She Danced and Demanded: Eve Carson Is Remembered

Dance parties at her house “seemed spontaneous but were always expected.” She built the largest and most diverse cabinet in the history of student government, and when warned it was too big, she pressed on. She’d eat nearly all the ice cream, carefully saving one bite for her housemates. Give her 20 minutes on the trustees agenda, and she’d triple it, promising all the while that she was almost through.

She was always over-committed, yet always meticulous.

Eve Carson — the extraordinary leader and one-woman roving pep rally whose life was cut short in a moment of violence still unaccounted for two weeks later — was remembered by friends and student government associates in a memorial celebration Tuesday in the Dean Smith Center attended by perhaps 10,000 people. Reserved seating included her fellow Morehead-Cain Scholars.

With her parents and brother listening from the front row, a parade of speakers recalled a person of intense energy and a seemingly limitless curiosity about people, whether the villagers she worked with during a summer in Ecuador or the strangers at her table in Lenoir Hall. Carson, the student body president, was ferociously goal-oriented — she prodded her colleagues to write down their goals, and she checked regularly to see if they were meeting them. Her text messages drove friends to distraction with streams of exclamation points, and she inspired terms such as “Eve-citement” and “Eve standard time.”

“Eve kept close to her heart a sense of responsibility,” said Katie Sue Zellner, a junior from Lynchburg, Va., who worked with her in student government. “She refused to settle, refused to not care,” said housemate Aaron Charlop-Powers ’07.

Her friends wore light blue T-shirts with “Eve’s Dance Party” printed on the front and on the back the words “the world is our dance floor.” Those attending picked up blue-and-white ribbons and black stickers that read simply, “Eve.”

Peggy Jablonski, vice chancellor for student affairs, announced that a painting has been commissioned that will depict four campus scenes from a now-famous quote of Carson’s: “I love the quad in the spring and the Arboretum in the fall. I love the Pit on a sunny day and Graham Memorial Lounge on a rainy one.”

The UNC Gospel Choir sang a powerful Amazing Grace, and the ceremony ended with the singing of Hark the Sound and a Scottish benediction.

Former Student Body President Seth Dearmin ’06 was one of several speakers to charge the Carolina community to look inward and ask, are you doing enough for the world: “From this point we must speak loudly and act boldly. Eve’s mantle has been passed to us.”

“Eve was so genuine, always sincere,” Dearmin said. Her creed could be summed up as “study hard, play hard, keep an open mind. … If you make mistakes, make sure you learn from them.” Dearmin was accompanied at Tuesday’s service by 15 other former student body presidents, but it was as Carson’s friends that each of the students who spoke Tuesday framed their thoughts.

As one of those friends, Zellner talked of how Carson inspired and empowered others. “She believed in the people behind the causes,” Zellner said, “in leadership that believes in connecting the campus and connecting the world.”

Another friend and housemate, Anna Lassiter, talked with affection about Carson’s mannerisms and habits, such as compiling a list of all the people she had had a crush on in her life. “When she left a group, Eve would always say, ‘See you,’ ” which used to sound somewhat incomplete to Lassiter — not “See you later” or “See you tomorrow” — just “See you.”

“But it was perfect,” Lassiter explained, “because what Eve did was see all of us and see the world and see the beauty, excitement and the potential” to do great things.

Area television stations aired the service live on their Web sites in addition to broadcast coverage:

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Related coverage is available online:

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