Steven Starkovich

Associate Professor of Physics

Steve Starkovich
Tu & Th:
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Professional
  • Personal


  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Victoria, British Columbia, 1993
  • M.S., Educational Policy and Management, University of Oregon, 1985
  • B.A., Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, 1976

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Dynamical Astronomy
  • General Relativity


Steve Starkovich is an associate professor of physics at Pacific Lutheran University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences with an emphasis in atmospheric chemistry from Oregon State University. His master’s degree is in educational policy and management with an emphasis in higher education administration from the University of Oregon. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and his area of specialization is general relativity and field theory.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1976, Starkovich pursued his interest in Oregon state politics, and in 1982 he was elected to the Oregon State Senate. In 1985 he was chosen by his fellow state senators as majority leader – only the second time to that point in Oregon history that someone was elected to serve as senate majority leader while still in his first term. He worked mostly on issues related to the environment, labor and education, and he chaired several significant legislative committees. He earned his master’s degree while still serving in the Oregon Legislature, and returned to graduate school in 1987, earning his Ph.D. in 1992.

Starkovich first came to PLU in 1992 and was hired into a tenure-track position in 1997. He was a principal investigator on a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation that brought an astronomical observatory to the PLU campus in 1998. The observatory has been a valuable addition to the university’s astronomy curriculum and to its public outreach efforts through PLU’s Jazz Under the Stars concerts and through events held in collaboration with the Tacoma Astronomical Society.

Starkovich taught for 17 years prior to becoming acting provost in 2009 and then provost in 2010. Before becoming provost, his university service included chair of the physics department (three and a half years), a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee (five years), a member of the Budget Advisory Committee (six years), parliamentarian to the chair of the Faculty Assembly (two years), elected faculty representative to the Board of Regents, and special assistant to the provost for budget modeling.

Starkovich was raised on his family’s farm in Oregon. He and his partner, Ruth Williams, have lived in Seattle since 1989.