Co-Founder of UNC-Duke Robertson Scholars Program Dies

The co-founder of the Robertson Scholars program that pays for selected students to take classes at UNC and Duke died June 8 in New York.

Josephine Tucker “Josie” Robertson was 67.

She and her husband, Julian Hart Robertson Jr. ’55, donated $24 million to establish the Robertson Scholars program in 2000. The money pays for about three dozen scholarships and summer internships for each class year, with half the students enrolling at UNC, half at Duke. The students take classes on each campus. The second semester of their sophomore years, students are encouraged to live full time on the other campus and take all their classes there.

Although not an alumna of either university — she was a University of Texas graduate — she had many ties to the two universities. Her husband, a Salisbury native and founder of the hedge fund The Tiger Management, was a UNC graduate, as is one of their sons, Alexander Tucker Robertson ’01. Another son, Julian Spencer Robertson, graduated from Duke in 1998. Their son Julian Hart Robertson III graduated from Lynn University. Julian Robertson’s sister Wyndham Robertson was vice president of communications for the UNC System until 1996 and served on the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. Josephine Robertson served on the UNC Board of Visitors from 1999 until 2003, as did Wyndham Robertson. Julian Robertson received the GAA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2005.

Before her marriage, Josie Tucker founded with a sister-in-law Tuckertown, which designed and made Christmas ornaments that were marketed to retailers.

Julian and Josie Robertson, both noted philanthropists, combined resources to create the Robertson Foundation in 1996. Among the many organizations they supported is the Auckland Gallery in New Zealand, which houses the country’s largest art collection. They spent part of each year in New Zealand and established two golf resorts there. In 2010, they donated a Pablo Picasso painting and three additional paintings to the newly enlarged N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

As a surprise to his wife, who loved the arts, Julian Robertson became a benefactor of New York’s Lincoln Center, and the plaza outside the center is named in her honor.

Sally Walters

More online

  • An Arch Between Rivals: A basketball obsession tends to obscure the reality that Carolina and Duke each really do have stuff the other wants. The year-old Robertson Scholars program started as a dream of an academic bridge.
    From the Carolina Alumni Review from May/June 2002, available online to Carolina Alumni members.

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