WEST HAVEN >> The University of New Haven campus was in mourning Monday after longtime management professor Anthony “Tony” Carter died in a fast-moving fire as he was celebrating his 62nd birthday in his Staten Island, New York, home late Saturday.
New York media reported that his 9-year-old son tried desperately to save him and begged neighbors to “help me get my dad.”
UNH President Steven Kaplan said in a statement posted on the university’s website that Carter “was an incredibly caring individual who was happiest when he was helping others.
“He had a transformational impact on his students and on the greater New Haven community,” Kaplan wrote.
“Professor Carter had a passion for mentorship and was profiled in 2015 by his hometown paper as a devoted volunteer who is passionate about giving back to the community,” Kaplan said.
“For nearly 10 years, he organized a program that paired local youth with University of New Haven students to provide encouragement and advice,” Kaplan said, citing a 2014 story in the New Haven Register.
“He’s made so many contributions. He has literally benefitted hundreds, thousands of students,” said professor Robert Albright, chairman of the UNH Management Department. “He was just a great colleague and a great friend and someone who really worked hard for his students. … He’s going to be sorely missed.”
Among Carter’s greatest gifts “was his networking ability,” Albright said. “He so often helped place students in internships and get students jobs.
“I just spoke with him on Thursday evening. … We were already planning for the fall semester,” Albright said. “Our thoughts are just with his sons.”
Among Carter’s various roles was one as faculty adviser to the UNH football team, he said.
Carter, who the New York Daily news reported was 62, previously taught at Columbia University, Wagner College and William Patterson University, according to Kaplan’s statement. Carter joined the University of New Haven in 2005.
His research interests focused on globalization and its cultural, demographic, political, environmental and technological impact, Kaplan’s statement said. Carter lectured and studied in China, Lithuania and the nation of Georgia.
Carter authored nearly 20 book chapters and journal articles and presented his work at national and international conferences.
He earned his Ph.D. in management at Western University and his law degree at the University of Denver. He previously served as national division manager/vice president for the Lawyers Insurance Corporation and as assistant vice president of Commonwealth Land Inc.
Carter also served as a consultant for the United Nations and Sony, among other businesses and organizations, the statement said.
“Please join me in expressing our heartfelt condolences during this difficult time to Professor Carter’s three sons, his family, friends, colleagues, and many students,” Kaplan wrote.
The Daily News reported that Carter’s youngest son tried to pull his father out, then ran to a neighbor’s house to seek help, covered in soot, pleading with the neighbor, “Please, please help me get my dad. He can’t die.”
After hearing the boy’s cries and seeing the smoke, three neighbors rushed outside and unsuccessfully tried to put out the fire with a garden house, the newspaper reported.
The men told the Daily News the fire appeared to have begun in the back of the home’s basement, and it totally burned the deck.
Carter also is survived by two grown sons, Walter and Calvin Carter, the Daily News and the New York Post reported. The Post said they remembered their father as a man who rose from humble beginnings to touch the lives of thousands.
“He was an inspiration to so many,” Calvin Carter, 29, told The Post.
Walter Carter, also 29, told the Daily News that his younger brother was expected to recover.
Calvin Carter told the Daily News that he had received a text from his father about four hours before the fire.
“The last text I got from him says, ‘Cal, stay strong and thanks for the well wishes. Love, Dad,’” Calvin Carter told the Daily News.