Catawba hosts Morehead-Cain scholars 

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

Catawba News Service

SALISBURY — Catawba College hosted 66 rising sophomore Morehead-Cain Scholars from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for training for their Civic Collaboration summer program over the weekend. They engaged with more than 30 local civic leaders in a variety of training sessions and collaborative group exercises about littering. The training culminated with a presentation to leaders in Salisbury on each group’s ideas for addressing littering and civic pride.

Morehead-Cain was the first merit scholarship program in the United States and graduated its inaugural class in 1957. The scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study and features summer enrichment experiences. The rising sophomores who came to Salisbury completed a multi-week outdoor leadership course during the summer before they entered UNC. This summer, they will work in teams of four to five on problems facing cities throughout North America for their civic collaboration program. During their remaining two summers, they will work with organizations around the globe and will gain professional experience that helps launch their careers.

In prior years, the Morehead-Cain Foundation has conducted civic collaboration training for scholars in Chapel Hill. After an approach from local Morehead-Cain alumni Jason Walser and Brad Ives on ways that Salisbury could participate, the Morehead-Cain Foundation elected to host the training program at Catawba.

Chris Bradford, president of the Morehead-Cain Foundation, said the decision was made to give scholars exposure to an area outside the Research Triangle, and the opportunity to engage civic leaders in the Salisbury and Rowan County area.

“Salisbury and Rowan County offer a fantastic environment in which our young leaders can gain an understanding of how change happens in communities across America and around the world,” said Bradford. “We are deeply grateful to Catawba College and the community leaders in Salisbury and Rowan County who have volunteered their time to help the Scholars with their training.”

Walser, executive director of the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation, thought the Morehead-Cain Program’s choice of Salisbury provided a great opportunity for real-world training for the Scholars before they head off for their summer assignments. “These scholars will be coming to Salisbury from literally all over the world and will bring with them ideas from their own hometowns. I believe that Salisbury will benefit tremendously from having these young leaders focus their own experiences and talents on the challenges of litter in Rowan County,” said Walser.

Brad Ives, executive director of Catawba College’s Center for the Environment, added “We think this is an outstanding chance to bring this bright and energetic group of Morehead-Cain Scholars to a smaller city in North Carolina to help them understand the opportunities and challenges facing a city like Salisbury. I also am glad the training will focus on an environmental issue this is linked to community pride. I look forward to hearing the ideas that will come from this talented group.”

The students spent time learning about the community, how it is impacted by litter and what programs have been implemented to address the issue. The scholars also enjoyed evenings with a picnic at Bell Tower Green and dinner on board a train at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship is a four-year, undergraduate merit scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It includes tuition, books, room and board, funds for four summers of travel and experiential learning. It also offers scholars Lovelace Fund for Discovery grants for additional educational experiences.