Duke Law School alum hopes $5M gift spurs others

Posted January 7, 2011 11:51 a.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2011 1:42 p.m. EST

— A Duke Law School graduate and his wife have donated $5 million to the school in hopes of prompting contributions from others.

The law school said Friday the donation is the latest in a long line made by Stanley and Elizabeth Star. Stanley Star graduated from the law school in 1961.

Six years ago, the couple pledged $3 million to the school for the building of Star Commons, a gathering spot on campus.

“Just as their gift to create the Star Commons transformed our physical plant, this gift has the potential to elevate the academic life of our community by supporting and extending the work of our faculty and the opportunities we provide to students," law school Dean David Levi said in a statement. "It is a gift that will have a lasting, substantive impact on the law school."

Stanley Star is the former principal of Cliffstar Corp., which began as his family’s 19th century winery in Dunkirk, N.Y. Under his leadership, the company became one of the country’s leading private-label juice manufacturers.

He is a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors, and he previously served as co-chair of the law school’s Building Campaign Committee.

The Stars recently contributed funds to help launch the school’s Law and Entrepreneurship LLM program, which welcomed its inaugural class in August. Their previous gifts have funded the Stanley A. Star Professorship of Law and Business and the Star Scholarship, which provides financial support to students.

Duke University trustee Peter Kahn says the Stars' contribution has already inspired him and his wife, Debbie, to donate to the law school.

"Stanley has always been a leader, and as such, he wants to encourage others to join with him to take Duke Law School to the next level,” Kahn said in a statement. “This challenge gift is a great way to do that. It can and should serve as a catalyst for giving among alumni and friends of the law school who want to give back to the next generation of students in appreciation for what the school has done for them."