Local News

Morehead Scholars Program to Expand With $100M Gift

Posted February 15, 2007

— The John Motley Morehead Foundation announced Thursday that it will receive a $100 million donation, one of the largest gifts ever to an undergraduate scholarship program.

The donation was made by the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation of Texas to help support and expand the Morehead Scholars program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The foundation and scholarship will be renamed Morehead-Cain.

"It almost doubles the size of the Morehead Foundation, and it will allow us to increase the number of Morehead scholars each year and expand the learning and opportunities to those students," said Lucy Chatham, chairwoman of the Morehead Foundation and a member of the UNC Board of Trustees.

Gordon Cain was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1990. The Chemical Heritage Foundation published Cain's autobiographical business memoir, "Everybody Wins: A Life in Free Enterprise," in 1997.

“As we examined a number of options to best advance the legacy of my husband, Gordon Cain, we learned that the Morehead is the gold standard in undergraduate educational opportunities,” Mary Cain said in a statement. “It is clear that the Morehead Foundation and the Cain Foundation share many values and philosophies.”

Each year, 50 high school students from across the nation and the world are named Morehead scholars. The students receive full scholarships worth $80,000 to $140,000 that cover tuition, room and board and books. Since its inception in 1951, the program has helped 2,600 people get their college degree.

The Morehead Award was the first non-athletic merit-based scholarship in the country. It was patterned after the Rhodes Scholarship awarded for graduate work at England's Oxford University and designed to attract student-leaders to the university.

The selection process looks at a student's academic achievement, leadership, moral force of character and physical vigor. Recipients are chosen by merit and achievement, not financial need. The award is among the largest and most competitive undergraduate scholarships in the United States.

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  • Tarheeljunior Feb 18, 2007

    Hondaman, Davidson is a different story. It has a far smaller student body and is less competative admission wise. There is still not enough scholarship money at UNC, although this donations is a huge step in the right direction. And you proved my point, they Morehead is supposed to be based on grades, but the vague wording eliminates worthy candidates before they ever see the judging panel.

  • superman Feb 16, 2007

    Sorry, they donated the money -- they get to call the shots. You give 100 million and then u can decide. The Morehead scholarship is a highly prized award. It is a great honor to receive one-- lots of other ones out there if the student doesnt quality for that one- that are based on grades. My niece received a full scholarship from Davidson-- worth about 200,000.

  • Tarheeljunior Feb 15, 2007

    I am proud to say I attend the University that the Cain's found deserving of such a generous donation. I do have a problem with the current Morehead method of judgement in that it says it is a non-atheletic based scholarship, but "physical vigor" is a contingent quality. If it is going to be a merit based scholarship, it needs to be a merit based scholarship. Many deserving students who needed this funding have been passed up because they were so focused on academics that there was no time for atheltic activities in which to prove their physical prowess.

  • latanya512 Feb 15, 2007

    wowwwww. Maybe they can give away more than 15 scholarships.

  • superman Feb 15, 2007

    tarheelras-- dang it-- I am a graduate of ECU. You would complain about the torns of a truck load of red roses delivered to your door. The 100 million was a wonderful contribution. How many seats does NC lose as a result of this.

  • tarheelras Feb 15, 2007

    Now that the Morehead Foundation has an additional $100 million, can we now remove the recent practice of treating all Morehead Scholars as in-state students for tuition purposes?

    Treating out-of-state Morehead Scholars as in-state students robs North Carolina taxpayers in two ways. It takes their tax money to subsize these students' education, and it also robs their children of the chance to attend the University because an in-state seat is being occupied by an out-of-state student.

  • fbell Feb 15, 2007

    This donation by the Cain Foundation shws the continued leadership started by the Morehead Award and to the quality of higher education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    Frank Bell
    Raleigh, NC.