Prof. Bela L. Biro


Quick Facts

Born: 08/26/1937,  Endrod, Hungary
Died: 10/24/2014, Hungary

Last Residence:  Northridge, California
Spouse: Dr. Ruth G. Biro
Number of children: 0

Source:   by Ruth G. Biro

In Hungary
Education: Bela’s classical gymnasium education in Hungary was interrupted by events in 1956.
Occupation: Student
Active role in the revolution: NO

In United States of America
Arrival: 1957, Pittsburgh, Pa
Education: Bethel Park High School
Bela was called for service in the Korean Conflict, he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Germany and travelled widely to military competitions as an expert marksman. Returning to the USA after his tour of duty, Bela enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his B.A. in Geography in 1969 while working full-time. In Chicago, while he undertook his Master’s degree studies and completed his thesis in 1973 in Human and Physical Geography on “Summer Physiologic Climate of Pennsylvania: A Bioclimatic Investigation Concerning the Responses of Man”.

Bela launched his doctoral study in Climatology and Geomorphology at the conclusion of his M.A. in 1973 and began a decade of teaching at the branch campus of  the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville (UPT), with courses in Earth and Man, Urbanization, Geology, Meteorology, and Physical Geography.
In 1983 Bela was awarded a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Pittsburgh. His dissertation topic was “Local Climatological Investigation of Wind Fields in the Lower Monongahela Valley of Allegheny, Pennsylvania”.
Occupation: Professor of Geography
Workplace: University of Pittsburgh, Titusville, Pennsylvania;  California State University at Northridge

Awards:  Bela lent his expertise on Hungary to his spouse, Ruth,  through a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Grant in 1989, awarded in 1990 and again in 1991. His legacy of inspiration for language, literature, geography, folklore and ethnic studies continued over his lifespan.

From 1958 onward, Bela was an occasional contributor to Hungarian-American  newspapers and periodicals, and journals in Hungary. In the 1960's Bela initiated Hungarian language studies at Pitt and taught Hungarian language courses at levels 1,2,3, and 4 in the School of General Studies.  He also taught Hungarian dances to scouts in Cleveland.  In 1974, he was one of twelve founding members of the American Hungarian Educators Association (AHEA) and served as its first treasurer. Bela was also active in many Hungarian - American  local and national organizations and activities, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival featuring Hungarian culture. Through the National Council of International Visitors and Fulbright programs, he hosted many Hungarian scholars, authors, and artists in his home. For more than twenty years he sold Hungarian books and resources from Puski- Corvin in New York to those in the Pittsburgh area.  In the decade of the 80’s, Bela was international business representative for Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia for the Robert Wholey Fish and Seafood Company of Pittsburgh and he was research associate with the United Technology Center in Pittsburgh, where he worked on East European topics.  HIs research on western Pennsylvania communities helped form the basis for the 1980-1981 AHEA Ethnic Heritage grant on Hungarian Americans in Pittsburgh, a study directed by Paul Body which resulted in the publication of ten booklets.  He also facilitated the formulation and publication of the Hungarian Picture Dictionary for Young Americans, by Ruth G. Biro, Miklos Kontra, and Zsofia Radnai, issued in Budapest by Tankonyvkiado in 1989.
In 1984 Bela brought his niece and nephew (his sister’s children) from Hungary for a lengthy visit to the USA. They attended the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles CA, which eventually led to Bela’s move to California the next year to teach at California State University at Northridge, where he remained until his retirement and his return to Bekes county in Hungary in 2000.  He  decided to move back to the homeland from California following his diagnosis of cancer.
Bela L. Biro, a committed Hungarian and Hungarian-American, will be remembered for his generous service and endeavors benefitting his homeland of Hungary and his adopted nation of the USA.
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