The Morehead-Cain Alumni Distinguished Professorship was established in 1989 with contributions made by many of the Morehead Scholarship program’s 1,600 alumni.  This group effort was initiated by the alumni themselves and resulted in donations and pledges of some $666,000.

Their gift was supplemented by $334,000 in state funds from the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to create a $1 million endowed professorship.  The trust fund, established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1985, provides grants for endowed professorships.

The Morehead alumni chose to designate the professorship within the College of Arts and Sciences.     At the dean’s discretion, this professorship can be assigned to any department in the College and can rotate among departments, permitting the dean to address the changing needs of the College.

John Motley Morehead III, who graduated from Carolina in 1891, was named after his grandfather, who was twice governor of North Carolina and the first president of the University’s General Alumni Association.  Morehead contributed several iconic Carolina landmarks, including the Morehead Planetarium and the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower, which he and his cousin Rufus Patterson financed.

Morehead established the prestigious Morehead Scholarship in 1945.  It was renamed the Morehead-Cain Scholarship in 2007 following a $100 million contribution by the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation, an organization established in 1988 by Gordon Cain and his wife, Mary, to support local education, social and health projects.

Modeled after Oxford University’s Rhodes Scholarship, the Morehead Scholarship was the first merit scholarship program established in the U.S.  The rigorous selection process is based on moral force of character, leadership abilities, physical vigor and scholarship.  Alumni of this program have become pioneers of business, academic frontrunners, cutting-edge scientists and forces for global change.

Morehead-Cain Alumni Distinguished Professors

1992 – Present: Evelyne Huber

2008 – Present: Geoffrey D. Sayre-McCord