Generosity across generations

During the University Day celebration in October 2016, Chancellor Carol L. Folt announced that an anonymous UNC alumnus had given $20 million to support student excellence at UNC – and that the donor had challenged Tar Heels everywhere to double the impact of the gift. Honoring two of Carolina’s signature scholarship programs, the donor designated half for the Morehead-Cain Foundation and half for the Carolina Covenant.

The $10 million designated for the Morehead-Cain Foundation was the third-biggest single gift in Morehead-Cain’s history, from a non-alumnus of the program who admired the impact its scholars have on the University.

Marvin Eargle ’61 wasted no time in answering the call. Sixty years after he received the then-Morehead Scholarship to attend Carolina, he pledged to gift 1 percent of the total needed to meet the Give for Good Challenge.

Marvin’s dedication to the cause inspired fellow Morehead-Cain Katie Melville ’04. She couldn’t match Marvin’s generosity by herself, but she believed that together she and her classmates could. Katie pledged 1 percent of his gift and called on her classmates to join her.

More than 2,300 people joined Marvin and Katie in responding to the one-year challenge. The monetary goal was met in eight months; by the end, donors had contributed more than $45 million, creating a grand total of more than $65 million in scholarship aid to Carolina.

This is story number 95 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

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