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The Morehead-Cain Foundation welcomes 75 new scholars

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Bell Tower.
The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower is seen on April 10, 2019, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

The Morehead-Cain Foundation, home of the first merit scholarship program in the United States, founded at the nation’s first public university, is proud to announce its class of 2023.

This fall, Morehead-Cain will welcome 75 new Morehead-Cain Scholars from across North Carolina, the U.S. and the world to UNC-Chapel Hill. The class of 2023 includes:

  • 35 scholars from North Carolina
  • 40 scholars from outside North Carolina, including:
    • 30 scholars from 22 different states and Washington, D.C.
    • 4 scholars from the United Kingdom
    • 3 scholars from Canada*
    • 1 scholar each from Costa Rica, Germany and Hong Kong*

 * Scholar either attended high school in listed country or is from listed country

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC-Chapel Hill. It also features a distinctive program of summer enrichment experiences designed to stretch students beyond their comfort zones. Scholars learn and grow throughout their four summers. They have opportunities to complete an outdoor leadership course, work in teams on problems facing cities throughout North America, work with organizations around the globe and gain professional experience that helps launch their careers.

The Summer Enrichment Program is complemented by the Morehead-Cain Discovery Fund. Scholars are encouraged to deeply explore their interests, whether those involve studying under celebrated artists, attending leadership retreats or obtaining wilderness first responder certification, for which they receive financial support. From researching food and agriculture industries in Iceland to examining the impact of innovation and entrepreneurship in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, Morehead-Cain Scholars have the resources to pursue educational opportunities wherever they may find them.

As set out in the program’s founding documents, selection criteria for the Morehead-Cain are leadership, moral force of character, academic achievement and physical vigor. Morehead-Cain recipients are chosen solely on the basis of merit and accomplishment.

More than 270 Morehead-Cain Scholars study on campus, making outstanding contributions across the full range of University life. From student government to community service to the performing arts, Morehead-Cain Scholars play a prominent role in Carolina’s vibrant student community. For example, during the past 10 years, five student body presidents, five student attorneys general and five honor court chairs have been Morehead-Cains.

Since 2000, 14 Morehead-Cain Scholars have won Rhodes Scholarships to England’s Oxford University, one of the world’s most competitive and prestigious awards for graduate study. Since the first Morehead Scholars graduated from Carolina in 1957, 31 of UNC-Chapel Hill’s 34 Rhodes Scholars have been Morehead-Cain Scholars.

Morehead-Cains have accounted for 27 of the University’s 40 Luce Scholars, eight of its 17 Marshall Scholars and 19 of Carolina’s 30 Truman Scholars, among the nation’s most generous and distinguished awards for graduate study. Twenty-seven Morehead-Cain Scholars have won Fulbright Fellowships, three have won Gates Cambridge Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England and four have received the Schwarzman Scholarship, an elite China-based graduate scholarship that enrolled its first students in 2016. One alumnus is among the inaugural class of the prestigious Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University.

Founded in 1945, the Morehead-Cain has been a model for countless merit scholarships throughout the U.S. These include the University of Virginia’s Jefferson Scholars program, Duke University’s Benjamin N. Duke Scholars Program and Emory University’s Woodruff Scholars program.

Learn more about the incoming scholars on the UNC-Chapel Hill News website.