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Nation Builders

Awards Recipients for 1995

Dr. Constantine Henry Andrusyshen
Dr. George Ernest Dragan
Helen Hnatyshyn
Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran
Brother Methodius Koziak

Dr. Thomas Karp Pavlychenko
Dr. Stephania Potoski
Julian Stechishin, Q.C.
Savella Stechishin, C.M.
Dr. Stephen Worobetz, O.C., M.C.

Awards Luncheon

On May 6, the UCC-SPC hosted its first annual Community Appreciation Celebration Banquet at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel in Saskatoon. The guests of honour were ten individuals, who, through their long and dedicated service, had shown themselves to be vigorous supporters of and energetic volunteers within Saskatchewan’s Ukrainian community.

The honourees were identified by a special advisory recognition committee, established by the UCC-SPC in 1991. Members of the committee, which made the selections for 1995, were Mary Cherneskey (Chair), Vera Labach, Dr. Tony Harras and the late Judge Andrew Kindred.

The banquet began at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails. Guests enjoyed their meal of Chicken Kyiv, while being treated to music performed by talented Kyiv pianist Volodymyr Fitzko.

Following the meal, the evening’s host, UCC-SPC Executive Director Ostap Skrypnyk, called upon Mrs. Cherneskey to introduce each of the evening’s honourees, who were presented with awards by UCC-SPC President Adrian Boyko.

After all was said and done, a meaningful and valuable tradition had begun. Ten people, who had dedicated a large part of themselves to the good of Saskatchewan’s Ukrainian community, were given—however humbly—the recognition they deserved. For this we are forever grateful.

1995 Nation Builders Awards recipients
1995 Nation Builders Awards recipients and committee members. Standing (L-R): Vera Labach (Committee member), Bill Dragan for father Dr. George Dragan, June Dutka for uncle Dr. Constantine Andrusyshen, David Hnatyshyn for mother Helen Hnatyshyn, Nina Pavlychenko for grandfather Dr. Thomas Pavlychenko, Dr. Myron Stechishin for father Julian Stechishin, Mary Cherneskey (Committee Chair).
Seated (L-R): Adrian Boyko (UCC-SPC President), Dr. Stephen Worobetz, Savella Stechishin, Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran.

Photo Album

Boyko with Kowcz-Baran
UCC-SPC President Adrian Boyko presents Nation Builders Award to Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran

Boyko with Stechishin
Adrian Boyko with Award recipient Savella Stechishin
Boyko with Worobetz
Dr. Stephen Worobetz receives Award from Adrian Boyko


Dr. Constantine Henry Andrusyshen

As a teacher, translator, lexicographer, linguist and author of numerous publications, Professor Andrusyshen had a great impact on broadening Canadian awareness of Ukrainian culture. He believed translation to be significant in the development of knowledge, which explains the great body of work he himself translated. He collaborated with AcadianUniversity Professor Watson Kirkconnell to publish an English translation of the complete poetic works of Taras Shevchenko and an anthology of selected works of 102 Ukrainian poets. Professor Andrusyshen was head of the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Saskatchewan from 1945 to 1975. He is internationally known for his classic Ukrainian-English Dictionary.

In recognition of his many significant scholarly contributions, Dr. Andrusyshen was awarded many medals; he became the first person of Ukrainian background to be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1964 and became the first Simpson Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in 1971.

Dr. George Ernest Dragan

A 1926 McGill University medical graduate, Dr. Dragan was the first doctor of Ukrainian origin in Canada. He served Saskatoon and area as a physician and surgeon for more than 36 years, playing a leadership role in various medical associations, particularly the St. John Ambulance Association, which inducted him into its Order. At age 36, Dr. Dragan became the first Ukrainian to be elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature, where he represented the Kelvington constituency as a member of the Liberal party. A popular speaker, he was invited to visit many provincial centres. He used these opportunities to collect extensive historical documentation on the Ukrainian presence in Saskatchewan. Dr. Dragan constantly exhorted the Ukrainian population to preserve its cultural background within the Canadian context and to "aim high" in its endeavours, for by "being great" they made Canada great.

