Local News

Slain UNC Student 'Embraced the World'

Posted March 7, 2008 7:45 a.m. EST
Updated March 18, 2008 2:12 a.m. EDT

— The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's slain student body president will be laid to rest Sunday in her hometown of Athens, Ga.

Eve Carson's family on Friday announced a visitation planned at the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church on Lumpkin Street from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Carson will be buried at the church 3 p.m. Sunday.

As investigators searched for more clues in the 22-year-old UNC senior's shooting death, those who knew Carson during her years at Clarke Central High School in Athens, remembered her as a generous and large-hearted spirit. (Read more about the investigation.)

"Eve valued life. All life, all people. It didn't matter to Eve. She just embraced the world," Principal Maxine Easom said.

Carson lived with a family in Ecuador and volunteered with a doctor in a peasant health-care center one summer, they remembered.

"There's not too many good human beings around anymore, and she was really one of them," Buddy Simms, Carson's biology teacher, said. She was "just a person who was going to do good things for people. She was so kind, so compassionate, so caring."

Meanwhile, state flags flew at half-staff on UNC's campus, and a number of professors canceled classes Friday. The university is on spring break next week.

Dozens of students wrote stories about their "Memories of Eve" on walls and posted pictures of Carson on announcement boards near the center of campus.

"I think it is a true testament to her leadership," Josh Criscoe, co-president of the Campus Y, said. "She was about empowering other people, including other people and making them feel important and helping them succeed."

Carson Leaves Legacy

UNC System President Erskine Bowles and other members of the Board of Governors remembered Carson and her family at a meeting Friday, with a moment in prayer.

Bowles said Carson left "an indelible mark" on him during their many meetings while she was student body president.

"I've known lots of young people and young leaders, but I have rarely met someone who immediately made you feel like she was your friend and you were her friend," he said.

"I can remember her coming to talk to me about the need to keep the university affordable. (She) was as strong and on point as anybody you can imagine," he continued.

She also made a mark on UNC athletics.

Basketball Coach Roy Williams said Carson's death has deeply affected his basketball team as it prepares for a Saturday-night matchup against rival Duke University.

Williams said he gathered the team at practice to put the game and Carson's death into perspective.

"It shows that this is just a basketball game. And it's a big game, it's a game that's going to get a lot of attention, but it's still a game," Williams said.

"I mean, we're talking about a young person. And we, as old people, we're supposed to die before our children, not have our children died before us," he added.

Two players knew her well, he said, though he declined to identify them. A photo submitted to WRAL.com shows standout Tyler Hansbrough posing with Carson.

"One of the headlines in this morning's '(The) Daily Tar Heel' hit me," Williams said. "It said, she loves the Quad in the spring and the arboretum in the fall, and 'I love Roy all the time.'"

UNC players will wear a tribute on their uniforms, and there will be a moment of silence before Saturday's game. A Duke graduate student is also leading an effort to have everyone who attends the game wear light-blue-and-white ribbons.

Carson, a pre-med major studying political science and biology, was active in leadership and service roles. As a Morehead-Cain scholar, she spent her summers volunteering and working overseas in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana.

She was considering spending the summer after graduation volunteering in Kibera, a section of Kenya's capital, Nairobi, that was wracked by rioting early this year.

Carson pushed her class to make its senior gift a donation to the nonprofit group Carolina for Kibera to build a medical clinic.

"We would have been lucky to have her infectious spirit and life-force on the ground," said Rye Barcott said in a statement from CFK. "She embodied hope and goodness. This world is much less without her in it. But she will always be a part of us in spirit."

Kelli Clifton, who attended high school and college with Carson, remembered that as a freshman without a car, Carson would chat about her plans for the university when they shared rides home to Athens.

"Eve would want to talk about all the great things that she would want to do at Carolina and that she would want to make a difference," Clifton said. "There's nothing that she could not do."

A tribute to Carson in the student newspaper, "The Daily Tar Heel," on Friday praised Carson as "the epitome of the Carolina student" with an "extensive dedication to service and student groups."

"Eve is really the epitome of what Carolina tries to bring out in their students," Clifton said. "And for her to be able to accomplish that in less than four years; it takes some of us a lifetime to be able to do what Carolina wants us to do."