Phi Kappa Phi Connection Spans Generation
Dec. 9, 2011
UT Dallas senior Evan Baldwin Carr’s recent induction into the Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society was a commitment for his future, but it also represented a connection to his family’s past.
Evan did not know his parents would drive nearly 1,200 miles to surprise him at the ceremony, where he and 200 other students became part of the new UT Dallas chapter of the society. Phi Kappa Phi is among the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor societies.
The Carrs drove from Lansing, Mich. to deliver a special memento: the original Phi Kappa Phi membership pin of Evan’s late uncle and namesake, Army 1st Lt. Baldwin “Ronald” Carr.
1st Lt. Baldwin "Ronald" Carr was captured as prisoner of war in the Korean War one year after he was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi.
In 1950, Ronald Carr was inducted into the society. Just over a year later, he was captured and died as a prisoner of war in North Korea. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart medal in 2009.
“I was under the impression that my aunt would be coming, and lo and behold, my parents show up right next to me. It almost brought tears to my eyes,” Evan said.
“I believe it’s an honor and a privilege, and something that I have to carry on for the rest of my life and carry on in my family’s name as well,” Evan said of receiving the pin of the uncle he never met.
Dr. Denise Paquette Boots is the University’s founding president of Phi Kappa Phi. She said she was touched by the Carrs’ story.
“It struck me as a perfect example of the Phi Kappa Phi spirit of academic excellence that has been passed down across generations in this family,” she said. “I hope this will be a constant reminder of the ties that bind Evan both to UT Dallas and to the legacy of achievement and support that is part of his family heritage.”
Evan Carr, a School of Interdisciplinary Studies senior, was recently inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. His parents drove 1,200 miles to surprise him at the ceremony.
Evan came to UT Dallas as a transfer student from Richland College, which is part of the Dallas County Community College District. The interdisciplinary studies major is now in a fast track program to obtain both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in an accelerated time frame.
“Right now I’m working on my undergraduate degree, and I’ll be starting work on my master’s degree in public policy next semester. I’d like to become an entrepreneur and possibly run for political office someday.”
Evan’s father, Gordon, said that passing on his brother’s pin to Evan was bittersweet.
“When we heard the news of Evan’s invitation to join the society, I found Ronald’s old pin in his jewelry box,” Gordon Carr said. “Evan is named after his uncle, so naturally his mother and I are excited that he’s been bestowed such an honor.”
Gordon Carr called his son’s time at UT Dallas, including his invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi, an awakening experience.
“He’s changed so much since he’s been there,” he said. “He has a real entrepreneurial spirit, and I know he’ll graduate and go on to do great things.”
Baldwin Ronald Carr became a member of Phi Kappa Phi in 1950. He died as a prisoner of war in North Korea in 1951.
Gordon Carr said his brother Ronald was inducted into the society shortly before he graduated from what is now Michigan State University. After college, he joined the Army and was part of the D Company of 6th Medium Tank Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, stationed in South Korea.
According to United States military documents, 1st Lt. Carr was “well respected by his troops and, in captivity, by fellow POWs.” Though he died at the PAK’s Palace POW camp in North Korea in late August 1951, his remains have never been recovered.
It was at the conclusion of the November Phi Kappa Phi ceremony that Gordon Carr presented his son with Ronald Carr’s pin during an emotional statement.
“Ronald was an exceptional person,” Gordon Carr said of his brother. “Evan, I charge you to wear this pin with honor and to uphold all that it stands for.”
|2011 Phi Kappa Phi Inductees|
Alejandro Tirado Alcarez
Induction Ceremony Welcomes
Members to UT Dallas Chapter
UT Dallas became the 316th chapter of Phi Kappa Phi last spring as part of the University’s effort to highlight academic achievement and become a nationally recognized Tier One research university.
In all, just over 200 UT Dallas students accepted membership into the society.
Of those, about 150 attended induction ceremonies on Nov. 21 and 22, for undergraduate and graduate students, respectively.
Phi Kappa Phi members — and nonmember UT Dallas students — have opportunities for grants and scholarship awards through the society. Members are eligible to apply for more than $700,000 in awards and honors annually from the national organization.
Membership also offers opportunities for service, fellowships and a national mentorship program.
Denise Paquette Boots, the University’s founding president of Phi Kappa Phi, said the ceremonies recognized the highest levels of academic excellence as embodied by the fall 2011 student initiates.
“I speak for all members of our chapter when I say we are so proud that each of you has chosen to become part of a century-old community of scholars and professionals,” she said at the ceremonies. “Involvement in Phi Kappa Phi will enrich your experience at UT Dallas and beyond.”
For more information about Phi Kappa Phi at UT Dallas, contact the Collegium V office at 972-883-4297.