Press Release Archive 2011 - 1999

The College of Idaho Launches the Howard Berger Lecture Series

2010. 05. 05.


CALDWELL – The College of Idaho announced today it will launch the Howard Berger Lecture Series, a lectureship designed to promote greater understanding of Jewish traditions, culture, and philosophy in Idaho and the West. The lecture series is the first step in establishing an endowed chair in Judaic Studies at the College of Idaho which would be the first of its kind in the Intermountain West.

The Howard Berger Lecture Series brings distinguished scholars to the state to discuss topics of Jewish history and to provide awareness of the role of Jewish traditions, culture and philosophy in the West. It honors Dr. Howard Berger, a faculty member at the College of Idaho since 1982 who has influenced countless students to explore themes of human rights, diversity, and social justice through his courses on Jewish history and the Holocaust.

The first scholar to visit Idaho as part of the lecture series will be Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund, an internationally renowned Judaic scholar and historian. Dr. Freund will discuss his research on ancient archeology sites throughout the Middle East at the College of Idaho on May 11 in Langroise Hall at 7:30 pm.

The Berger lectureship was made possible thanks to donations by foundations and individuals. The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation contributed a total of $150,000 to support the lectureship, including the initial and culminating gifts to complete fundraising for it. Ray H. Neilsen, chairman of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and chairman of Ameristar Casinos, Inc., is one of Dr. Berger's former students.

“Dr. Berger introduced his students to cultures and concepts that we hardly knew about living in Idaho. This lectureship, inspired by Dr. Berger's career, is most appropriate, and I am honored to be one of the supporters,” Neilsen said.

The Howard Berger Lecture Series is the first step in establishing an endowed chair in Judaic Studies at The College of Idaho. When fully funded, the chair will support a permanent faculty position at the college and provide courses on Jewish history and texts, public seminars and lectures, and study abroad opportunities.

Founded in 1891, the College of Idaho is the state's oldest, private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three undergraduate minors in four years. For more information on the College of Idaho, please visit