One week from today, 2,000 plus runners and walkers will gather in McCorkle Place to participate in the 4th Annual Eve Carson Memorial 5K. 

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to sign up to participate in or support the event (see links below).  And it’s also a good time to re-visit and learn from the many lessons Eve left behind.  Lessons or reminders for business and for life.

Eve Carson was President of her high school in Athens, Georgia. She was valedictorian of her class.

She went to UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, was Phi Beta Kappa and selected as a North Carolina Fellow.  She spent her summers studying and volunteering in Wyoming, Ecuador and Egypt. She was President of the Student Body during her senior year.

She always had time for people. Loved to have dance parties. Looked for the good in everything and everyone. Fun, fun loving and loved by so many.

With all of these (plus many more) activities, she still had a 3.9 GPA and was scheduled to graduate in May 2008 with highest distinction in biology and political science.

Two months prior to graduation, she was gunned down in what police called a random act of violence.

Thousands of people attended candlelit vigils. Thousands attended a memorial service in the Dean E. Smith Center. Both men’s and women’s basketball teams wore EVE badges on their uniforms for the rest of the season.

Many events and funds were created to celebrate her life. One of these was The Eve Carson Memorial 5K for Education, organized by Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and the Pi Beta Pi Sorority. In the first year, 900 runners participated. That number jumped to 2000 in the second year. Even more runners signed up to participate in the 3rd Annual and 1500 of them turned out to participate even though it was a very rainy day. The 4th Annual will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2011.

The video below was produced by last year’s race organizers. In it you will see pictures of Eve and thousands who have been inspired by her – at gatherings on campus right after her death, at the race in her honor in years since – indications of the legacy she left behind.

A tragic but inspiring story about a young woman who lived and led with purpose, passion and conviction. People knew what she stood for: work hard, play hard, keep an open mind, learn from your mistakes, never give up. Include others. Involve others. Accept others. Be good. Seek to be great.

She didn’t just say these things. She lived them. And she made her vision so clear and compelling that others have wanted to carry it forward without her.

When she ran for Student Body President, part of her platform was to establish a scholarship fund to help students realize their leadership potential.

From her campaign literature: “As students, we want the best possible leaders for our campus leadership positions, regardless of their financial standing. If the best student suited for these positions cannot run for them because they have to work to supplement their financial aid package, we are severely limiting our campus community.” Link to more on this.

Through the work of many, her vision has become a reality. The Eve Carson Scholarship was established in 2008 and has already been awarded to five students. A primary source of funds has been The Eve Carson Memorial 5K for Education, which has generated over $80,000 in its first three years. This year the race will also benefit First Book and CEO 4 Teens.

Watching the video above

…watching the students who masterfully and lovingly put this race together each year

…hearing people say on race day, “Eve would be so proud”,

…knowing that what Eve stood for will live on through the annual scholarship application and award process at UNC,

…knowing that the same thing will happen each year as the Clarke County school system (where Eve grew up) selects a teacher from the district and a student from each of its twenty-one schools to receive the annual Eve Carson Award…

…from all of that, we see how Eve touched and will continue to touch people of all ages – because of the way she led and because of the way she lived. With purpose and passion. With vision and conviction.

What a wonderful reminder to each of us – of the difference a single individual can make in this world.

Would you like to support Eve’s vision for the education and development of future leaders?

There is still time:

And there is still time for us to live our lives and do business the way Eve did.

Links of interest: