The Wake County Carolina Club is aiming to give out the largest scholarship presented by an alumni club.
Through donations, auctions and a fundraising event, the club has pledged at least $10,000 for a new scholarship to be given to a deserving Wake County student. That’s about double the scholarship total of any other club.
“This is a big, new venture for us,” said Danita Morgan ’81, Wake County club president. “We believe as the largest alumni group, we need to do more. … We want to raise significant funds to support students from our home county and our University.”
The first step was an Old Well Celebration fundraiser Oct. 10 at the North Carolina History Museum in downtown Raleigh. More than 200 people gathered for cocktails and food and to bid on UNC-related items such as game tickets and autographed balls and helmets.
The silent auction of about 30 items raised more than $4,000 alone. A live auction conducted by Adam Lucas, author of several UNC sports-related books, including the recent Road to Blue Heaven, raised more than $1,000 from a Lennie Rosenbluth-signed basketball and one signed by the current team.
Brothers Roger ’63 and Wade Smith ’60, Raleigh attorneys who played football at UNC, had the crowd laughing with their energetic introduction of speaker Woody Durham ’63, voice of the Tar Heels and their childhood buddy.
Not to be outdone, Durham said he was glad he got to see a preview of his eulogy. He also relayed a story about someone in an elevator once thinking he was a podiatrist because of his Tar Heel lapel pin.
Turning serious, Durham stressed the importance of fundraising not only to keep UNC competitive, but to make the University the best in the country. He noted that Carolina First, the just-concluded fundraising effort, was one of the most successful in the history of public higher education, eclipsing the goal of $2 billion.
“It’s a great time to be a Tar Heel, but the best is yet to come,” he said.
Morgan echoed those sentiments. “We expect [the scholarship effort] to grow,” she said. “We want to give a large scholarship every year, and we believe the Old Well Celebration will be the perfect vehicle for accomplishing that. We are already thinking about next year’s event.”
The recipient of the club’s scholarship will be chosen by the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.
— Clifton Barnes ’82