Local News

Morehead Scholars Program to Expand With $100M Gift

Posted February 15, 2007 10:52 a.m. EST
Updated February 15, 2007 8:35 p.m. EST

— 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.