The Eloise Garmendia Bieter Chair in Basque Studies, was created through an agreement between Boise State University and the Etxepare Basque Institute of the Basque Government signed in July 2015. A professor is invited to the Boise State campus to teach graduate students, with the aim of increasing the study and research of issues related to Basque language and culture. This is one of several Chairs of Basque Studies maintained by the Etxepare Basque Institute around the world.
The chair is named in honor of Eloise Garmendia Bieter. She was born in Boise in 1925 to immigrant parents from the Basque Country. She grew up speaking Euskara (the Basque language) and connected to other Basque families and events. She married Dr. Pat Bieter (longtime professor at Boise State) who became deeply involved in Basque culture and in 1974 lead the drive to launch the study abroad program in the town of Oñati in the Basque Country. She and her husband Pat passed away in 1999, but Bieter-Boise Basque ties remain strong. She is the last person who would have wanted attention for this, but that is another reason why she was chosen to be honored because of the quiet, consistent and sustained effort that she and many a Basque women made to pass on Basque culture.
This chair strengthens the academic presence of Basque culture at the university and wider city community. A scholar is invited to Boise State to teach a course to graduate students, with a stay that ranges from a few weeks to a few months. The inaugural professor is Iñaki Goirizelaia, who recently ended two terms as Rector of the University of the Basque Country’s (the equivalent of our university president).
Video & images from the inaugural event of the Eloise Garmendia Bieter, Chair in Basque Studies (March 2017): VIDEO CLIPS from Berria news story