College of Idaho Reaches Goal to Create First-Of-Its-Kind Judaic Studies Chair, Honoring Howard Berger

Posted by George Prentice on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Dr. Howard Berger can often be spotted at the Berger Bench in the middle of the College of Idaho campus.
  • Jeremy Laningham
  • Dr. Howard Berger can often be spotted at the Berger Bench in the middle of the College of Idaho campus.

Dr. Howard Berger may consider this morning's announcement out of the College of Idaho to be a "mitzvah," or worthy deed.

Boise Weekly sat down with Berger in May 2011 to talk about his three decades as professor of history at the Canyon County campus, influencing thousands of students to explore the themes of human rights and social justice through his courses in Jewish history and the Holocaust.

"Most Jews don't come to Idaho to see their jewishness flourish," said Berger. "But I felt early on that I had an especially important responsibility to teach and share whom the Jewish people are and what our traditions are."

This mornig, the C of I announced that a new, fully endowed chair in Judaic studies—the Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair—has been created, thanks to the successful completion of a $2.2 million fundraising initiative.

A $400,000 gift from 1988 C of I alumnus Ray Neilsen pushed the initiative to the goal, setting the stage for the new chair, the first of its kind in the Intermountain West.

“The love of learning that Dr. Berger taught me continues to guide me today,” said Neilsen. “Helping to make this chair possible, and ensuring that future College of Idaho students will receive that same gift from outstanding faculty, is truly rewarding.”

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