Dr. Dietrich W. Botstiber was born in Vienna in 1912 and received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the Technische Universität Wien. He came to the U.S. in 1938 and worked his way up as an engineer in various corporations in Pennsylvania and eventually became a successful entrepreneur himself.
He started a successful company – the Technical Development Company – among other things producing parts for the aerospace industry. He set up a trust and when he died in 2002, the Botstiber Foundation was inaugurated. His volume of memoirs Not from the Mayflower was published posthumously.
Part of the Botstiber Foundation’s mission is the promotion of Austrian – American studies. For this purpose the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies (BIASS) was set up and is directed by the Graz historian Professor Siegfried Beer. BIASS funds a annual “Botstiber Lecture” at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. After a visit by Terry Kline, the Botstiber Foundation’s administrator, to UNO, Center Austria became an active partner of BIAAS; Gűnter Bischof sits on its board.
In 2007 BIASS generously agreed to fund Austrian engineering students to study in the UNO engineering department for a year as “Botstiber Fellows.”
BIASS is also funding Bischof’s research project “Quiet Invaders Revisited” – a collective biography of Austrian emigrants to the United States since the end of World War I.
In 2009-2010 Philipp Strobl from the University of Innsbruck studied in the UNO History Department as a Botstiber Fellow and worked on emigration biographies funded by the BIASS grant. He will complete his M.A. in History in the fall term of 2010 with a thesis on the emigrants to the U.S. from the Burgenland in the 1920s. He also collaborated with Bischof on an essay on Arnold Schwarzenegger to be published by the University of Heidelberg later this year.