BRAMA, January 15, 2010, 9:00 AM ET|
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
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.
Alex M. Labunka
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