We’d like to take a moment and pay homage to a remarkable Basque-American, John Etchemendy. Yesterday was his last day as the longest-serving provost at Stanford University. Born in Reno, Nevada, he received his B.A. and M.A. at UNR before going on to earn his PhD in philosophy at Stanford. Before he became provost, he taught at both Princeton and Stanford.

Beyond his many achievements, Etchemendy was a supporter of Basque cultural studies at Stanford, and even attended some of the classes himself. Moreover, in 2008 he was instrumental in bringing the then Lehendakari or Basque president, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, to Stanford to give a talk on the political situation in the Basque Country.

Etchemendy’s grandfather, Jean (John, but also nicknamed “Manex”) Etchemendy, was born in Arnegi, Lower Navarre, in 1884 and came to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century and married Basque-American Jeanne Trounday in Fresno in 1916. Although he began his new life as a sheepherder, in his grandson’s own words during an interview for Euskalkultura.com, he didn’t take too much to that life because of the solitude.  Instead, he went into the hotel business, buying in as a partner in the Overland Hotel in Garnerville in 1921. It was at the Overland that Jean and Jeanne’s children were raised, including John Etchemendy’s father Leon. Later, Leon would relocate to nearby Reno, where John was born in 1952.

We’re sure he’ll keep busy after this position and wish him luck!

Check out this great article about his legacy, published by Stanford news: http://news.stanford.edu/2017/01/24/provost-john-etchemendy-leaves-remarkable-legacy/

Information about Etchemendy’s Basque heritage was found in Basques in the United States. To learn more about your ancestors, be sure to check it out!