If you ask Paul McCarthy’s friends to recall a favorite memory of him, they’ll tell you that everybody who knew him was drawn to his easygoing attitude.
McCarthy died in a 2003 auto accident, but friends still recall rides with him in his old Jeep Cherokee they called the “Woody Wagon” for its wood grain sides. He was always late, but it was because he had gotten caught up helping someone. And McCarthy always wore flip-flops, even if the temperature was below freezing.
“He had a life-is-good type of attitude,” says Jeff Holland ’03, McCarthy’s friend since they were in preschool together. “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have known who Jimmy Buffett was.”
McCarthy graduated from NC State in 2002 with a zoology degree and had just completed his first year of dental school at Boston University when he died. He left such an indelible impression on his friends that it didn’t take them long to think of a way to celebrate his life. They started the Paul Elam McCarthy Memorial Scholarship Endowment to help a student at NC State every year who is pursuing a career in medicine or dentistry.
McCarthy’s friends also started the Paul Elam McCarthy Memorial Golf Tournament, an annual event whose proceeds continue to grow the endowment. The tournament is now in its ninth year and will take place Saturday, September 8, at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on Centennial Campus. Registration is open until the morning of the event, and it is open to anyone who wants to participate.
Holland, the tournament’s co-chairman, says McCarthy loved golf and had played it ever since he was a young boy growing up in Lumberton, N.C. But the tournament is not about the lowest score under par.
“One of the primary intents is to raise money for the scholarship,” Holland says. “It’s equally important for friends of Paul. It gives all those people a chance to get back together and remember him and have a positive event to share in the memories.”