High Endowed Scholarship to Support Black Students at Carolina

Joseph Cooley High ’76 and Kathleen Cullins High ’78 have endowed a scholarship to support Black students attending Carolina.

The $300,000 gift will fund The Joseph Cooley and Kathleen Cullins High Scholarship, which will be part of the Light on the Hill Society family of scholarships.

“My wife and I are committed to serving more outstanding students from our local community by helping them succeed at UNC, an institution integral to our success,” Joseph said.

The couple created The Joseph Cooley and Kathleen Cullins High Endowed Scholarship Fund through the UNC General Alumni Association’s Light on The Hill Society Scholarship. It will support Black high school students, with a priority given to:

  • descendants of students, faculty and staff members of the W.E.B. DuBois School in Wake Forest;
  • descendants of members of the school’s 1968 championship football team; and
  • relatives of members of the UNC Black Student Christian Fellowship.

Apart from financial help, the gift will leverage mentorship and networking support.

W.E.B. DuBois School was integrated in 1970-71, during Joseph High’s junior year. At the integrated Wake Forest-Rolesville Senior High, Joseph High was chairman of the student council and captain of the football team.

“The continued generosity of Joseph and Kathleen is a blessing to us. Their gift will help Black students attend college debt-free, provide networking and mentoring opportunities with alumni from all disciplines and reinforce the importance of remaining involved and connected to Carolina,” said Dr. Janet Haynes Southerland ’82 (AB ’84 BSDH, ’89 DDS, ’94 MPH, ’05 PhD), chair of the Light on the Hill Society Scholarship Advisory Board.

The first High scholars will be presented during the UNC Black Alumni Reunion this fall.

W.E.B. DuBois School in Wake Forest was one of 5,000 schools American businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald helped build for Black children in the South between 1912 and 1932. Rosenwald was the son of Jewish immigrants and a friend of the Black educator Booker T. Washington.

“Rosenwald’s commitment was not only to provide access to education, but to also involve the community in the endeavor,” High said. “Churches, parents, and neighbors scraped nickels and dimes together to match the Rosenwald Fund, a requirement for building a school in the local community. This humble man’s great act and vision afforded me – the descendant of slaves and sharecroppers – access to a sound education and taught me a lesson in self-reliance and the importance of partnering across race and economic barriers.”


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