Column: Seeking to be both great and good
This column was originally given as a eulogy on March 18, 2008.
When I met with Eve to discuss the possibility of me serving as her vice president, I knew right away that something was different. As I listened to Eve discuss her vision for this university and the role she hoped student government would play in making that vision a reality, I was inspired. I had to be a part of her team.
Like no one else I have ever met before, Eve valued friendship and teamwork. On her campaign website Eve wrote, “I want to make student government something that everyone wants to be a part of: I want to make bettering this university something exciting for all of you.”
She assembled the largest, most diverse cabinet in the history of student government. She broke traditional barriers that typically stood between student government and students on campus. Our senior adviser profoundly described Eve as someone who “wasn’t constrained by the conventional ways that we typically attack problems in student government.”
In the student government that Eve built, there were no hierarchical structures or administrative protocols. We were simply teammates working together to achieve a common vision: a better UNC.
Just a few weeks ago, UNC hosted a visit from the vice chancellor of student affairs at Kabul University in Afghanistan, Professor Zaheb. While giving him a tour of campus, Eve stopped in the Pit and spontaneously assembled some members of the student a capella group Tar Heel Voices.
She asked if they would sing a song for Professor Zaheb — and after some back-and-forth discussion, the students agreed and sang the song featured in the film “Top Gun,” titled “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling.”
Eve conveyed to Zaheb what many of us wanted to share about the culture at UNC but could not describe in words — what Eve often referred to as “the Carolina Way.” We all felt it that day.
A few days ago, I received a message from Professor Zaheb expressing his condolences after hearing the news of Eve’s passing. She had done it again. With a song and a warm smile, Eve had managed to make a profound impact that will live with Professor Zaheb for many years to come.
Eve was a visionary and a listener. She was a teammate and a dear friend. She asked the questions that mattered. Eve tackled the most difficult issues and never backed down from a challenge.
Today, we face a challenge of our own. Together, we must continue to expand upon the foundation of inclusion, creativity and selflessness that Eve has built.
Whether you are a first-year student debating whether to study abroad, a graduating senior bidding farewell to Chapel Hill or a faculty member conducting groundbreaking research, I ask that you pick up where Eve left off. Take the time to meet new people, travel to a foreign land, volunteer at the Inter-Faith Council food pantry or start your own student organization.
Leave here knowing that we are all part of the team, and together we have Eve’s vision to achieve — a vision she articulated so well in an email to student government leaders: “Inclusion, involvement, diversity, acceptance, ‘seeking to be great but always remembering that we must be GOOD’ — this is just the START of the Carolina Way!”
Thank you, Eve, for showing us the Carolina Way; you will always be our president.
Thanks for reading.
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