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Walter-Baranetsky-In-MemoryWalter Baranetsky (January 6, 1920 - February 18, 2016) was an original member of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Board of Directors and served a long and dedicated tenure to 2005.

Walter dedicated much of his life to supporting and leading the Ukrainian Institute of America through various phases of its history. He became an active member in 1977. In the 1990’s, Mr. Baranetsky served as President multiple times. His time as President coincided with his position as head of the non-profit Coordinating Committee to Aid Ukraine, and in this capacity, he established a large network of contacts in Ukraine. Walter was able to leverage these relationships to bring to the Ukrainian Institute renowned literary figures such as Ivan Drach, Dmytro Pavlychko and others, as well as Ukrainian government officials including President Kravchuk, who visited the Institute twice. Mr. Baranetsky also provided invaluable philanthropic support for UIA initiatives and projects, especially to those involving the preservation of the Institute’s landmark building at 2 East 79th Street in New York City.

The footprints that he left behind will have a lasting impact on the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Ukrainian Institute of Americ and the other organizations to which he belonged.

Walter (Volodymyr) was the beloved husband of Christina Isidora Baranetsky; devoted father of Nicholas Baranetsky and Adrian Baranetsky and his wife Alexandra; loving grandfather of Mikolaya Nynka and husband, Marko, Larissa Raphael and husband, Michael, Christina Olesnycky and husband, Andrew, Victoria Baranetsky and Andrew Baranetsky and the cherished great grandfather of Lukash and Terenya Nynka and Adrianna Olesnycky.



John William RyanJohn William Ryan (August 12, 1929 – August 6, 2011) was a member of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundations Board of Directors from 1993 to 2011. He was an American academic administrator who most notably served as the President of Indiana University for sixteen years.

Early life and career

Ryan was born in Chicago, Illinois and earned a B.A. from the University of Utah in 1951 and master's and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University in 1958 and 1959, respectively.  While in graduate school, Ryan served in two professional roles: First, as a research analyst in the Kentucky Department of Revenue, then in establishing the graduate public administration program at Thammasat University. After graduating, he taught political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1962, he became executive assistant to the president of the University of Massachusetts Amherst before moving to Arizona State University at Tempe to assume the vice presidency for academic affairs. He returned East to serve as the first chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1965.

Indiana University

In July 1968, Ryan returned to Indiana University to become vice president for regional campuses and became its fourteenth president on January 26, 1971. His 16 years of service to the university saw the establishment of two new IU campuses in New Albany (Indiana University Southeast) and in Richmond (Indiana University East), the formation of various cultural centers on the Bloomington campus, and the creation of the School of Journalism, the School of Continuing Studies, the School of Optometry, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  Ryan retired in 1987 and was immediately appointed President Emeritus of Indiana University. He remained an active figure within the university, both as a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and as a member of several boards and committees.

On September 4, 2009, John Ryan was awarded the University Medal, IU's highest nonacademic award. According to an IU press release, "The University Medal honors individuals for singular or noteworthy contributions, including service to the university and achievement in arts, letters, science and law. It is the only medal that requires approval by the IU Board of Trustees. The presentation was a particularly special occasion, because it was Ryan who, as president, created the University Medal in 1982, bestowing it first on Thomas T. Solley, director of the IU Art Museum. Ryan is only the 10th person to receive the medal."

In the 1979 movie classic Breaking Away he played the part as himself where the students are being lectured on their behavior at the dining hall where they fought the Cutters (a reference to stonecutters who worked in the limestone quarries in southern Indiana).

The State University of New York

After retiring from Indiana University, Ryan took on temporary administrative roles, acting as interim president at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and at Florida Atlantic University, and advising the Papua New Guinea Commission for Higher Education.

In 1996, Ryan stepped in to fill the Chancellorship of the State University of New York after his predecessor abruptly resigned.  He was asked to assume the full Chancellorship in 1997 and stepped down at the end of 1999.

- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Dr. George F. HammDr. George F. Hamm, a member of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Board of Directors for 9 years, died on October 10, 2010.

Dr. Hamm, 79, was President Emeritus of The University of Texas at Tyler and served as president of the university from 1981 to 1998, leading it through an era of dynamic expansion and broadening its commitment to intellectual development, academic excellence and community service.

Hamm's death followed a lengthy illness. He was born June 26, 1931, in Rapid City, S.D., son of Michael and Mae (Howard) Hamm.

Hamm was a devoted member of Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Tyler.

In honor of his contributions to the development of UT Tyler, the UT System Board of Regents conferred on him the title of President Emeritus in 2003, stating: "One of Dr. Hamm's most significant accomplishments was his leadership in working with the legislature and other community leaders in elevating UT Tyler to four-year status in 1997."

When he announced plans for retirement, Hamm described his years at UT Tyler "as the best and happiest years of my professional life," and stated, "With each succeeding year, Janie and I have accumulated greater numbers of friends and more enduring relations. The university has grown significantly in stature because of its ever increasing numbers of generous benefactors."

Hamm was responsible for raising private gifts to supplement university funds for construction of the R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center at UT Tyler. He established the university's Distinguished Lecture Series, which has featured such speakers as Henry Kissinger, Coretta Scott King and William F. Buckley.

During his presidency, Hamm secured approval for establishment of the college of engineering, the first at a state university in East Texas. He worked to create UT Tyler's campuses in Longview and Palestine. New degree programs included master's degrees in nursing, history, mathematics, biology and political science. His commitment to building and retaining faculty excellence brought scholars from leading universities around the nation to UT Tyler.

Hamm's leadership also led to construction of UT Tyler's first on-campus student housing, the University Pines complex. The complex was one of the first in Texas to be built entirely with private funds.

In recognition of his commitment to academic excellence, friends of the university established the $500,000 George F. Hamm Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities to advance awareness of ethical principles, social responsibilities, and appreciation of the arts and a respect for the dignity and uniqueness of others. In addition, Hamm created numerous endowed presidential scholarships during his presidency.

One of Hamm's ongoing priorities was expanding global educational opportunities and pursuing international relationships for the city of Tyler and the university. He cultivated exchange programs with universities in France, Japan, Germany, Poland and Mexico.

The Tyler Sister Cities Program began in 1982 in large part because of his leadership and energy. Tyler's current sister city relationships established with his support and encouragement include Yachiyo City, Japan, and Jelenia Gora, Poland.

He established the Eisenhower International Golf Classic in 1987 to benefit international scholarship programs. This event, which was continued for 13 years, brought to East Texas such stars as Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Payne Stewart, Fred Couples, Annika Sorenstam and Chi Chi Rodriguez.

At the national and international level, Dr. Hamm served for many years on the board of directors of Sister Cities International.

Hamm was a graduate of South Dakota State University, where he attended on a football scholarship. He served in Uijeongbu as an officer in the U.S. Army 32nd Infantry Regiment during the Korean War. After the war he earned a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Wyoming.

His career in higher education administration and teaching begin in 1962 when he was named dean of students at Arizona State University. He went on to become vice president of student affairs, the position he held when he was named president of UT Tyler. Arizona State honored Hamm in 1986 with its University Centennial Medallion as a "'Man Ahead of His Times,' for providing equal educational opportunities for minorities."

U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall sponsored a congressional resolution commending Hamm in 1998 for his "unmatched leadership and vision to the university." The resolution stated, "As president of UT Tyler, Dr. Hamm dedicated his intellect, talents and energy to build a first-rate educational institution in East Texas. His goals were for many years elusive dreams, but thanks to his vision, perseverance and leadership, these dreams have become reality."

Locally, Hamm served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Tyler Economic Development Council, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Greater Tyler and St. Edward's University in Austin.

Texas College awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1997 for his enduring efforts with the Texas College/United Negro College Fund.

He was preceded in death by two sons, Robert Joseph Hamm and Daniel George Hamm; by brothers John, Joseph, Philip, William, Michael and James; and, by sisters, Margaret, Mary and Ann.

Dr. Hamm is survived by his wife, Janie; and children, Greg Hamm and wife, Mirielle of Virginia and Jean Marie Glass of Tyler; and six grandchildren, Monique, Madeleine, Theresa and Catherine Hamm, and Daniel and Sarah Glass; as well as several nieces and nephews.



Long-time and major donor to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Murray Senkus, 95, died at the Arbor Acres Retirement Community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Thursday, November 12, 2009.

Murray Senkus was born in Saskatchewan, Canada on August 31, 1914. After finishing high school, he enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan, where he obtained his Master of Science degree in 1936. He then emigrated to the United States and while teaching chemistry at North Park University in Chicago he enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of Chicago where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in chemistry in 1938.

That same year he was employed as a research chemist by Commercial Solvents Corporation in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Research Department of the Company was involved in various defense projects during WWII.

After the war, Murray developed a process for the production of synthetic rubber, and a process for isolation of bacitracin from its broth. Turning to organic synthesis, he synthesized many useful new compounds, such as hexetidine, an antiseptic, and hexedine, an antibacterial.

In 1951, he was employed as the Director of the Chemical Division of the newly established Research Department of R J Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem. In 1964 he was promoted to the position of Director of Research.  In 1977 he was appointed as Director of Scientific Affairs.  He retired from the company at age 65 in 1979.

After retirement, he consulted for the Tobacco Institute in Washington, DC.

From 1983 to 1987 he was employed by P T Djarum, as Director of Development, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Upon his return to Winston-Salem in 1987, Murray was employed as a special litigation consultant on technical matters, finally going into full retirement in 2001.

Dr. Senkus' fields of specialization were spectroscopy, synthetic organic chemistry, insecticides, recovery of fermentation products, chemotherapeutic agents, chemistry of flavorants, and management of research  and development.  He authored 20 scientific articles and holds 57 US patents and several foreign patents.

Murray was a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, Coresta, Gamma Alpha Scientific Fraternity, Tobacco Science Research Conference, Tobacco Working Group, American Chemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi Society, and Shevchenko Scientific Society.

He keenly enjoyed his sixty-plus-year membership in Toastmasters International, an organization that helps members to develop communication, public speaking and leadership skills.  He joined Toastmasters in 1947, and having become keenly aware of its benefits, he helped to charter new clubs in Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and Indonesia..  Throughout his business and personal visits to cities in Canada, England, and Japan he always spread the word about Toastmasters.

Upon their arrival in Winston-Salem in 1951, the Senkus family joined what is now Centenary United Methodist Church.

Murray was especially proud of his Ukrainian heritage, and worked with various Ukrainian organizations for the spread of knowledge about Ukrainian language and history.  He traveled to Ukraine regularly from 1969 to 2005.  He was recognized for his contributions and achievements in 2001, when he was awarded the Nation Builders Award of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Dr Senkus was predeceased by his first wife, Emily.  Surviving are their four children,  Neal, Bill, Joanne, and David.  Murray was also predeceased by his second wife, Ethel.


The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation community is saddened by the passing of Robert W. Mickle on March 1, 2009.

Bob Mickle’s association with the Foundation was as a friend, supporter and volunteer.  From 1997 through 2007, Bob was a key member of the Des Moines (IA) team of the Community Partnerships Project.  Des Moines was partnered with Cherkasy, Ukraine and Bob worked with his Cherkasy peers in improving public water, municipal management and neighborhood association issues.  

Bob will be remembered for his passion and commitment to his community and his many great accomplishments.

Bob’s career in city planning spanned nearly 40 years.  From 1972 until 1981 he was the Planning Director for the City of Des Moines.

He has been responsible for the revitalization and development of many great aspects of the communities of which he was a part.

It was once said that "Bob Mickle personifies the standard to which we all aspire."  His hard work and dedication have made a significant impact on the future of Des Moines and his accomplishments will continue to be recognized for years to come.

