Left to right: Producer Kit Tyler, Executive Producer Jim Baxter and Dr. Kevin Starr.
In the heart of San Francisco’s Russian Hill district, the Legacy Project had the chance to interview one of California’s preeminent scholars, Dr Kevin Starr, for its upcoming public television documentary “Becoming California.”
Arriving in a tweed coat, baby blue button shirt and matching bow tie, Dr. Starr was a marvel to listen to as he shared his vast knowledge and keen insights on California’s storied environmental history. From the early Mission and Spanish periods, to the Gold Rush and the discovery of oil, to the state’s modern day struggle to reconcile its heroic technological engine with the stewardship of its natural environment, Dr. Starr moved effortlessly yet powerfully from one grand period of California’s history to the next.
Author of over half a dozen books, Dr. Starr may be best known for his ongoing multi-volume history of California, collectively entitled “Americans and the California Dream.”
A native of California, Dr. Starr was born in San Francisco. He earned his MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University in American Literature. He toured the state as a professor or visiting lecturer at many universities all across California until he joined the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1989, first as a professor of urban and regional planning and later as a professor of history.
Dr. Starr served as State Librarian from 1994 to 2004. He has received multiple awards for his work, including a National Humanities Medal. He was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2010.