The Morehead-Cain Foundation grants four-year scholarships at UNC to select motivated undergraduate students. It was the first merit scholarship program established in the United States and is modeled off the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.
Candidates are chosen based on their moral force of character, scholarship, physical vigor and leadership. Students in this program also receive funding for four summers to engage in outdoor leadership, public service, international research and private enterprise.
The John Motley Morehead Foundation was created in 1945, and the Morehead scholarship program was established six years later. In 2007, the program was renamed the Morehead-Cain foundation after a $100 million donation from the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation.
Due to budget cuts throughout the years, the Morehead-Cain Foundation was forced to reduce incoming class size, accepting only 48 students in 2011 as opposed to the 64 it accepted in 2010. But 59 scholars were welcomed into the Class of 2019 group.