Eve Carson's legacy at UNC still strong five years after death
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CHAPEL HILL – The first two lines of UNC's alma mater say, “Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices, ringing clear and true.” Eve Marie Carson's voice rang clearer and truer than most.
"I'm obsessed with this school. I love UNC," she said in an interview during her senior year.
Five years ago, she was finishing her term as student body president when she was kidnapped, robbed and murdered. It was just eight weeks before graduation.
"I miss her a lot," said Mike Tarrant, who worked with Eve on student government. "Not only was she this incredible leader that could bring the community together for a common cause, she could also connect with you as a person. "
Former Chancellor James Moeser said those connections made Eve's death even tougher for the student body.
"I think it's safe to say Eve changed lives by the interactions she had with other people,” he said. “Not because she died, but because of the way she lived, which made, I think, her death so hard."
Eve believed in public service, especially at Carolina.
Two weeks before her death, News 14 Carolina reporter Adam Rhew, who was a UNC student at the time, interviewed Eve for the final time on the university's student newscast, "Carolina Week." They talked about her term as student body president and about the challenges and opportunities facing her successor.
Like always, Eve sang Carolina's praises.
"This year has been such a blessing,” she said.
Moeser said it was Eve that was a blessing to the school.
"She had a transformative effect on this campus," he said.
A memorial on campus honors Eve today. "It's an incredible place to reflect on what Eve did for Carolina," Tarrant said.
Even five years after her death, Eve's impact on Carolina is profound. A scholarship fund in her name helps students with a passion for public service.
"I just really wish I could have met Eve Carson because I've heard such incredible things about her,” said Paige Holmes, who won the Carson scholarship this year. “She spread a lot of light to this campus."
Holmes said the award will give her the chance to start a program for students battling chronic illnesses.
"It also just ignited kind of this fire inside me, just this passion,” she said.
That passion is all too familiar to people who knew Eve.
"She just reinforced, I think, the kind of university we already were,” Moeser said. “But we're more of that kind of university today, and I think indelibly, because of Eve."