The National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy celebrated the opening of its new baccalaureate library on May 24. The renovated historic XIX century building was named in honor of its principal benefactors Tetiana and Omelian Antonovych from the United States, who donated one million dollars to this important project. The opening of the new library was made possible by the contributions of their major donation plus another million dollars from donors in Ukraine, the United States and Canada.
The renovated building has been updated with state of the art technical and electronic requirements. The new library is housed in one of many historic buildings from past centuries standing on the grounds of the Academy. These structures were reclaimed from national and city authorities and need complete renovation and preservation.
The Kyiv Mohyla Academy's administration and the university's Charitable Fund are committed to the ongoing preservation and renovation of these historic landmarks on its campus, which will be restored as the "Library - Archives - Museum Complex".
The new library is a symbol of the University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy's role in educating Ukraine's future leaders, in promoting legal and social reforms, and in restoring Ukraine's leading academic position in the world.
The new library would not have been possible without the generous donation of Omelian and Tetiana Antonovych and donors from Ukraine, the United States and Canada. The fundraising project was supported by 302 donors, a number which is comprised of 260 individuals (from Ukraine, the United States and Canada), and 42 corporations (23 from Ukraine, 18 from the United States and one from Canada). Under the leadership of its director Tetiana Yaroshenko, the current priority will be to complete the Library's collection of books, documents and electronic resources. All individuals or firms who were not able to contribute previously are welcome to do so in the future.
The official opening ceremony included numerous distinguished guests. Library Director Tetiana Yaroshenko, who spearheaded the renovation project led the proceedings. The program included speeches and greetings by Kyiv Mohyla Academy President Viacheslav Briukhovetsky, Co-chairman of Kyiv Mohyla Foundation and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Green Miller, member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and Director of the T. Shevchenko Institute of Literature Mykola Zhulynsky, former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien and president of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America Marta Farion. Present at the ceremonies were Ambassador Abina M. Dann of Canada and Ambassador Jacek Kluczkowksi of Poland, both strong supporters of the university. Also attending the proceedings were the president of Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union and chairman of the Ukrainian National Credit Union Association Bohdan Watral and renown Ukrainian writers Alexander Motyl from the United States and Vira Vowk from Brazil.
The absence of the library's principal donor Omelian Antonovych was sadly noted. He was not able to travel to the opening due to health reasons. Mr. Antonovych currently lives in Lviw, where he returned to live after decades of making his home in the United States.
At a separate ceremony held at the historic Research Library built by Hetman Ivan Mazepa in 1703, the Academic Council of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy awarded an honorary doctor's degree to Canada's former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in recognition of his special role in the building and development of bilateral relations between Ukraine and Canada. In his inspiring acceptance speech Prime Minister Jean Chrétien stated "I am pleased to become part of your Kyiv Mohyla family. I have great faith in the wisdom of the Ukrainian people and in the country's future." Based on his dedicated forty five years of public service to Canada, Prime Minister Chrétien called upon Kyiv Mohyla Academy to encourage its graduates to choose careers in government and to participate in building a stable and prosperous country for its people.
On behalf of Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America, Marta Farion stated that "the Kyiv Mohyla Academy continues its historic mission in education, academic research and publications by providing information, challenging discourse and an academic environment to stimulate the development of a free, democratic Ukraine. We are standing on the same ground where hundreds of years ago its first donor Halshka Hulevychivna, and then Petro Mohyla, Hetman Ivan Mazepa, Hetman Petro Konashevych Sahajdachnyj, Hetman Ivan Skoropadskyj and others inaugurated the tradition of supporting public causes in this university, a tradition which we reinstated in post Soviet times by contributing to the university and making this library possible."
The program continued with the performance of Kyiv Mohyla Academy's chamber choir "Pochayna" under the direction of Oleksandr Zhyhun and later with the music of the university's folk ensemble "Bozhytsi". Exhibits of photographs and art work by university students were displayed in the corridors of the new library and throughout the campus.
The ceremony ended with the presentation of the first two books to the library - a book belonging to Petro Mohyla and another belonging to Hetman Ivan Mazepa. Then a human chain of students and faculty was formed passing books from hand to hand into the new library as a symbol of mutual commitment to the search for knowledge and the passing of the university's academic legacy on to future generations. Within an hour close to three thousand books were deposited into the library. The library's collection will be available for use in the new academic year.