the Board of Examiners of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta and volunteers in a variety of community organizations. He has served as UFCE’s president.

Details coming.

Details coming.

In 2007, after 28 years of service, Len Hudyma retired from the Edmonton Police Service, as a detective in the criminal investigation section. Presently, he works as a gaming consultant for charities in Alberta and monitors money laundering in Edmonton-area casinos. He is a long-time board member of the Strathcona Ukrainian Bilingual Association (SUBA), a board member of UFCE and a trustee on UFCE Trust for the past 10 years. The Hudyma family remains active in the community, promoting Ukrainian bilingual education programs, as well as Ukrainian dance, choir and cultural activities. Len has lived in Sherwood Park for 38 years.

Ivan Fedyna is recently retired from the Government of Alberta as the chief architect, Information Services for the Transportation and Infrastructure departments. He previously worked with IBM Canada (25 years), AGT (Telus) and Gulf Canada Resources. Ivan has a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering from the University of Alberta and is certified as a Professional Engineer with APEGA.

Currently, Ivan is the president and chorister of the Kappella Kyrie Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Melanie Turgeon of Kings University. He is also a chorister with the Edmonton Opera Chorus, Verkhovyna Song and Dance Ensemble and the St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral church choir under the direction of Denise Lucyshyn.

Ivan was the past president and past vice-president of the board of directors for the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex (UYUC) in which he oversaw seven additional internal executive organizations including a youth group, a performance song/dance group, a dance school and community action groups. He served 19 years as an executive director in various additional capacities and directly managed numerous UYUC infrastructure upgrade projects totalling just over $1 million. As president, he managed a yearly operational budget of $500 thousand+ with revenue generated from banquet services and was responsible for $6 million in assets.

Ivan's additional past community roles include: vice-president of the Ukrainian Youth Association, fundraising chairperson for the Verkhovyna Song and Dance Ensemble, parish council director for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church (Calgary) and treasurer for the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Calgary).

Ivan’s other interests include golfing, back-country hiking, gardening and flying radio controlled aircraft. He holds a private pilot’s license and is qualified as a glider instructor.

Details coming.

Rena Hanchuk is the founding president of the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts (ACUA) (1986), where she served for more than 20 years. She is a retired highschool history teacher, spending 20 years in the Ukrainian bilingual programme. She also taught Ukrainian and Russian for seven years at the University of Alberta and the University of Regina. She continues on in the classroom by teaching Ukrainian language to adults.

Rena is the author The Word and Wax: A Medical Folk Ritual Among Ukrainians in Alberta (1999). As well as serving on the UFCE board, she volunteers for the Wounded Ukrainian Volunteers Fund and the Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society. She is an editor for a local arts magazine, ACUA Vitae. She has received a Hetman leadership award (2007); an honourary lifetime ACUA membership (1998); Stars of the Millennium volunteerism Award (2001); Award of Appreciation from the Canadian Parliamentary Democracy (2003); Alberta Provincial Historic Sites Award (1990) and the E.G. Hale Award for outstanding achievement in French language (1978). She remains active with her Ukrainian St. Nicholas Church and sings in its choir and in the Dnipro Ukrainian Choir.

Dr. Maryana Kravtsenyuk has been a member of the Ukrainian community in Calgary and Edmonton since 2011 and joined the UFCE Board in 2019. She completed post-graduate psychiatry training at the University of Alberta, completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of Toronto and has been working within the health care and criminal justice systems in Alberta and Ontario for the last five years. She organized a seminar about PTSD for health care professionals in Kiev, Ukraine several years ago and hopes to continue sharing her skills and experience with colleagues in Ukraine.

Details coming.

Details coming.

Details coming.

Dr. Roman Petryshy is the founding director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at MacEwan University. A published author and academic, community visionary and boundary spanner, he has contributed to numerous collaborative international teams across Canada and with Ukraine. For his tireless commitment to multiculturalism and Ukrainian community development, he has received the Queens Jubilee Medal (2002); Alberta Centennial Medal (2005); Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, elected foreign member (2007); Hetman Award of the UCC-APC (2006); MacEwan Outstanding Service Award (1997) and Filipino Community Award (1990).

For his ability to work collaboratively on international projects in four faculties and his commitment to fostering the MacEwan Spirit by putting MacEwan University on the map throughout Ukraine and within the Ukrainian Canadian community, he was honoured with the MacEwan Medallion in 2015.

Details coming.

Details coming.

George Zaharia spent 23 years in research, administrative, human resources and financial functions with the University of Alberta and a provincial public health organization. He is currently the general manager of a new cemetery and was responsible for the purchase of the land in 1998 through its development into a cemetery. He oversees the establishment of all required administrative structures, conducts sales of all services and conducts all maintenance. He is simultaneously involved with quasi-judicial hearings, starting with the Edmonton Assessment Review Board in 2006 and now with the Province of Alberta Municipal Government Board from 2013. He has served as a board member and president of the Ukrainian Foundation for College Education, appointed as a board member in 1999, in addition to serving on a multitude of volunteer organizational boards, often serving as president.

Our benefactors, Drs. Doris and Peter Kule

In 2008, Drs. Peter and Doris Kule were awarded MacEwan's Distinguished Citizen Award in recognition of their many contributions to education. A new documentary celebrates their philanthropy and the transformative impact of their generosity.

Drs. Peter and Doris Kule

Dr. Peter Kule

Dr. Doris Kule

Documentary: Celebrating Edmonton’s Own Philanthropist