Ukrainian Pioneers’ Association
Ukrainian Pioneers Endowment Fund
The Ukrainian Studies Program has flourished at the University of Alberta thanks to dedicated support from the Ukrainian community, including significant involvement from the Ukrainian Pioneers’ Association.
The Association was founded in 1941 by a group of local community activists, including Wm. Czumer, Wolodymyr Plawiuk, Thomas Tomashewsky and John Basarab. Belonging to the first generation of Ukrainian settlers in Alberta, their primary goal was to bring about a greater appreciation of Ukrainian culture in Alberta, while preserving and fostering its tradition.
The founders placed special importance on documenting and promoting the crucial role that the first Ukrainian immigrants played in developing Alberta, and their first project was publishing a book about Ukrainian pioneers of the region. The post-war depression caused the project to progress rather slowly, and the book, Ukrainian Pioneers of Alberta, edited by Joseph Lazarenko Q.C., did not come off the press until 1970.
Since that time, the Association has carried out a number of other publication projects and been involved in oral history projects, supported various education and scholarly initiatives and generously donated to local heritage institutions.
The President of the Association, Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky, a longtime and revered professor at the University of Alberta, started Ukrainian Studies at the University and fostered its growth into a full program. Under his leadership, the Association continues to actively preserve and promote the legacy of the previous generations of Ukrainians in the province.
The Ukrainian Pioneers Endowment Fund is the latest major achievement of the Association. The Endowment was created to advance scholarly research and disseminate knowledge related to Alberta’s Ukrainian-Canadian culture and history. The Peter and Doris Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore at the University of Alberta will administer the fund, which will continue to build the Ukrainian Studies program and enhance the presence of the Ukrainian community in Canada.