80th Birthday Celebrations for Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky, Leading Philanthropist

Bohdan Medwidsky

The staff and members of the Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore (KuFC), Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives (BMUFA), and Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Centre extend congratulations to Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky on the celebration of his 80th birthday.

Dr. Medwidsky was born in Ukraine and spent his youth in Switzerland and Toronto.  In 1971 Dr. Medwidsky came to the University of Alberta from Ontario where he held teaching positions at both Toronto and Carleton Universities. In 1977, as Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and Eastern European Studies, Dr. Medwidsky saw the demand for Ukrainian folklore instruction. Through his determination and dedication he created the first Ukrainian folklore class, and then program in western Canada. The large population of Ukrainian families in the Edmonton area made the University of Alberta an ideal location for these folklore classes.   In 1991 he was promoted to Full Professor and in 2002 he retired and became Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Medwidsky was the driving force behind the creation of the KuFC, as well as the growth of the archive that now proudly bears his name. The Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives (BMUFA) is the largest North American repository of Ukrainian and Canadian-Ukrainian folklore materials. It was founded in 1977 when Bohdan Medwidsky assembled students' fieldwork projects from his first course on Ukrainian folklore.  He wanted a rich, vibrant and lasting resource for the study of diverse Ukrainian traditions.  The Archives house unique collections of fieldwork materials that document traditional cultural expressions and knowledge, ethnographic documents and artifacts, and extensive library holdings.  The BMUFA is open to students, scholars, and the general public. It is used in teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses related to Ukrainian Folklore. It is also used by outside researchers for studies related to Ukrainian and Canadian folklore, and as a resource for continuing community outreach projects and publications.

Dr. Medwidsky continues to work tirelessly as a dedicated community member, volunteer, and ambassador.

He engages with the Kule Folklore Centre very actively, coming into the office daily, working on the ideas for the Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Centre Society, Ukrainian bilingual education, fundraising, and for the Ukrainian Canadian community in general. He always brings a smile and often, a proverb to support his great folklore initiatives.

In 2014, Dr. Medwidsky was honored as an academic, builder of the Ukrainian Folklore program, community activist, fundraiser and philanthropist at an event - “An Evening with Bohdan Medwidsky,” – held in his honour.  The event also marked the 35th Anniversary of the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives (BMUFA).

At that event, the Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Centre also announced the launch of a $1 million dollar fundraising campaign to create a scholarship fund to support graduate students studying Ukrainian Folklore.  That fund continues to grow in honour of Dr. Medwidsky’s vision. Donations can still be made to the “Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Fund”.  Please contact  ukrfolk@ualberta.ca for more information.