Canadian philanthropist donates $1.2 million to Ukrainian Catholic University

James Temerty, a prominent Canadian businessman and philanthropist, has donated $1.2 million to fund Ukrainian-Jewish interfaith relations at Lviv’s Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU).

The major gift was announced by Borys Wrzesnewskyj, a former Canadian parliamentarian, on Nov. 12 in Toronto after a meeting with the university’s rector, Rev. Fr. Borys Gudziak, who has been traveling throughout North America in an effort to raise funds for the university.

UCU is one of Ukraine’s leading educational institutions. More than 1,500 students are enrolled in full- and part-time study at the Lviv-based University. It houses six research institutes and is the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union. The university has been a frequent target by the government since President Viktor Yanukovych came to power.

Other gifts announced included a $100,000 donation from the Wrzesnewskyj family, a $5,000 gift from the Ukrainian Credit Union Limited, a financial institution founded in 1944, as well as from individual donors.

The Temerty funds will be used to create three endowed professorships at UCU. One will be dedicated to the Ukrainian-Jewish encounter and interfaith relations, another for a program of Jewish studies in the context of Central and East European history, and the third for biblical studies.

Temerty, who was born in Donetsk Oblast and is of Orthodox faith, has been a driving force in opening a dialogue between the Ukrainian and Jewish communities. He is the founder of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, an initiative launched in 2008 to promote stronger and deeper relations between Ukrainians and Jews. Along with his other philanthropic activities, Temerty has made large donations to the Business School of the University of Kyiv Mohyla
Academy. Temerty is the founder and chairman of Northland Power, which develops and operates clean and green power generation projects, primarily in three Canadian provinces.

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