May 11, 2021
Attorney Halyna Traversa has established an endowment for the benefit of the Kyiv-Mohyla Law School to honor her parents, Volodymyr and Lidia Synenkyj. The endowment shall be known as the Volodymyr and Lidia Synenkyj Scholarship Fund. Annual proceeds from the endowment shall in perpetuity be used for scholarships and fellowships at the Law School.
Ms. Traversa was born in Ukraine, came to the US as a child, and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. She received a B.A. with honors in political science from Loyola University in Chicago and an M.S. in political science from the University of Illinois. After working in a variety of professional positions and raising her family, she returned to school and received her Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
During her career as a lawyer, she spent three years at Kirkland & Ellis, a premier US law firm, and worked at a number of Chicago-based corporations, where her work took her to more than forty countries. At the time she retired, she was general counsel of the Rexam Beverage Can Company of North America. While serving at Abbott Laboratories and Motorola as senior international counsel, she had wide-ranging responsibilities including representing both companies in structuring and negotiating joint ventures in Ukraine in the ’90s.
The trips to Ukraine gave her an opportunity to witness Ukraine’s first steps as an independent political entity and impressed upon her the need for qualified, well-trained lawyers who would be able to help Ukraine develop a government based on the rule of law, due process, and general democratic principles.
In addition to her legal work, Ms. Traversa has served on the board of the Friends of Chernobyl Centers US (now defunct), an American NGO which provided help to three psycho-social rehabilitation centers established initially by the UN in the Chornobyl Zones, belongs to the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (as a member of which in 2019 she organized and curated the first ever Holodomor exhibit in a Holocaust Museum in North America), and currently serves on the board of the US-Ukraine Foundation.
The Volodymyr and Lidia Synenkyj Scholarship Fund will provide annual grants in perpetuity