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The gift that came from a very good career decision

Dr. Robert Carp establishes a planned gift to endow a chair in the Department of Political Science

When he first began teaching at University of Houston, Robert Carp wasn’t thinking about retirement or estate planning. He was a 25-year-old man with the goal of buying a house with enough yard space for a garden.

This year, Dr. Carp, professor of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will celebrate the 44th year of his career at UH.  In that time, he purchased a home with a garden, as well as a condominium in Galveston. These days, he can often be seen taking one of his 10-mile walks along the Seawall.

Because he spent roughly two-thirds of his life at UH, and has no children of his own, Dr. Carp recently made an estate-planning decision to leave a gift to the institution he loves.

“It is just natural for me to give to University of Houston,” said Dr. Carp. “I never minded going to work since I enjoyed it so much – I drive to work every day with a smile on my face. This has been what put the bread on the table, so I want to give back.”

Dr. Carp’s generous gift will endow a Chair in Political Science and provide financial support and leadership to the department where he dedicated his career.

Shortly after earning his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa in 1969, Dr. Carp began his career at UH as a professor of political science. His specialty is Public Law, which includes Constitutional Law and Judicial Process – his most frequently taught courses.

During his distinguished career at UH, he served as Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences from 1982 to 2000, received the UH Teaching Excellence Award in 1996, published five books, authored 48 articles and won numerous research grants, and authored 48 articles.

“I am very fortunate,” said Dr. Carp. “As people get older they tend to review their primary life-decisions, thinking about which were the good ones, and which were the poor ones.  When it comes to my joining the University of Houston, this was one of my very good decisions.”

Over the course of his career, Dr. Carp has made an impact on a countless number of students. Often, he is contacted by former students with questions, comments about his books, or just to say hello or invite him to an event.

“I’m not on Facebook, but students have contacted me through the UH Facebook page,” said Dr. Carp. “After they contact me, I add their names to the political science newsletter to help the department keep up with our alumni.”

One of his greatest pleasures is attending commencement ceremonies and seeing his students become alumni and witnessing the excitement of families and friends as their loved ones receive their diplomas. Over the years, the racial and ethnic make-up of the students crossing the graduation stage has expanded to global proportions.

“The best thing about UH is the diversity of the students,” said Dr. Carp. “When I first got here, it was not diverse at all. But I like the diversity and have learned from my students.”

Dr. Carp never thought he would be working at the same place for so long, but UH has provided him a quality of life that he enjoys. Therefore, he is happy to give back to the place that has given him so many good memories.

 “I am so lucky because I like what I do and who I am,” said Dr. Carp.

-By Monica Byars

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