He is survived by his wife Nelda B. Mickle.


Bohdan Burachinsky, Ph.D. (July 31, 1923 - February 5, 2008) was an original member of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Board of Directors and served a long and dedicated tenure to 2005.

Dr. Burachinsky was very active in the Ukrainian-American community,  including service as president of the Coordinating Committee to Aid Ukraine.

In his professional life, Dr. Burachinsky served for many years as Vice President, Corporate Research and Development, Inmont Corporation, Clifton, New Jersey.

In Memory of Walter Belanger (1936-2006)

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation community is saddened by the passing of Walter Belanger in September 2006.

Mr. Belanger was an integral part of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Cultural Rebirth of Ukraine (CURE) Project since 2002. In that capacity, Walter sought and assisted Ukrainian artists - those with extraordinary talent, many without formal training and virtually unknown outside their own communities - with training, supplies, exhibitions, and promotion so that their work would be appreciated outside of Ukraine and particularly in the United States.

Walter was extremely proud of the ContempoArtUkraine, a journal promoting the creative work of Ukrainian artists to the Western audience, and several other publications that he created in cooperation with the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.

Volodymyr Belyaew Belanger was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, in October 1936, to a tennis and hockey- playing mother and an athletic-coach father. The family, without the father, fled Kyiv in 1943 and migrated through Austria, Germany, and France during and following World War II. In France, his widowed mother remarried and he became brother to a sister and brother. They immigrated to the United States in 1957 and settled in Detroit, Michigan.

Mr. Belanger served in the U.S. Army in the 1960s.

Walter graduated from Wayne State University with a political science degree. Through a job in an international insurance company, he relocated to Japan. His wife, Lesia Belanger, joined him. There his two children, Nina and Mark, were born. His entrepreneurial spirit overcame him after several years and he quit the corporate world to start a retail company. His offices were first in Taipei, then in Hong Kong. In the 1970s, he moved his family to Spring Valley, California.

He returned to Ukraine shortly before independence and transferred his business center to Kyiv. He followed his passion for art, which had marked his time in Asia, and started to collect scores of folk icons and oil paintings. He was very moved by the artists of his own generation, especially those who exhibited great talent and who were struggling economically. His love for the artistic community of Ukraine, and his desire to help as many artists as possible, led to his association with the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.

He is survived by his children, Nina and Mark, his sister, Olga, and his brother, Alex.


In Memory of Stephan Basil Kurylas (1921-2006)

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation community is saddened by the passing of Dr. Stephan Kurylas on May 2, 2006.  Dr. Kurylas served as the USUF's Coordinator for the William Petrach Project in Starij Dobrotvir, Ukraine from September 1999 to August 2002.  In this capacity, Dr. Kurylas opened the newly-completed community center in Dobrotvir, Ukraine.  Because of his commitment to working with Ukraine, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation in 2000 chose Dr. Kurylas to distribute aid to the families of miners who died in the Krasnodon mining disaster in Ukraine.  Also, among many of his activities in the Ukrainian-American community, Dr. Kurylas was an advisor to Virginia James, the Trustee of the William Petrach Charitable Trust, on the distribution of funds in the DC area.         

Born on February 6, 1921 in Poliukhiv, Ukraine, Dr. Kurylas graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany.  He later went on to receive a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1951 from Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.  Arriving in the United States with his family in the 1950s, Dr. Kurylas was hired as a veterinarian with the meat and poultry inspection service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and then was promoted to a Staff Officer position for Laws and Regulations in Food Safety and Inspection Service.  Upon retirement in 1985, Dr. Kurylas began his own international consulting firm. 

A very active member of the Ukrainian-American community in Washington, DC, Dr. Kurylas is remembered by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation staff; his wife of 61 years Olha Chrupowycz Kurylas; three children, Peter Kurylas of Hallandale, FL, Olenka Dobczanska of Silver Spring, MD, and Larysa Kurylas of Kensington; four sister; two brothers; and four grandchildren.      



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