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Harris Teeter presents $1 million to UNC-Chapel Hill
The donation will provide scholarships for students wanting to study abroad.
Harris Teeter has created a $1 million scholarship fund for UNC-Chapel Hill students from North Carolina who want to study abroad, making it one of the university's largest gifts to support international study.

The Harris Teeter Study Abroad Scholarship Program is funded with gifts of $500,000 from the company and $500,000 from the Dickson Foundation. Harris Teeter is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ruddick Corporation, whose chairman is Alan Dickson of Charlotte and a trustee of the Dickson Foundation.

"This extraordinary gift is an example of a major corporation that recognizes the importance of international education," said Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "One of the college's priorities is to provide an international study experience for every student. We are grateful to Harris Teeter and the Dickson Foundation for supporting this opportunity for our students in such a significant way."

The first scholarships will be awarded when the endowment generates sufficient income, most likely starting in fall 2009. Eventually, 25 students each academic year could receive the scholarship.

Scholarships are valued at a minimum of $2,000, with award amounts based on financial need. Any Carolina student from North Carolina is eligible, with award preference for Harris Teeter associates or their children. Students can choose from more than 200 programs in 64 countries.

"Harris Teeter is proud to expand its commitment of educating of our countries youth", said Fred Morganthall, President of Harris Teeter. "Since the inception of our Together in Education program we have given over 4 million to local schools. We hope the Harris Teeter Study Abroad Scholarship will allow students at UNC-Chapel Hill an opportunity to broaden their educational pursuits," added Morganthall.

In 2003-2004, nearly 1,300 Carolina students participated in study abroad, ranking UNC-Chapel Hill 11th among all U.S. research universities for the total number of students receiving academic credit for international study.

However, students from North Carolina are underrepresented in study abroad participation at UNC-CH, said Bob Miles, director of the office of study abroad in the College of Arts and Sciences. In-state students comprise 81 percent of the undergraduate student body, yet only 66 percent of students studying abroad are in-state.

"In-state students, who pay lower tuition than their out-of-state classmates, are often surprised to learn that a study abroad program may be significantly more expensive than the cost of remaining in Chapel Hill," said Miles.

The cost of studying abroad for a semester can range from $6,400 to $26,000, said Miles. The cost to attend Carolina per semester is about $6,000 for in-state students.

"Financial barriers often keep many students from even considering an international component to their education, a decision that places them at a distinct disadvantage in an increasingly interdependent economy and global society," said Miles. "The Harris Teeter Scholarship will have a major impact on our ability to provide financial assistance to students with financial need who want to include an academic program abroad as part of their undergraduate curriculum."

The gift counts toward the Carolina First campaign goal of $1.8 billion. Carolina First is a multi-year, private fund-raising campaign to support Carolina's vision of becoming the nation's leading public university.