A Morehead Scholar is one who has been awarded the Morehead Scholarship. This is a full scholarship (plus stipend) awarded by the John Motley Morehead Foundation at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It is typically awarded to around 60 or so people every year, half of which are from in state (North Carolina) and the other half of which are out of state. As of this year (2000), the out of state students all have to be from specific high schools around the country that the Morehead Foundation has selected. There are also a few picked from the top of the early applicants to UNC. From what I can tell, the Morehead Scholarship is a big deal to people from North Carolina, but virtually unheard of outside of the state.

The scholarship itself is awarded on the basis of leadership, scholarship, physical vigor, and community service. The physical vigor part of it all tends to be a joke, and is usually the part most Morehead Scholars slack on, as far as I can tell. During each of the summers between Freshman and Senior year, the Morehead program pays for each scholar to have some sort of enrichment program. Before the Freshman year, each scholar goes to Outward Bound to be more "physically vigorous" and to learn leadership. Before the Sophomore year, every scholar has a public service internship somewhere in the country. Before the Junior year, a business or private sector internship. Finally, before the Senior year, each scholar has some sort of travel/study program abroad. Although these summer programs may be seen as icing on the cake to the scholarship or pure annoyance to others, the overt purpose is to teach the scholars something that they can bring back to the university each summer.

The purpose of the Morehead Scholar program is to bring (or in essence, recruit) the brightest and most involved people to UNC to make it a better place. Amazingly, this actually tends to work out and it's not uncommon to see Morehead scholars in leadership positions in the Daily Tar Heel, the Y, or any other group on campus. The optomistic Moreheads who buy into the Morehead philosophy believe this, and believe themselves to be recruited for who they are, and are happy to be a part of the university. They believe that the money they are getting is becuase of their involvement, and is something they would do anyway.

The dark side of the Morehead Scholarship is that in essence the Morehead Scholar is selling out to the university. The Morehead Foundation is saying, "Hey, we'll pay you to come here, so long as you don't get married, don't have kids, be really involved on campus, have a high GPA, and spend all your summers doing what we want." In essence, as one person put it, the Morehead Scholarship is about selling your soul to the university. One might believe that this is just an obvious way of the Morehead Foundation saying "You're a good student, here's a scholarship, keep it up and we'll keep paying you." However, there could be a more devious side. Even the stated purpose of the Morehead program is not to "help students get an education" or to "better people's lives" but to "make the university a better place." Take it for what you will.

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