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Pacifica Graduate Institute Students Establish Memorial Scholarship to Honor Dr. V. Walter Odajnyk

Pacifica Graduate Institute announces the formation of a scholarship fund set up by current and former students to honor the memory of Dr. V. Walter Odajnyk, a beloved faculty member from 2002 until his death in 2013.

His students adored Dr. Odajnyk’s bedrock integrity, keen intelligence, and depth of feeling, as well as his passion for politics, Zen meditation, Egyptian mythology, and fairytales. His capacities as an analyst, teacher and writer were felt in his presence and willingness to adapt his teachings to suit the needs of his students, moment by moment.

Like many wise elders, Dr. Odajnyk’s genius was forged in tragedy. He experienced firsthand the horrors of war-torn Ukraine as a child before immigrating to the United States. According to Thomas Elsner, one of Dr. Odajnyk’s colleagues, this early confrontation with the human shadow gifted him with “a soul presence that had to do with a profound Zen-mind relationship to emptiness and the sacred void.”

Dr. Odajnyk’s legacy lives on in his students. “In dreams,” Dr. Keith Himebaugh writes, “he continues to guide me, encouraging me to keep going and not give up. I will never forget this generous man, his honesty, his zeal for teaching and dedication to his students. May this scholarship continue to help others as he has helped me, a contribution to a worthy cause at the perfect moment.”

Prior to coming to Pacifica, Dr. Odajnyk was an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University. In addition to many articles and workshops, Dr. Odajnyk authored several books, including Marxism and Existentialism, Jung and Politics: The Political and Social Ideas of C. G. Jung (with a foreword by Marie-Louise von Franz), Gathering the Light: A Jungian View of Meditation (with a foreword by Thomas Moore) and his last book, Archetype and Character: Power, Eros, Spirit, and Matter Personality Types. Dr. Odajnyk was a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, a member of the C. G. Jung Study Center of Southern California, and licensed as a research psychoanalyst by the Medical Board of California.

“It is with profound gratitude that we establish a scholarship in memory of Dr. Odajnyk,” said Cynthia Caldwell, one of the students involved in initiating the fund. “This scholarship will ensure that his gift of guiding students into contact with wisdom through myth is felt, remembered, and continued long into the future.”

Donations to the scholarship fund may be made at the Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association website by clicking here, or by check made payable to the Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association. Scholarships will be awarded to future students enrolled in Pacifica’s Mythological Studies Program. Your donation is tax-deductible and deeply appreciated.

— Dianne Travis-Teague is the director of the Office of Alumni Relations for Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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