The Michael and Iraida Tarnawecky Distinguished Lecture Series honours two outstanding Ukrainian Canadian University of Manitoba professors – the late Professor Michael Tarnawecky, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and the late Dr. Iraida Tarnawecky, Special Scholar of Slavic Studies. It was established in 2001 to bring distinguished speakers to the University of Manitoba to speak on issues pertaining to the Ukrainian Canadian culture and heritage; biography follows:
Professor Michael Zenon Tarnawecky
Michael was born in Borshchiv, Kolomyia Region, in Ukraine in 1924. He studied Law at Georgia Augusta University in Goettingen, W. Germany. There he met and married Iraida (Gerus), a medical student, in 1948. In 1950 Michael and Iraida immigrated to Canada, settling in Winnipeg, where they began a new life, a new family and new careers. He studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Manitoba, specializing in Extra-High Voltage technology. From 1957 to 1966 Michael worked at Manitoba Hydro where he was the Department Head of Planning. He was responsible for planning Manitoba’s electrical transmission network, most notably the Nelson River Transmission project. His professional expertise and groundbreaking research led to an academic career at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Electrical Engineering. "Professor Mike", as he was affectionately known by his students, fulfilled this position with great distinction for 30 years.
He was a pioneering researcher in power systems engineering and enabled the University of Manitoba to become a leading centre for HVDC technology. He was also instrumental in the introduction of the PhD program in Electrical Engineering at the University.
Professor Tarnawecky was internationally respected and served as consultant on hydro projects in England, Sweden, Switzerland, India, Germany and Brazil. He also was a visiting scholar, teaching in Czechoslovakia, Brazil and China. A renowned researcher and prolific author, he received six patents on his innovations and discoveries. Upon retirement from the University of Manitoba, Michael was honoured for his "distinguished scholarship, service and leadership to the University and the engineering profession" with the award of the title "Professor Emeritus." In addition to his professorial work, Michael generously contributed his time and efforts to the Ukrainian Canadian community, serving on numerous Boards and fulfilling a strong leadership role in many local and international community organizations including St. Andrews College, the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Canada (UVAN), the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and the Presidium, Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. In 2002, as their continued commitment to the Ukrainian community, Prof. Michael and Dr. Iraida Tarnawecky launched a Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series at the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies at the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Iraida Tarnawecky
Dr. Iraida Gerus Tarnawecky was born in Pochaiv, Volyn’, Ukraine in 1924. In1949 she obtained her B.Sc. from the Georgia Augusta University, Goettingen, Germany. After immigrating to Canada in 1950, she obtained her M.A. from the University of Manitoba (1964); and her PhD. from the Ukrainian Free University (Munich, Germany, 1965). Dr. Tarnawecky was married to the late ProfessorEmeritus Michael Tarnawecky, and has two daughters, Marusia and Natalka. From1963-1968, she served as a sessional and full-time lecturer with the Department of Slavic Studies (University of Manitoba); in 1968 she was appointed assistant professor with the department; promoted to the rank of associate professor in1975; and to the rank of full professor in 1984. Upon her retirement from the Department of German and Slavic Studies, Dr. Tarnawecky was honoured with the title of Senior Scholar.
Dr. Tarnawecky is a renowned Slavic linguist and onomastist, who has a keen interest in Slavic philology and Cyrillicpaleography. Her publications include 2 books and many articles pertaining to her research field, and is published both nationally and internationally. One of her most important publications is entitled, East Slavic Cyrillica in Canadian Depositories (1981), a monograph identifying Canadian collections, both private and public, containing cyrillic manuscripts and early books. In order to compile the material for her research, Dr. Tarnawecky visited 87 institutions and private collections throughout Canada. In 1974, Dr. Tarnawecky was the first Canadian academic chosen in an agreement between the Canada Council, and the former U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, to carry out research on the history of Slavic languages at the Linguistic Institute in Moscow and Kyiv. She has remained active throughout her career in various associations and committees, including: vice-president, Canadian Society for the Study of Names; chairperson, Humanities Section, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Canada(UVAN); member of the senate for St. Andrew’s College Library; editor of the Onomastica series; and a former member of the Canada Council Selection Committee for Doctoral Scholarships in the Humanities and Social Sciences