A collage of portraits for the class of 2024

The Morehead-Cain Class of 2024

The Morehead-Cain Foundation—home of the first merit scholarship program in the United States, founded at the first public university in the U.S.—is proud to announce its class of 2024.

This fall, Morehead-Cain will welcome to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 70 new Morehead-Cain Scholars from across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. The class of 2024 includes:

  • 37 scholars who attended school in North Carolina
  • 33 scholars who attended school outside North Carolina, including:
    • 26 scholars from 15 different states and Washington, D.C.*
    • 3 scholars from Canada
    • 2 scholars from the United Kingdom
    • 1 scholar who attended school in Germany
    • 1 scholar who attended school in Singapore

* Scholar either attended high school in listed country or is a resident of 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, and receive financial support, to deeply explore their interests, whether those involve studying under celebrated artists, attending leadership retreats, or obtaining wilderness first responder certification. 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.

Nearly 280 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 ten years, five student body presidents, five student attorneys general, and five honor court chairs have all been Morehead-Cains.

Since 2000, fourteen 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, thirty-one of UNC’s thirty-four Rhodes Scholars have been Morehead-Cain Scholars.

Morehead-Cains have accounted for twenty-eight of the University’s forty-one Luce Scholars, eight of its twenty Marshall Scholars, and nineteen of Carolina’s thirty Truman Scholars, among the nation’s most generous and distinguished awards for graduate study. Twenty-eight Morehead-Cain Scholars have won Fulbright Fellowships, four have won Gates Cambridge Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England, and five 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.

Like the scholars, the 3,000 Morehead-Cain Alumni across the world are a diverse and distinguished group. They include:

  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper;
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Taylor Branch;
  • Sallie Krawcheck, owner of Ellevate Network and former head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Smith Barney;
  • Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International;
  • Karen Stevenson, a U.S. Magistrate Judge and the first black American woman to win the Rhodes Scholarship;
  • New York Times columnist and author Frank Bruni;
  • U.S. Congressmen Jim Cooper and David Price;
  • Tim Sullivan, former Ancestry.com CEO and current board of directors chairman;
  • Ann Livermore, current board of directors member and former executive vice president at Hewlett-Packard;
  • Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute;
  • Adam Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and former president of Williams College;
  • Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, chief diversity officer for Microsoft;
  • Michelle Jana Chan, travel and adventure journalist and editor of Vanity Fair on Travel;
  • Bobby Evans, former general manager of the San Francisco Giants;
  • New York Times best-selling novelist Shilpi Somaya Gowda;
  • Jesse Moore, co-founder of M-KOPA Solar, which was named by Fortune as one of the Top 50 Companies Changing the World
  • Peter Henry, dean emeritus of New York University’s Stern School of Business;
  • Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo; and
  • Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Founded in 1945, the Morehead-Cain has been a model for countless merit scholarships throughout the United States. 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.

Portraits of scholarship recipients can be downloaded at http://unc.photoshelter.com.

Class of 2024

New Morehead-Cain Scholars are listed below alphabetically by North Carolina county, state, and country. Students noted with an asterisk (*) are listed in more than one location.

North Carolina

Ashe County

Julia Rose Bassett will graduate this spring from Ashe County High School in West Jefferson, where she serves as senior class president, leader of the Student Council, and president of the Beta Club. She is a member and captain of the varsity soccer team, the leader of the Husky Vanguard Marching Band, and a member of the indoor track team. Outside of ACHS, Julia is a member of the Catalyst Sports Rock Climbing team and the High Country Environmental Club, and is an active volunteer with the local arts council. At Carolina, Julia is interested in studying biology and nutrition. She is the daughter of Michael and Rita Bassett of Boone.

Beaufort County

Grace Walker Berry will graduate this spring from Washington High School in Washington, where she served as a treasurer and student body president. She is also an active volunteer with the National Honor Society and the Vidant Junior Volunteer program. Grace is also a leader outside of the classroom, serving as a captain on the junior varsity and varsity cheer teams. At Carolina, she plans to pursue studies in public policy and political science. Grace is the daughter of Todd Berry and Laura Bilbro-Berry of Washington.

Savannah Jane O’Brien will graduate this spring from Beaufort County Early College High School in Washington. Savannah is a lifelong Girl Scout, supporting younger scouts and completing several community service projects. She is also captain of the Science Olympiad team; in addition to making sure her teammates have proper supplies and are organized, she has placed in several solo categories. Savannah is vice president of her chapter of the National Honor Society; volunteers at Vidant Family Center, local elementary schools, and with her recreational soccer league; and tutors multiple subjects. At Carolina, Savannah is interested in studying biology and mathematics. She is the daughter of Robert and Brett O’Brien of Washington.

Catawba County

*Heidi Marie Alkoutami will graduate this spring from UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg, Germany, where she is actively involved in the refugee community. She is a member of Americans for a Free Syria (SAC), a nonprofit that campaigns for human rights and secular democracy in Syria. She also teaches swimming lessons at the school to refugees from a local camp and leads a Short Story Club for students seeking to improve their English. Prior to joining UWC Robert Bosch College from St. Stephens High School in Hickory, Heidi was a competitive swimmer on the varsity team and a member of the Science Olympiads Club. At Carolina, she hopes to follow her interest in biology and human geography. She is the daughter of Ghassan and Rana Alkoutami of Hickory, North Carolina.

Carteret County

Sarah Grace Prosser will graduate this spring from West Carteret High School in Morehead City, where she holds several leadership roles. Sarah serves as captain of West Carteret’s varsity swim team and coaches the Beaufort Bluefins club swim team, she organizes events and meets with administrators as senior class president, and she has held multiple leadership positions within the National Charity League. At Carolina, Sarah is excited to learn more about biostatistics and business administration. She is the daughter of Thomas and Janet Prosser of Morehead City.