A Brief History of CPJ

The seeds of the Lawrence D. Starr Global Studies Institute at the University of Saint Mary grew from discussions among Dr. Martin Stack, Dr. Randy Scott, and Dr. Sandra Van Hoose in 2002. Stack and Scott had proposed a global studies major, drawing on multiple disciplines at USM. Van Hoose proposed the creation of an “internationally-focused center” in tandem with the new major, which prompted Stack and Scott to develop conceptual frameworks for both the global studies major and the Global Studies Institute.


Larry Starr

GSI was named for Lawrence D. Starr. Following his death in October 2004, Larry’s estate bequeathed a significant endowment to the University of Saint Mary specifically to advance and expand the newly-created Global Studies Institute.

Larry was an astute and innovative businessman, known as the father of vacuum packing in the meat-processing industry. Larry believed that all worthwhile change emanates from education.

Through the efforts of Dr. George Steger, Larry decided to support our university, and even serve as a member of its Board of Governors, because he believed in the universality of truth and justice, and he saw in the mission of Saint Mary the same virtues he wanted for himself and for the world in which he lived.

In 2016, USM celebrated the United Nations International Day of Peace with a moving presentation from special-guest Joyce Hess, president of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and member of the Second Generation Speakers Bureau.

Hess shared the unimaginable first-hand experiences of her mother, Sonia Goland, during World War II as a middle-class Jew in Vilna (the capital of Lithuania today; originally, in Poland). Goland’s narrative and cry for tolerance also served as the introductory platform to renaming the Starr Global Studies Institute to the Lawrence D. Starr Center for Peace and Justice in Our Global Society (CPJ), rededicating the Starr endowment to its mission of building peace through understanding and awareness.