Helen Hnatyshyn

As a teacher, community activist and human rights leader, Helen Hnatyshyn played a significant role in the development of women's movements at local, national and international levels through organizations such as the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian Women's Committee, which she helped establish, and the Council of Women. Her participation extended to community agencies like the United Appeal, National Girl Guides, the Red Cross and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

Mrs. Hnatyshyn had a major influence on the Status of Women movement in Canada and abroad, travelling the breadth of the country with the Advisory Council and internationally serving in various capacities with the International Council of Women. This took Mrs. Hnatyshyn to various points of the world, and in 1975, she was elected to the Canadian Commission of UNESCO representing this body at the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico City. Mrs. Hnatyshyn's extensive service was recognized with many honours including an Honourary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1977, the Governor General's Persons Award in 1990 and induction into the Saskatchewan Women's Hall of Fame in 1996. In her memory, the National Council of Women sponsored a woman from Ukraine to attend the International Council of Women Triennium in Paris in 1994, as this had been her project prior to her death.

Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran

A teacher, international executive leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League, renowned journalist and author, Mrs. Kowcz-Baran amassed credits for her broad writing endeavours including: three bilingual books on Ukrainian Catholic Churches in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta ( nearing completion); Blessed Endeavours, a documented and illustrated history of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada in Saskatchewan; plus other Ukrainian-language publications, including a biography of her father, Father Emilian Kowcz (who died a martyr's death in the Maydanek Nazi concentration camp in Poland). Mrs. Kowcz-Baran made many contributions to Ukrainian publications across Canada and the USA. She was the first editor of the UCWL journal Nasha Doroha.

Mrs. Kowcz-Baran had extensive international experience representing the World Federation of Ukrainian Women in Rome, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, Australia and New Zealand. Ultimately she reported on the needs of component populations in Argentina and Brazil, together with their representatives, to the Year of the Child Commission of the United Nations. Mrs. Kowcz-Baran has been recognized by both the broader community as well as by the Ukrainian community for her unstinting community endeavours. Of particular note is the establishment of the Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran Scholarship which uses funds from the publication of Saskatchewan Churches to assist high school students who study Ukrainian.

Brother Methodius Koziak

A Ukrainian Catholic educator at St. Joseph's College in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Brother Methodius had a major impact on the development of many young people who ultimately became influential community leaders. He instilled a pride in the Ukrainian heritage in all who came under the persuasion of his famous oratorical skills.

Brother Methodius organized a concerted community lobby which succeeded in the introduction of Ukrainian curriculum programs within the Saskatchewan Department of Education. This firmly established the equal entitlement of Saskatchewan's Ukrainian population to public government funding.

Following his success in having Ukrainian-language legislation passed, Brother Methodius became one of the first Saskatchewan educators to instruct Ukrainian language fundamentals during his two-year tenure at the Sheptytsky Institute in Saskatoon.

Brother Methodius regarded his students as his family, following their business and professional career advancements and providing friendly notice to their attainment of personal milestones. He had a remarkable ability to remember names to the pleasure of those he recognized years after their first acquaintance.

Dr. Thomas Karp Pavlychenko

A botanical engineer, community leader, poet, architect and translator, Professor Pavlychenko contributed his multi-talented creativity to both his profession and his community. Professionally, there was no parallel to him in his knowledge of plant ecology and crop production. His creative research in botanics and its implications for crop production lead to the discovery of the chemical 2-4-D and to the development of business enterprises in the very important field of weed control.

Professor Pavlychenko provided impetus to the rise in stature of Ukrainians in the broader community. Under his influence, the Ukrainian National Federation was established in Saskatoon. He organized Ukrainian Canadians into a committee which was the precursor to the Ukrainian Canadian (Committee) Congress.

Professor Pavlychenko was the first Ukrainian scholar to attain the status of professor at a Canadian university and later became department head. It was Professor Pavlychenko who was the first to teach Ukrainian as a subject at the university level and was instrumental in the establishment of the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

In addition to his professional writings, Professor Pavlychenko provided bilingual translations of various works and contributed a prolific output of poetry that has yet to be published.

Dr. Stephania Potoski

Bestowed with the gift of leadership, Dr. Potoski was educated at the University of Manitoba where she completed three degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education and a Degree in Medicine (1946). Dr. Potoski then went to practise medicine with her husband in Yorkton, where she assumed several high administrative posts at the Union Hospital. Dr. Potoski was Yorkton's first female city councillor, and was also elected as a Catholic School Board trustee. She was a campaign manager in federal elections. Dr. Potoski served as a member of various medical and community groups such as the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League (serving two terms as National President), and Canadian representative to the World Federation of Ukrainian Women.

