Sometime in the early 1970s, Paul J. Binder, a then-young Evans Scholar, was seated next to Chick Evans at a formal dinner. Paul, wanting to make a good impression, thanked Chick sincerely for all the opportunities that he and the Evans Scholars Foundation had afforded him. Chick, who probably couldn’t go five minutes without someone thanking him immensely, quickly brushed off the elaborate thank-you from Paul and answered with a simple suggestion, “Just do good.” This modest counsel struck a chord with Paul, so much so that in the years he spent as faculty advisor at the Indiana Evans Scholars chapter, he relayed this story no less than a hundred times to the actives. Just do good.
Paul Binder graduated from Indiana University in 1975, and though he wouldn’t return to the chapter until 2011 as faculty advisor, he was always a tireless promoter and symbol of success for any Evans Scholars who knew him. When the Evans Scholars Foundation asked him to return, he responded with gusto and was present at chapter meetings, functions and the traditional IU tailgates. Paul continued to attend meetings and events even into his illness, which only made the Scholars hold him in a higher regard.
Mr. Binder succumbed to his illness on Sept. 19, 2016, at the age of 63. He inspired hundreds of Evans Scholars relentlessly and poetically with sage knowledge of college life inside an Evans Scholars chapter, and his memory will continue to do so as long as there are Scholars at Indiana University. It will be difficult for those of us still enrolled at IU who were lucky enough to have known Paul to carry on normally in the years to come. In the fall when tailgates punctuate the school year, we will be missing a willing supervisor, friend and confidant. The “Just Do Good” story won’t quite sound the same coming from an executive board member when new Scholars come to visit in the spring. And if we can take any solace from our loss, it is that Paul’s legacy will perpetuate through the years until students who never even knew him will be telling his story with pride and admiration.