But this time, UCU set its sights beyond theology. It aspired to be a full-fledged university, worthy of inclusion among the ranks of the great Catholic universities of the world. More importantly, it wanted to play a key role in building Ukrainian civil society.
(Read more: Market opportunities amid the Ukrainian military crisis)
Priests wondered how to do that, and so they decided: Start a school of business. Not a law school or medical school, but a school of business. (They started a school of journalism, too—not hard to see the need there, either.) UCU's L'viv Business School boasts a certificate program in nonprofit management and courses in business ethics. That may be standard stuff on this side of the pond, but over there it's groundbreaking. Tuck or Wharton, it is not. But its effect on Ukrainian society may be just as significant.
Throughout the recent conflict, UCU has been open (as has most of Ukraine), and the people's revolution continues peacefully. Despite Russian intrusions to the East, the country is strong and the university continues to grow.
Luckily, friends of mine in Ukraine and Ukrainian-Americans are sponsoring students at the school to help fund ethical development of business—"clean," to use their terms. And if this group of visionary clerics has its way, pretty soon I'll be able to claim my true profession as an entrepreneur and a businessman in Ukraine as well.
—By Clint Greenleaf, founder and chairman, Greenleaf Book Group and a member of the CNBC-YPO Chief Executive Network
CNBC and YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) have an exclusive editorial partnership. It consists of regional Chief Executive Networks in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. These Chief Executive Networks are made up of a sample of YPO's unrivaled global network of 20,000 top executives from 120 countries who are on the front lines of the economy. The opinions of Chief Executive Network members are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of YPO as a whole or CNBC.