Facebook pixel Pepperdine Law mourns the loss of student Evan Carthen (UPDATED) Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Pepperdine Law mourns the loss of student Evan Carthen (UPDATED)

September 6, 2016 -- The Pepperdine University School of Law was saddened to learn of the passing of first-year student Evan Carthen.

A 2016 graduate of California Lutheran University with a BA in English language and literature and BS in letters and political science, Carthen was known for his compassionate heart and deep desire to make the world a better place. As an undergraduate, he served as president of the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government executive cabinet and was secretary of the Black Student Union of California Lutheran University. Carthen was inducted into the California Lutheran University Scholar-Athlete Society in 2013 and 2014 in recognition of his performance on the men's basketball team as well as in the classroom. He chose Pepperdine School of Law for its Christian mission and to fulfill his dream of becoming a district attorney.

"The Pepperdine University School of Law community mourns the tragic death of our promising 1L classmate, Evan Carthen," said School of Law Dean Deanell Tacha. "Evan had already demonstrated his enthusiasm for studying law and for being a part of this year's 1L class. We all join in prayers and sympathy with Evan's family and friends and pledge to permanently remember him as a treasured member of this community."

During this time of great loss and tragedy, the University encourages those who feel they may need additional support to contact the Counseling Center (x4210), the Office of the Chaplain (x4275), and the School of Law Dean's office (x4621) for any emotional or academic assistance.

For those who wish to send condolences to the family, please send cards, notes, or letters to: Dean DeWalt's Office, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway SOL 208C Malibu, CA 90263. The School of Law dean's office will forward them to the family.

UPDATE: Celebration of Life and Memorial Service

The School of Law held a celebration of life service honoring Evan Carthen on Friday, September 9, at 10:30 AM in the Lon V. Smith Atrium. The Carthen family, University President Andrew K. Benton, University chaplain Sara Barton, and others joined the School of Law community to celebrate Evan's time at Pepperdine Law.

Associate Dean Danny DeWalt welcomed the standing-room-only crowd of 250 attendees by reading from Evan's application essay, where he talked about his desire to be a light, and closed with the Bible verse, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). President Andrew K. Benton prayed, and then the first of Evan's 1L professors, Naomi Goodno, read Matthew 5:14-16 and reflected again on what became a common theme during the service, Evan's "light" to his communities. Professors Jim Gash and Amy Levin and Dean of Students Steve Shultz talked about the impact Evan had made on them even in his few weeks on campus and admired the family's incredible strength and welcoming nature despite their tragedy.

Evan's three roommates told stories about his kindness, sense of humor, and dedication to helping others. Cal Lutheran alumna and third year Pepperdine Law student Joette Carini reflected that Evan "loved his teachers, loved his classmates, he just loved everything." Finally, Megan, Evan's older sister, remarked of his open excitement at being a student at Pepperdine Law during his time here.

A memorial service for Evan will also be held Tuesday, September 13, at 10 AM at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church: 1575 W. 17th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92411.