Carolina Dedicates Garden to Memory of Eve Carson

 Eve Marie Carson Garden.

Ferns were planted as part of the dedication of the Eve Marie Carson Garden. Elinor Benami, a senior who was the inaugural Eve Marie Carson Scholarship in 2008-09, is second from left, with Tom Terrell ’79, a former member of the GAA Board of Directors. (Photo by Dan Sears ’74)

Several hundred people from across campus gathered just south of the Campus Y on Thursday afternoon to remember Eve Carson ’08, Carolina’s former student body president who was killed two years ago this week.

The event marked the dedication of the new Eve Marie Carson Garden, on Polk Place off Cameron Avenue behind the Campus Y.

The tribute also is intended as a place of honor for all Carolina students, past and future, who pass away before they graduate.

Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86, in remembering Carson, spoke of how fitting the new garden is to Carson’s memory — of how a garden is the ideal place to sit and reflect, to read, to talk with a friend. A wall in the garden features a quote from Carson: “Learn from every single being, experience, and moment. What joy it is to search for lessons and goodness and enthusiasm in others.” The inscription wall is made of Georgia marble in honor of Carson’s home state.

Also speaking at the event were Bob Winston ’84, chair of the UNC Board of Trustees; Student Body President Jasmin Jones; former Student Body President Seth Dearmin ’06; and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Peggy Jablonski.

Within months of Carson’s death in March 2008, a group of students and staff began work to design both a scholarship program in her name and a permanent physical remembrance of Carson on campus. The first Eve Marie Carson Scholar was named last year, and two more were announced in January.

The garden includes a seating area that orients people toward Polk Place, flanked by colorful seasonal shrubs and flowers that were some of Carson’s favorites.

Every aspect of the garden was chosen intentionally, said Jill Coleman, University landscape architect. The seating area features a blue stone seat set in a traditional campus Chatham stone wall.

“One of the nice things about a garden is a sense of nature and order,” said Carson’s father, Bob Carson of Athens, Ga. “It’s a great place and, as you’ve envisioned, it will nurture many wonderful friendships, ideas, laughs and thoughtful moments.”

From the outset, the garden has been a product of student leadership, Jablonski said. “Every detail of the final product reflects their desire to make this garden a place of reflection, interaction and inclusiveness,” she said. “The location choice, on Polk Place near the Campus Y, represents the essence of campus life, a place where the Carolina community comes together.”

The garden was a project of UNC’s Student Government, Division of Student Affairs, Auxiliary Services and Facilities Services. It was funded by private donations from Student Affairs, Auxiliary Services, past student body presidents and friends of Carson.

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