UCEF board in U.S. welcomes new chairman, honors departing board members

5 March 2018, 10:28 | Society-digest | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Matthew Matuszak

Ukrainian Weekly 2 March 2018

The board and staff of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation (UCEF) on February 17 bid an emotional farewell to the foundation’s long-time chairman of the board, Guy Camarata, and its former president ,John Kurey, while welcoming its new board chairman, Taras Szmagala Jr.

Mr. Szmagala is a prominent attorney in the Cleveland area. He serves as senior vice-president of and community affairs and corporate communications at Eaton Corp. Mr. Szmagala succeeds Guy Camarata, a former executive vice-president of Caltex, who served UCEF for 13 years, including 10 years as chairman of the board.

During his tenure, Mr. Camarata was deeply involved in the development of an effective strategic planning process that enabled UCEF to launch a Comprehensive Campaign in the United States and Canada to help build a new campus for the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv.

A resident of Dallas, Mr. Camarata also served as a consultant to the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops, the Eparchy of Chicago and many Catholic charities. Inspired by the vision of Bishop Borys Gudziak (then Father Gudziak) and his closest advisers, Mr. Kurey and Prof. Jeffrey Wills, Mr. Camarata decided to apply his experience in the corporate sector to help UCEF become a strong and sustainable charitable institution that could apply industry best practices and good governance while pursuing its mission to educate ethical and visionary leaders for the Church and for society at large.

“I was convinced by the Ukrainian story.” That’s how Mr. Camarata, who himself is of Italian and Lithuanian descent, spoke of the start of his involvement with UCEF and UCU, which included numerous trips to Ukraine and countless hours spent on board matters.

Prior to his retirement from Caltex, Mr. Camarata spent many years as a top oil executive overseeing many of the company’s operations along the Pacific Rim, including Japan, Korea and the Philippines. It was there that he met his long-time colleague Charles Neubecker who introduced him to UCU and encouraged him to visit Ukraine and to see for himself the miraculous revival of the Ukrainian Catholic Church since it emerged from the Soviet underground in 1990.

“UCU is a change agent, a chance to make the Ukraine you want,” Mr. Camarata told the assembled directors and UCEF staff. “Education, the right kind of ethics – these are key elements to change.”

Looking back on his many years with UCU and UCEF, Mr. Camarata said he felt blessed by his experience: “I’ve met so many fantastic people… I feel pleased to be a part of it. I feel pleased with the things that we did… [And] the fact that John and I are leaving right now says that we have confidence in the new chairman, the directors, the management,” Mr. Camarata emphasized.

February 17 also marked the last board meeting for Mr. Kurey, who has been involved with UCEF since 1996. Mr. Kurey originally helped establish UCEF as a charitable institution and then served in many positions, including executive director and president. “This foundation and UCU have exceeded all hopes,” he said.

Prior to his work for UCEF, Mr. Kurey worked for a major law firm in Chicago. Currently he works for both of the Maronite bishops in the United States, for Bishop Bohdan Danylo at the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Parma, for the Basilian Sisters in Philadelphia and for the Armenian Catholic bishop.

Mr. Kurey spoke with deep satisfaction and pride in his work for the foundation. Mr. Kurey helped to develop UCEF’s first major fund-raising events in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit. He also helped to recruit many members of the foundation’s staff and he helped train the Ukrainian Catholic University’s development staff to launch its own fund-raising campaign to help revive a culture of philanthropy within Ukraine. Through various fund-raising galas and community outreach efforts, UCU’s Development Office has now developed a network of Ukrainian business leaders and philanthropists that last December raised over $400,000 (U.S.) at UCU’s annual gala in Kyiv.

With strong encouragement from Messrs. Camarata and Kurey, UCEF has also succeeded in securing major private donations from outside the Ukrainian American community, especially from several Roman Catholic donors that have now been inspired to donate over $8 million dollars for UCU’s construction and for pioneering programs serving orphans and families at risk.

Bishop Borys, president of UCU, also bid farewell to the outgoing directors. “What you have done,” the bishop said, “has changed the lives of thousands of people. You’ve set new standards.”

UCU Vice-Rector for Development and Communications Natalia Klymovska, who also serves on the UCEF board, presented both directors with honorary plaques signed by the university’s chancellor, Patriarch Sviatoslav, and UCU’s rector, Father Bohdan Prach.

“It’s hard for me to imagine UCEF or UCU without you,” said Ms. Klymovska, her voice tightening with emotion. “Guy and John, we have all learned so much from you.” Ms. Klymovska also presented each director with an icon of the Blessed Mother created by students at UCU’s School of Iconography.

Mr. Camarata assured the foundation’s staff and its new chairman, Mr. Szmagala that this was a very good time to retire, as the foundation had just enjoyed its best year of fund-raising on record, and the staff under the leadership of COO Joseph Solimini and the development team led by Alexander Kuzma had developed a sound strategic plan going forward.

Looking forward to his new challenge, Mr. Szmagala said: “The generosity of our community is truly amazing. Ukrainian Americans understand the special role that the Ukrainian Catholic University has fulfilled in Ukraine, and our community has helped make that happen. We all should be proud of that.”

Mr. Szmagala is responsible for representing Eaton with governments at the federal, state and local levels, as well as overseeing the company’s corporate communications, marketing, community involvement and corporate contributions programs. Prior to that role, he served in roles of increasing responsibility within Eaton’s law department, including vice-president and deputy general counsel, as well as chief counsel, industrial sector, where he was responsible for coordinating the legal support of Eaton’s aerospace, hydraulics and vehicle businesses.

Before joining Eaton in 2007, Mr. Szmagala served for nine years as group counsel with Avery Dennison Corp. He started his career with the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs in 1991, where he was resident in the firm’s Washington, Kyiv and Cleveland offices. Mr. Szmagala holds a B.A. in economics and a J.D., both from the University of Virginia.


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Last comments

  • velovs@ukr.net | 18 February 2020, 17:37

    Ну що ж: чим більше цей (перепрошую) педераст-неонацист активно-затято поширює тут всілякі недостовірні та сумнівні домисли, а то й відверті - брехливо-злобні фантазії і нісенітниці щодо Святого

  • fedirtsiv | 18 February 2020, 14:24

    Реально біблія є "гримучою сумішшю" добра і зла, де поряд із хорошими натхненними текстами, які євреї позичили в інших народів, є багато жахливих рядків їхнього закону!

  • velovs@ukr.net | 18 February 2020, 11:00

    А взагалі-то, як акцентує Боже Слово, "неправедний нехай ще чинить неправду; нечистий нехай ще оскверняється" (Одкр.22:11). -------- Тобто: нехай, зокрема, цей злобно-богохульний

  • velovs@ukr.net | 18 February 2020, 09:59

    Р. S. А таки всі вони, дрібні й огидні душі, дуже вже, як видно, бентежаться і лякаються та жахаються Біблії та її змісту. Бо там, зокрема, - геть повністю і досконало - ВИКРИВАЄТЬСЯ і ВИСВІЧУЄТЬСЯ

  • Paraeklezyarh | 18 February 2020, 09:29

    Дякую за лаконічний і , головне , зрозумілий допис )))

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