Hunter College is welcoming 12 students whose lives were turned upside-down by the war between Russia and Ukraine, allowing them to restart their educations at Hunter classrooms.
Some students living in Ukraine had to stop going to college because it was too dangerous to continue, while some students from Russia were forced to flee because of something a family member said or did. They are now headed to Hunter, where they can safely get back to hitting the books.
One student from Ukraine was a junior at Kyiv Mohyla Academy when the war began. He first helped fight in the war, but after his hometown village fell, he fled to western Ukraine before making his way to the United States.
“This whole experience changed me, made me stronger and the opportunities that Hunter College provided me with mean a world to me and it is something I will never forget and I'll be forever grateful for that,” he said. “I’m delighted and highly motivated to open the new chapter of my life here in the heart of New York City.”
One student from Russia who applied for asylum in the United States out of fear his parents — who are university teachers — would be targeted by the Russian government, said receiving his scholarship saved his academic career.
“It’s the only chance to be sure that I have enough money to finish my education and have a chance to pursue an academic career,” he said. “It really is a blessing."
The students from Russia and Ukraine will continue their studies at Hunter this academic year. Approximately half of the students will begin classes on August 25 while the remainder will arrive in time for the spring semester.
It’s all thanks to the generous donations from the Zimin Foundation along with other friends of the college who want to ensure these lives aren’t lost in a senseless war that is killing thousands of people.
“We created this scholarship to ensure no Russian student disappears behind a new Iron Curtain,” Boris Zimin, head of the Zimin Foundation, said. “All of these students had their plans for the future destroyed by Russia’s military aggression. It is important we help these smart and motivated young people so that they can resume their studies and continue building their future.”
Hunter College President Jennifer Raab added the new students continue the college’s tradition of helping those most in need get the education they deserve.
“Hunter College has been helping people in difficult — and sometimes dire — situations achieve the American Dream for decades, and this is just the latest example of how we make that happen,” she said. “We are proud to welcome these students, and thank the Zimin Foundation and the Hunter College Foundation for playing a big part in getting them safely here to Hunter.”