Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky
City of Residence: Edmonton
Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky was born in Ukraine and spent his youth in Switzerland and Toronto. A graduate of the University of Ottawa with a BA degree in 1963 and an MA in 1966, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1977. He held teaching positions at the University of Toronto and Carleton University before arriving at the University of Alberta. In 1971 he assumed the post of Assistant Professor with the Department of Slavic and East European Studies, and has held the rank of full professor since 1991.
Dr. Medwidsky is the founder of the Ukrainian Folklore Program at the University of Alberta. Through his personal initiative, he raised the funds and convinced University Administration that the study of Ukrainian culture should be a part of the University’s offering. As a result, dozens of B.A., M.A, and Ph.D. degrees specializing in Ukrainian Folklore have been granted. He is responsible for an unprecedented level of research in the area of Ukrainian folklore, customs, oral lore, material culture, music, and dance; and has initiated many community-based projects promoting Ukrainian culture which has had a direct benefit to museums, dance ensembles, musical groups, and community organizations.
The Ukrainian Folklore Archives were founded in 1977 when Dr. Mcdwidsky assembled students’ fieldwork projects from his first course on Ukrainian folklore. The Archives has now grown to include tens of thousands of documents and recordings of Ukrainian and Canadian life. Dr. Medwidsky’s research specialties include Ukrainian oral literature, customary lore, and the history of Ukrainian ethnography. He has published or contributed to twelve books, numerous articles, and delivered over two dozen papers at conferences and symposia around the world.
Dr. Medwidsky’s vision is the development of a rich, vibrant and lasting resource for ilie study of diverse Ukrainian traditions. He has been the driving force in developing the Kule Folklore Centre, and has been one of the most successful fundraisers in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts. He was the key organizer of the Ukrainian Folklore endowments at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Medwidsky retired and became Professor Emeritus in 2002. In that same year, the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives was renamed in his honour.
He has worked as a dedicated volunteer and participant for Ukrainian organizations at a municipal, provincial, and national level. He has contributed many of his own personal donations to fundraising campaigns of a multitude of groups. In the past, he has served in leadership positions of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta; Ukrainian Village Board; Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society; Brotherhood of Ukrainian Catholics; Alberta Ukrainian Pioneers Association; Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Centre; Ukrainian Catholic Council, and many others.
In 2009, Dr. Medwidsky received the award of Orders of Merit III Grade from then President of Ukraine, V. Yushchenko. However, he is a man of great generosity and even greater humility, and does not seek accolades and shuns the spotlight, preferring to focus attention on the causes he supports and the individuals he has helped.