Dr. Potoski received many forms of recognition for the broad scope of her community and professional work. This included prestigious appointments to the Board of the CBC and to the Multicultural Council of Canada, a medal from Pope Paul VI, listings in many international directories of distinguished leaders, and culminated with a nomination as Woman of the Year in 1991 by the American Biographical Institute.

Julian Stechishin, Q.C.

Educator, administrator, community activist, lawyer, university sessional lecturer, writer and scholar, Julian Stechishin left legacies of documented histories (Mohyla Institute Jubilee Book, History of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada), and an internationally known and used Ukrainian-English grammar.

Another legacy was that of a vibrant and organized Ukrainian community through an energetic and personable use of his dynamic speaking and organizational skills. Travelling the province on behalf of the Mohyla Institute, Mr. Stechishin encouraged Ukrainians to organize their communities for social, cultural and educational purposes, and to build churches in order to provide stability. He also stressed the importance of a rich education for youth to ensure a strong future in Canada.

In urban areas, Mr. Stechishin arranged for speakers and organizational meetings under the umbrella of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee so as to provide a cohesiveness for the multi-organizational Ukrainian community. A private trip to Ukraine produced archival organizational material and books for Saskatchewan libraries.

It was for these endeavours that Mr. Stechishin came to be variously recognized by the Ukrainian community, and by his profession through an appointment as Queen's Counsel in 1957.

Savella Stechishin, C.M.

As the first Ukrainian woman to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan, Savella Stechishin embarked on the path of the modern woman by combining home and family obligations with a career in university extension work (in nutrition and homemaking skills) and as a university sessional lecturer teaching courses in Ukrainian language.

Her consequent exposure to the needs of the Ukrainian population led to the initiation of the Ukrainian women's movement and the establishment of a museum for the preservation of Ukrainian heritage treasures. Mrs. Stechishin's strong writing and research skills were applied to a 25-year tenure as a journalist for the Winnipeg-based newspaper Ukrainskyi holos. In her articles, she always stressed pride in and appreciation of the treasures of our Ukrainian heritage. Mrs. Stechishin is particularly well-known for two books: one on embroidery and the other, the internationally renowned Traditional Ukrainian Cookery, currently in its 18th printing.

In recognition of her work, Mrs. Stechishin has received numerous distinctions. Among them: she received the Taras Shevchenko Medal (1962); was awarded an honourary doctorate from St. Andrew's College in Winnipeg, Manitoba (1976); has had the Kelowna Branch of the Ukrainian Women's Association named after her; and, was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1989.

The Saskatchewan community has recognized Mrs. Stechishin as an outstanding Saskatoon Woman (1975), "a distinguished prairie woman" in Foremothers, a book on the history of women in Saskatchewan (1975), the Century Saskatoon Medal (1982), and, as a woman who contributed to Saskatchewan's growth, was included in Building Saskatchewan, a photo-history (1985).

Dr. Stephen Worobetz, O.C., M.C.

A physician and surgeon who saw war service in Italy and England, a community activist and philanthropist, Dr. Worobetz has demonstrated a concern for the well-being of his fellow man, pride in his Ukrainian heritage and a deep love for Canada by attesting to a life of professional and public service. His involvement includes: executive member of local, provincial and national levels of various medical and military organizations; long-term College of Medicine clinical lecturer and senior associate, a founder and Board Chairman of St. Joseph's Nursing Home in Saskatoon; president of the Ukrainian Catholic Council of Saskatchewan; Saskatoon Catholic School Board trustee; Honourary Lieutenant Colonel of the North Saskatchewan Regiment; and, founder and charter president of the revived Canadian Club of Saskatoon.

Distinction came to Dr. Worobetz in many ways: advancement as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1973; award of the Military Cross while serving as a medical officer in Italy; appointment as Saskatchewan’s 13th Lieutenant Governor, 1970-76 (the first Ukrainian to be so honoured); Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984; and appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

A philanthropist, Dr. Worobetz has established the Stephen and Micheline Worobetz Foundation for use with various community projects.

Compiled by Mary Cherneskey & Vera Labach