Christopher Bradford, co-founder of a pre-higher education institution in Johannesburg, will be the Morehead-Cain Foundation’s new president. Bradford, who will start work this summer, will be the foundation’s first new leader in 34 years.
Bradford is CEO and co-founder of African Leadership Academy, a two-year institution that has admitted more than 1,300 students from 46 African countries, five of whom have become Morehead-Cain Scholars. Bradford formalized the idea for the pan-African institution, which focuses on entrepreneurial leadership, while he was a graduate student at Stanford University.
In the past 17 years, Bradford has built a reputation as an education entrepreneur and innovator. While at ALA, he founded the Anzisha Prize, a 20-year, $25 million partnership that supports and invests in young African entrepreneurs; and Akwanya Scholars, a $40 million scholarship program for African students from the continent’s most disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not,” Bradford said. “We have sought to build programs that connect promising young people to transformational opportunities that develop their capabilities and accelerate their impact on the world.”
David Wright ’80, chair of the foundation’s trustees, said Bradford’s experience building impactful institutions made him a natural fit to lead Morehead-Cain.
“Chris’ career has been defined by an unwavering commitment to expanding opportunities for young people through the transformational power of education,” Wright said. “His experience working on these issues on a global scale made him stand out from a pool of brilliant candidates with diverse backgrounds.”
Bradford said: “I have spent my career building institutions that help young people reimagine what is possible for themselves and their societies and create the change they seek. I come to Morehead-Cain and North Carolina with tremendous respect for what has been accomplished over the past 75 years.”
Bradford succeeds the retiring Chuck Lovelace ’77 (’79 MBA), executive director of the foundation since 1987.
The Morehead-Cain Scholarship became the first merit scholarship program established in the U.S. when it was founded in 1945 by John Motley Morehead III (class of 1891). Scholars receive a world-class education at Carolina, global summer enrichment experiences, access to Discovery Fund grants for opportunities beyond the classroom and the opportunity to grow meaningful relationships with a network of more than 3,200 Morehead-Cain alumni.
Bradford received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 2000 from Yale University, where he competed on the varsity swimming team. Following a year of teaching at an English boarding school, he earned an MBA from Stanford in 2005 as a Siebel Scholar and an Arjay Miller Scholar, as well as a master’s in education in 2006.
While pursuing both graduate degrees, he co-founded Global Leadership Adventures, an international summer program for secondary students.
Bradford previously worked as a consultant at The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, a Los Angeles-based organization that seeks to expand educational opportunities for students from underserved communities, and at the Boston Consulting Group. He also was an assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble Co.
He plans to move to the Chapel Hill area with his wife, Genevieve, and daughter.