- National Academies (1976)
- National Academy of Sciences
- National Academies (1964)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Guggenheim Fellow (1959)
Richard Starr joined the faculty at IU Bloomington in 1952 as an instructor in the botany department. He was promoted from instructor to assistant professor in 1953, assistant to associate professor in 1957, and associate to full professor in 1960. He resigned from IU in 1976 to accept a position at the University of Texas. There, he would be appointed the Ashbel Smith Professor Chair and the Harold C. and Mary L. Bold Regents Professor of Cryptogamic Botany Chair (1987). Starr received a B.S. in secondary education from Georgia Southern Teacher’s College in 1944, an M.A. from George Peabody College in 1947, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1952.
A freshwater phycologist, Starr established the Culture Collection of Algae in America at IU in 1963. This collection is the “premier collection in the world and the foundation of modern research on algae.” He would take the collection with him when he relocated to Texas. Starr has four taxon named in his honor; they are Starria gen. nov. (Cyanophyta), Chlorococcum starrii sp. nov. (Chlorophyta), Cystomonas starrii, and Pleodorina starrii sp. nov. (Chlorophyta).
Starr has received numerous honors awards for his work, such as a Fulbright Fellowship to study with E.G. Pringsheim at Cambridge University (1950-1951), the Darbaker Prize from the Botanical Society of America (1955), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Plant Sciences (1959), an Alexander von Humboldt-Stifting Senior Award to visit the Max Planck Institute in Koeln (1972-1973), and the Merit Award from the Botanical Society (1973). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1976, received the NAS Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal in 1985, and was awarded the Phycological Society of America’s Award of Excellence in 1997.
Starr passed away on February 3, 1998.