The Light on the Hill Society Scholarship effort began during the 2005 Black Alumni Reunion. Organizers challenged alumni to initially contribute $1,952 each – representing the 1952 class year of Harvey Beech, Carolina’s first African-American graduate – to become founding members of the scholarship fund.
Since 2005, Carolina alumni and friends have annually made tax-deductible gifts to the fund, ranging from a few dollars to several thousand, the largest being a $350,000 gift from NFL star Julius Peppers ’02.
This initiative serves as a tribute to Carolina’s early African-American graduates of the 1950s who integrated the University by providing scholarships to current first-year African-American students. These talented scholars demonstrate academic excellence, outstanding leadership abilities, community service dedication and have great potential to become involved and informed alumni. The scholarship is administered by the Light on the Hill Society Board of Directors and supported by the UNC General Alumni Association.
To date, the program has awarded 65 scholarships: 51 Light on the Hill Society Scholars and 14 Julius Peppers scholars.