Sunday, February 12, 2012

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 18: Morehead Foundation

Chuck Lovelace
This past year I have been spending a couple of days a month at UNC-Chapel Hill as "Global Social Entrepreneur in Residence."  It's a pleasure to be able to give back a little bit to my alma mater.  This place is bursting with creativity and energy.  The students, smart and motivated, are not waiting for permission to launch all sorts of initiatives aimed at improving the world.  The faculty and administration, to their credit, are devoting great energy and resources to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of the students while also maintaining standards of academic excellence.

My days here are packed with meetings with students seeking advice on their ventures, classes designed to give students the tools needed to succeed , and meetings with faculty who are thinking up new ways to make the soil even more fertile for innovation in Chapel Hill.  Each day I am here makes me prouder to be a Tar Heel.

As I wrote earlier, to the extent that I have achieved anything in life it has been because of the help I have received along the way.  Nothing illustrates this better than the scholarship I received from the Morehead-Cain Foundation that brought me to UNC in 1979.  The Foundation paid not only my tuition and living expenses but also provided resources for me to do several internships - including an extended stint in Kenya and Nepal - that put me on the path I have been on my entire professional career in international development.

Megan Mazzocchi
Tomorrow I will spend a bit of time at the Foundation offices and get a chance to see Chuck Lovelace, the Executive Director, and Megan Mazzocchi, Associate Director.  They have both helped steward the Foundation since the mid 1980s, through financial times both thick and thin. Like the University itself, the Foundation is thriving now, better than at any time in its history, and Chuck and Megan (together with the extraordinary Trustees and benefactors) deserve huge credit for what they have achieved.

But above all, they deserve my thanks.  I hope I will live long enough to repay what they and others at the Foundation have done for me.