Morehead-Cain renames Discovery Fund grant in honor of departing executive director Charles E. Lovelace, Jr. ’77

The Morehead-Cain Foundation Board of Trustees has announced the renaming of the Morehead-Cain Discovery Fund in honor of departing executive director Charles E. Lovelace, Jr. ’77. The grant program, designed to support scholars interested in pursuing independent projects and travel experiences, will now be known as the “Lovelace Fund for Discovery.” 

Foundation Trustee Timothy Sullivan ’85 shared the news during an online celebration of Lovelace’s tenure on June 25, 2021. The executive director will leave the role in August, and will be succeeded by Chris Bradford, CEO and co-founder of African Leadership Academy (ALA). 

Hundreds of Morehead-Cain Scholars and Alumni, Foundation trustees and staff, Morehead-Cain Scholarship Fund (MCSF) board members, colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and family and friends paid tribute to the long-time executive director for his contributions to the Program and University.  

Sullivan thanked Lovelace for his 37 years of service to the Foundation and acknowledged the many ways he’s mentored scholars as undergraduate students at UNC–Chapel Hill. 

“Because Chuck has been a lifelong proponent of accelerating growth opportunities, the board wanted to permanently acknowledge his positive and lasting influence on the Program and University by renaming the fund in his honor,” said Sullivan, former CEO of Ancestry.com.  

As part of the announcement, Sullivan said the first grant under the Lovelace Fund for Discovery will be awarded to Lovelace himself, so that he might “embrace stretch experiences,” just as he’s always challenged scholars to do.

The Foundation, with Lovelace’s leadership, established the Discovery Fund in 2008 to award discretionary funds on a rolling basis. His vision for the Fund was to help scholars explore new ideas, develop practical skills, and connect with the nearly 3,200 Morehead-Cain Alumni, said Megan Mazzocchi, associate director and director of alumni engagement at the Foundation. 

“From the time the Discovery Fund was first conceived, Chuck championed its establishment and growth with tremendous enthusiasm, dedication, and wisdom,” said Mazzocchi, pointing to his work in creating an alumni committee to assist with application reviews, systematizing a review process and decision-making rubric used by the advising staff, and encouraging scholars to optimize their time as undergraduate students at UNC–Chapel Hill by using the Fund to test their ideas and interests beyond the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP).

“It’s only appropriate that this important facet of the Morehead-Cain Program be named for the person who was most instrumental in its success,” the associate director said. 

The Discovery Fund has granted almost $1.5 million to scholars since its establishment (the average grant is around $700). Scholars have used the Fund to participate in workshops, retreats, and clinics; engage in professional development opportunities; conduct research and pursue innovative ideas; acquire unique skill sets; and present at conferences throughout the world. 

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