OBITUARY: Victor G. Kytasty, 57, consultant to Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

by Marta Kolomayets

KYIV - Victor G. Kytasty, an inspiring professor, creative administrator, talented musician, peripatetic cultural activist and a committed humanitarian, passed away on September 22, after suffering a fatal heart attack while playing basketball at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He was 57.

Mr. Kytasty, who was born in Nemyriv, Vinnytsia Oblast, on July 30, 1943, left Ukraine as a 6-month-old child, spent his childhood in a displaced persons camp in Germany and later emigrated with his family to the United States. He settled in California, where he graduated from the University of California, San Diego, and earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature.

Soon after Ukraine became independent, Mr. Kytasty arrived in Ukraine to teach at the Institute of Ukrainian Studies at Kyiv State University. He made Ukraine his home, working on a variety of projects. He served as a consultant to the Council of Advisors to the Verkhovna Rada (1992-1993), director of America House (1993-1997), acting director of the Foreign Commercial Service (1997-1998), scientific consultant of the Parliamentary Library (1998) and the director of the Ukrainian Office of the Former Members of Congress (1998-2000) in charge of the parliamentary intern program.

From 1998 until his death, Mr. Kytasty was a senior consultant to the Economics Education and Research Consortium's master's program in economics at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

In 1998 Mr. Kytasty received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. During the past five years he was dedicated to this institution's development and was an endless source of energy and ideas.

His love for the bandura, inherited from his father, the late Hryhory Kytasty (director of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus), as well as his enthusiasm for Ukrainian culture and song, made him an avid supporter of this art form both in the United States and Ukraine. He served as an instructor to a generation of bandurists in North America and later brought his enthusiasm for this Ukrainian instrument back to its homeland, Ukraine, supporting bandurists, kobzars and Ukrainian choirs, along with music publishing. In 1998 he was one of the organizers of a bandura concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of his father's birth.

Mr. Kytasty's spirit and enthusiasm for life was best captured by the words of a colleague, Eleanor Valentine, who worked closely with him for over six years: "Victor Kytasty was above all a friend. A friend to me, a friend to libraries, a friend to students, a friend to Parliament, a friend to NGOs, a friend to artists, a friend to America and a friend to Ukraine."

She noted that Mr. Kytasty had the "uncanny ability to see the possibilities and not the problems. ... Victor provided his beloved Ukraine and especially the young people of Ukraine with a legacy: believe in the possibilities and follow through."

A memorial service for Mr. Kytasty was held at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy on September 26; interment was at the Baikove Cemetery in Kyiv. Mr. Kytasty is survived by his mother and brother, Andriy.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, November 19, 2000, No. 47, Vol. LXVIII

| Home Page |