Eve Marie Carson Lecture Series

Former Student Body President Eve Carson started the Distinguished Speakers Series of Student Government in 2007 to be a student run and student selected lecture series.  Eve strongly believed in Carolina students, saying, “it’s us — the student body — who make UNC what it is.” She felt that speakers strengthen the values of the student body and equip the students of our university to better serve their communities and the world.

The Distinguished Speakers Series was renamed the Eve Marie Carson Lecture Series in honor of Carson’s legacy. The values set forth for speakers in the series are those to which we, members of the Carolina community, aspire: a strong ability to lead ourselves and others, a commitment to public service, and a proven ability to enact real, positive change in a community.

The Eve Marie Carson Lecture Series was established by UNC Student Government, and the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council became its presenting sponsor in 2010.

Eve Carson 2007, Student Body President UNC-Chapel Hill

2024 Speaker: Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 at 6:00 pm
Carolina Union Auditorium


2024 Eve Marie Carson Lecture Featured Speaker: Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Carolina Morehead-Cain alumna Shilpi Somaya Gowda ’92 is a renowned New York Times best-selling author known for her compelling storytelling and exploration of diverse cultural landscapes. Born in Toronto, Canada, she spent her formative years surrounded by a rich tapestry of multicultural influences. Her writing reflects her deep appreciation for the complexities of human relationships, cultural nuances and the universal themes that bind us all.

Gowda gained international acclaim with her debut novel, Secret Daughter, a poignant tale that traverses the contrasting worlds of India and North America. The novel delves into the complexities of adoption and identity and was inspired by a summer she spent in college volunteering for an Indian orphanage. The success of Secret Daughter catapulted Gowda into the literary spotlight, and she continued to captivate readers with her subsequent novels, The Golden Son and The Shape of Family. More than two million copies of her books have been sold worldwide, and they have been translated into more than 30 languages. Her novels have been selected as book-club picks for Target, Amnesty International, Costco and more. Gowda was awarded the Prix des Lycéens folio, a prestigious French literary prize, for The Golden Son. Her next novel, A Great Country, is being released on March 26, 2024, and is available for pre-order now. Her first novel is currently in production with Amazon Studios to be a feature film, starring Priyanka Chopra and Sienna Miller.

After earning a B.A. in economics and international studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, Gowda received an MBA from Stanford University. She now lives in California, where she has served on the advisory board of the Children’s Defense Fund and is a patron of Child Haven International, the organization for which she volunteered in India.

Past Speakers

*scroll table horizontally to view all
Year Speaker
2022 Michelle Dorrance, founder and artistic director of award-winning NYC tap dance company, Dorrance Dance
2021 Karen Parker '65, Award winning journalist and first African American female graduate of Carolina
2020 Tim Sullivan '85, Former CEO of Ancestry.com and Match.com
2019 John Grisham, award winning author of The Reckoning
2018 Kathy Izard, author of The Hundred Story Home and advocate for the homeless
2017 Sallie Krawcheck '87, CEO and Co-founder of Ellevest
2016 Rye Barcott ’01, founder of Carolina for Kibera
2015 Frank Bruni ’86, The New York Times columnist and best-selling author
2014 Barbara Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, author of Love 2.0
2013 Ping Fu, Chief Strategic Officer of 3D Systems, Inc. and founder of Geomagic
2012 Jonathan T.M. Reckford ’84, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International
2011 Robert Gibbs, former White House spokesman
2010 Mika Brzezinski, journalist and co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC