- Published on Monday, 07 September 2015 07:06
The traditional student welcoming ceremony at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy was held on August 31.
On this day 1,222 students were fortunate to begin their studies during a unique year—the 400th anniversary of the University’s founding.
As usual, the new students were greeted by alumni, faculty, and honored guests of the Academy. The leitmotif of this year’s welcoming ceremonies encouraged the new students to "become personalities" - develop character and their own potential and to prepare themselves to work responsibly for the good of their country.
Opening the ceremony, Andriy Meleshevych, NaUKMA’s president, said, “you are entering the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy during an incredible year—400 years since the Academy’s founding. It will be filled with many events and you, the students, will participate in these events.”
Meleshevych credited the university’s celebration campaign for attracting the best students from across Ukraine, with the highest test scores to date. According to rankings published by “Novoye Vremya,” the Academy ranks fourth among Ukrainian universities for educating the top managers, despite its small size and consequently small number of graduates.
“The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is a living and complicated organism,” said Meleshevych. “The opportunities that it offers for intellectual and professional development are unique. Take best advantage of them!” On point, Meleshevych underlined that, “Ukraine is going through much trouble. We are learning how to live in a democratic country. But a democratic country must learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully. Learn democracy, tolerance, and humanism—that is the Kyiv Mohyla Academy’s mission.” On behalf of the faculty, Mychailo Wynnyckyj welcomed 2015’s incoming class.
“You, first-year students, are standing on hollowed ground. Not simply because Hryhoriy Skovoroda and Ivan Mazepa walked here, or because Hetman Sahaidachny is buried here. Rather, it is because Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky called the Mohyla Academy to strike eleven years ago, right here, beginning the Orange Revolution. The Revolution of Dignity began here. There have been many beginnings at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy which became benchmarks in Ukraine’s modern, and not only modern, history. From these walls always exited personalities. Your assignment from the Kyiv Mohyla Academy is to find your character, a matter you must take up very personally. But we, your faculty, have the privilege to guide you in forming a personality.”
This year’s keynote speaker, professor Norman Naimark (Stanford University, USA) said, “it is a great honor to be present at the blessing ceremony at the Kyiv Mohyla University. We [at Stanford Univeristy] are children compared to you since we are only 125 years old, but you have 400.”
The professor underlined the fact that, “education is built on cooperation and communication, and it is impossible to do without research, without the creation of something new, without doubt. A fresh idea, and open-mindedness, are the keys to personal development.”
Alumna Maria Kryuchok (B.S. Sociology, 2013, M.S. Journalism, 2015), spoke brilliantly and emotionally. “There are many things that are important for us at the Academy. Our University is a big family, and you, first-year students, are responsible from now-on for its reputiotion and image. Therefore, don’t ask what the Kyiv Mohyla Academy can do for you, as yourselves what you can do for the Kyiv Mohyla Academy.”
Honorary president, and initiator of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy’s rebirth, Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky during his speech told the students, “from tomorrow on, your difficult life as a student of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy begins. But from it, you will see great spiritual benefit. Find yourself, see what’s unique about you, what forms a person, and set your goals for thinking and doing.”
Shedding light on the difficult circumstances Ukraine faces today, Bryukhovetsky said, “we are all at the forefront. The war is in our hearts. There are people walking on our land that do not want us, Ukrainians, to be successful and happy. They want to see us as slaves. We must prove to them that we will be prosperous on our own land, and will never be slaves. Every one of us can prove that.”
During the ceremony, the president received a flag as a present from the 80th aviation brigade which is fighting in the war in Donbas. It symbolizes the union between the Kyiv Mohyla Academy and its defenders.
A focal point of this year’s ceremony was the bestowing of the Fedor Shevchenko award for research in premodern Ukrainian history. The award was founded by Anna Shevchenko (Cambridge University, UK), the granddaughter of renowned Ukrainian historian Fedor Pavlovych Shevchenko. This year’s winner was Oksana Molulyak (B.A. History) for her work “A discourse on the differences between references to Turks and Tatars in Ukrainian writing during the second half of the 17th century.”
The award was bestowed by Olha Shevhcnko, daughter of Professor Shevchenko. The award became a symbol of the respect members of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy community earn from academics in Ukraine and abroad.