Leonid Rudnytzky, Ph.D. – biography


Leonid Rudnytzky, Ph.D., is part of the original group gathered by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj in 1974 when St. Sophia Religious Association of Ukrainian Catholics, USA was founded. 

     Dr. Rudnytzky is a Ukrainian author, philologist, Germanist, Slavist, Ukrainianist, professor, and co-editor of numerous American and Ukrainian encyclopedias, President of the World Council of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, and foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

     Leonid Denis Rudnytzky was born on September 8, 1935, in Lviv, into the family of Ivan Teodor Rudnytzky, a lawyer, officer in the Ukrainian Galician Army, co-creator of the Listopadovy rank (1918) and military attaché of the West Ukraine People’s Republic, and Yulia Rudnytzky (née Luzhnytsky.)

     During the Second World War in 1944, the Rudnytzky family escaped from the oncoming Soviet forces to Germany.  The year following his father’s death in 1951, at the age of 16, he moved with his mother to the United States America and in 1958 he completed his undergraduate studies at La Salle College in Philadelphia, PA.  In 1960, he obtained an M.A. in German studies at the University of Pennsylvania and in 1965, he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation “Ivan Franko and German literature” at the Ukrainian Free University in Munich, West Germany.

     Dr. Rudnytzky began his multi-decade professorial career teaching at La Salle College in 1959 as a professor of German studies, quickly expanding to Slavic studies and comparative literature.  He received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at La Salle in 1966, and from 1990 until 1999, he was the director and co-founder of the La Salle University’s Central and Eastern European Studies Program. He was awarded the Ivan Franko Literary Prize of the Union of Writers of Ukraine for research in Franko studies in 1993.  He received the Award of the President of Ukraine for his personal contribution to the development of the Ukrainian state in 1996 and the Basilian Humanitarian Award from the Order of the Basilian Sisters in 1996.  He was named Professor emeritus in 1998 at La Salle University and received the Order of Yaroslav the Wise – IV degree in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2003.  In 2004 he became a Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta, and in 2005 he received the Pro Universitate Medal of the Ukrainian Free University in Munich, Germany as well as the Diploma of Laureate and Medal of Mykhailo Hrushevsky in Lviv, Ukraine.

     While La Salle University served as his academic home throughout his professional career, he also taught Slavic Languages and Literature at numerous institutions of higher learning including the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Ludwig Maximilian University, the University of Vienna, and sundry universities in Ukraine.  He was appointed by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj director of the Ukrainian Catholic University branch in Philadelphia.  In 1985-1986, and 1989-1990, he was the chairman of the Ivan Franko International Society in the United States.  Since 1992 he is President of the World Council of the Shevchenko Scientific Society.  From 1996 to 1999 he was the Dean of the Faculty of Philology and from 1998 until 2004 he was Rector of the Ukrainian Free University in Munich, Germany.

From 2004 until 2018, Dr. Rudnytzky served as the 5th President of St. Sophia Religious Association of Ukrainian Catholics, USA.  Before him, the Society was headed by: Patriarch Josyf Slipyj, Bishop Ivan Khoma, Dr. Romana Nawrotska, and Prof. Albert Kipa. Leonid Rudnytzky devoted more than four fruitful decades to the development of the ideas of the founder of the Society, Patriarch Josyf Slipyj, who remains his moral authority. 

     He and his wife Irene (née Ievins,) are the parents of three children (Kateryna, Larysa and Nicholas) and proud grandparents of 10 grandchildren.