Morehead-Cain Champions spotlight: Bob Gourley, Jr. ’89 & Heather Griffin ’89

News & Spotlights | February 4, 2022
Heather Griffin ’89, Rob Gourley ’18, and Bob Gourley ’89

Like many alumni, Bob Gourley ’89 will never forget being an intimidated finalist for the Morehead-Cain as a high school senior. Looking around at the other candidates, the alumnus said he remembers the feeling that his presence was “the greatest mistake that the Foundation ever made.” He decided to try to have fun anyway.

“In letting my guard down, I had the chance to enjoy the campus and the people,” said the alumnus, who recalled being especially impressed with the Program’s traditions, the warmth of its staff, and the accomplishments of his fellow finalists. “I was a small-town boy who had his mind and world blown by all of the marvelous experiences offered through the Morehead-Cain.”

Bob returned home, sure that he’d receive a decline letter. Growing up in rural North Carolina, everyone knew about the Morehead-Cain, but the general consensus was that only “very special people were fortunate enough” to receive the scholarship, he said.

“To my astonishment, and to my family’s obvious joy, good news came our way,” said Bob, who resides in Statesville, North Carolina.

At Carolina, Bob met his future wife, Heather Griffin ’89; pursued stretch experiences through the Summer Enrichment Program; and made lifelong friends. The double alumnus received his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, followed by a JD from the UNC School of Law in 1992.

Bob said his experiences as scholar helped propel his career into law and prepare him for a life of service to his community.

“It is only looking backward that I see what I could not see then—that the scholarship was a vital part of creating my foundation for moving forward with life,” the alumnus said.

Today, Bob and Heather run the Law Offices of Robert H. Gourley, Jr., P.A. Bob, a partner and attorney practicing bankruptcy law, has served as the chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s bankruptcy section and as a member of the bankruptcy council.

Heather, Of Counsel at the family practice, is also a double Tar Heel. She received her bachelor’s degree in French, followed by a JD in 1992. Heather’s father, Morris Griffin ’64 of West Jefferson, North Carolina, practiced dentistry at Morris Griffin DDS, and he was president of the North Carolina Dental Society in the 1990s.

A family of Morehead-Cain Champions

Passing it forward

Bob has given back to the Program through his service on regional selection committees within North Carolina, and he and Heather both have also been Morehead-Cain Champions, or recurring donors, since 2017.

Supporting the Morehead-Cain Scholarship Fund has been especially for them gratifying after seeing their son, Rob Gourley ’18, thrive as a scholar and, now, as a young alumnus.

“The Foundation and its people have shaped me and are forever a part of who I am,” Bob said. “We want others to share in this amazing opportunity and to join our ‘family’.”

Rob recently shared about his latest videography projects with Morehead-Cain’s Catalyze podcast. The alumnus is a documentary producer, cinematographer, and video editor based in Chico, California.

What’s a ‘Champion’?

This spring, we launched the Morehead-Cain Champions program for recurring donors. Around 100 alumni and friends of the Foundation make a monthly gift to Morehead-Cain—we wanted to recognize and celebrate this community’s sustained support through a series of spotlights. Champions will also begin receiving tailored communications to keep them informed about the direct impact their commitment provides.

Becoming a Champion is one of the many important ways that alumni help the Program flourish. If you’re interested in opting in, you can set up an automatic, recurring gift on UNC–Chapel Hill’s giving page. One hundred percent of donations to the Morehead-Cain Scholarship Fund support the scholar experience at Carolina.

If you’re interested in becoming a Champion, contact Brad Marley, Annual Fund Manager at the Morehead-Cain Foundation.