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Cal Poly student posthumously awarded degree 10 years after his death from alcohol poisoning

Posted at 9:00 AM, Jun 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 01:58:10-04

A little more than 10 years ago, Cal Poly Freshman Carson Starkey died of alcohol poisoning at a Fraternity pledge event. Now, he has received his degree from the University posthumously.

The Starkey family accepted the Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering during commencement ceremonies on Saturday at Cal Poly.

Carson Starkey’s family accepts posthumous degree on his behalf. Courtesy: Julia Starkey
Courtesy: Julia Starkey

The 18-year-old was being initiated into the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity on Dec. 2, 2008. Pledges were told to drink an excessive amount of alcohol in 90 minutes.

At one point, Carson passed out and became unresponsive. On the way to the hospital, the fraternity brothers decided they did not want to risk getting in trouble, so they took Carson back to the fraternity house.

Carson Starkey never woke up.

Photo courtesy Starkey family

His parents, Scott and Julia Starkey, have spent the last decade turning their grief into a catalyst for change.

They started the non-profit Aware Awake Alive. It teaches about the dangers of binge drinking and how to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning on Universities around the country including Cal Poly.