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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, January 15, 2010, 9:00 AM ET

    Letter

    NY Times Ihor Ševčenko obituary omits greatest achievement

    On January 5, 2010, the NY Times published Professor Ihor Sevcenko's obituary. Below is Alex Labunka's letter (not published by the NY Times), which addresses a key omission in the obituary.

    My father, Miroslav Labunka, was a student of Professor Ihor Ševčenko while at Columbia University and successfully defended his dissertation in history in front of Prof. Ševčenko. While my memories of Prof. Ševčenko may be fleeting, I always had a profound respect for his deep scholarly insights and his profound knowledge of the classical world. Nevertheless, I do not recall him ever pronouncing his first name as "EE-gore". It was always Ihor, with the letter "h".

    Furthermore, while the Animal Farm translation served its purpose, your readers should be aware that Prof. Ševčenko was a cofounder, together with Prof. O. Pritsak and other Ukrainian scholars, and a founding director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute that currently has three endowed chairs at Harvard University. The chairs encompass Ukrainian philology, history and literature and were funded by donations from the Ukrainian Diaspora. They served to elevate the interest in Ukrainian studies at a time when Ukraine was largely ignored or falsely but deliberately comingled with Russia without any distinction paid to a separate historical legacy. Prof. Ševčenko considered the establishment of the Harvard Ukrainian Studies as one of his crowning achievements.

    Best regards,
    Alex M. Labunka

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