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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

  • McNair Group

    McNair Scholars

    Bob and Janice McNair with son Cary (center) meets the Class of 2021 McNair Scholars at their first spring dinner.

  • Brett and McNairs

    Brett with Janice and Bob McNair

    Brett Williams presents Janice and Bob McNair with a McNair Scholars photo collage, signed by the scholars after Bob's public "fireside chat" with President Harris Pastides.

  • Pooja and Lamb

    Pooja with Judy Lamb

    Carolina Scholar Pooja Malhotra enjoys time with her donor, Judy Lamb, at the spring dinner.

  • Shreya and Graybills

    Shreya with the Graybills

    The Graybills have been long-time Carolina Scholar donors. Here, they greet Shreya Mehta, Class of 2019.

  • Carina and Stamps

    Carina with Roe Stamps

    Carina Leaman, right, meets her donor Roe Stamps at the 2017 National Stamps Scholar Convention.


What began in 1969 with a small group of ambitious students has expanded, through generous donor support, into a robust, reliable program for Top Scholars at the university. So much of what we are able to achieve depends on your generosity, and for this our scholars are thankful!

Carolina Scholar Award Donors

Carolina Scholar Awards are made possible by the contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations. The University Development Office develops and maintains relationships with donors of Carolina Scholar Awards. Private support of this and other programs enables USC to attract academically talented students and deliver excellence in all academic programs.

Bank of America
Friends of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin*
Friends and Family of Solomon Blatt*
Michael Bond
J. Willis Cantey*
Carolina Alumni Association
Carolina Class of 1936
Carolina Class of 1937
Carolina Class of 1938
Carolina Class of 1939
Carolina Class of 1942
Carolina Class of 1953
Carolina Class of 1964
Carolina Class of 1965
Carolina Class of 1966
Carolina Class of 1967
Carolina Department of Athletics
Carolina Development Foundation
Carolina Educational Foundation
Carolina Interfraternity/Panhellenic Council
Caroline McKissick Belser Dial*
A.T. Chalk*
William B. Douglas*
G. G. Dowling*
William B. Dukes and Blue Marlin
William H. Duncan
Frances King Fawcett
First Citizens Bank
Edward R. Ginn III
Jack S. Graybill
Anne Johnston Gregg
William M. Gregg II and Family/S.C. Tees, Inc.
Caroline and Susan R. Guignard*
Martha M. and Hubbard H. Harris*
Friends of James B. Holderman and Carolyn Meadors Holderman
Drs. Anita and Charles Hood
Kappy M. and William C. Hubbard
J. Randolph Johnson*
Mary Burnet M. Pearce Johnston
Olin D. Johnston*
The Knox Family/Terminix Service, Inc.
L. Joseph Land
John T. Langston III
Friends of Russ Meekins
Arnold R. Merchant*
Charles Edwin Moore*
Nicholas K. Moore* M. D.
Michael J. Mungo*
Ralph David Neuman*
James T. Pearce, Jr.
Kit* and James T. Pearce, Sr.*
Mr. and Mrs. R. Roy Pearce*
Robert E. Penland*
Pepsi Cola Soft Drink Company
Progress Energy
Clyde C. Rice*
David W. Robinson*
South Carolina State Fair Association
The Spadoni Foundation
Dr.* and Mrs. Charles R. Standridge
Penelope W. and E. Roe Stamps IV
Calhoun Thomas*
Mr. and Mrs. John L. M. Tobias*
Patrick L. Tomlin
University Associates
Chris Vlahoplus and Friends
Wells Fargo
Jeannette and Marshall Winn

* denotes deceased individuals


Carolina Scholars Alumni
Lori Clos Fisher
R. C. McEntire & Company, Inc.
Jennifer M. and Mack I. Whittle

Carolina Scholar Award Donors [pdf]


Horseshoe and 1801 Scholar Award Donors

The 1801 Scholar Award for SC residents and the Horseshoe Scholar Award for out-of-state students are entry-level scholarships within the Top Scholars Program. They are awarded through the competitive Top Scholar Weekends and funded through both previous university gifts and endowment.


McNair Scholar Award Donors

McNair Scholar Awards are made possible by the generosity of university alumnus Robert C. McNair and his wife, Janice, of Houston, Texas. The original gift of $20 million was made in 1998 to begin the program, and an additional $10 million was added 10 years later to ensure its longevity. The scholarship program exists to recruit the nation's best college freshmen to the university — those who exhibit outstanding scholarship and leadership. McNair is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Houston Texans.

Mr. Robert C. McNair (1937-2018)

Donor — McNair Scholarship, University of South Carolina

Robert C. McNair (Jan. 1, 1937 – Nov. 23, 2018), a leading businessman, sportsman and philanthropist in Houston, Texas for more than 50 years, was the founder, senior chairman and chief executive officer of the Houston Texans National Football League team. McNair was perhaps best known in the business community as the founder of Cogen Technologies, which became the largest privately owned cogeneration company in the world with an aggregate capacity of 1,400 megawatts. In 1999, he sold the company while retaining ownership of power plants in New York and West Virginia, until 2017 and 2018 respectively.

McNair served as senior chairman of McNair Interests, headquartered in Houston, Texas where he oversaw an investment portfolio. McNair owned Palmetto Partners, Ltd. and RCM Financial Services, L.P., private investment entities that managed the McNairs’ private and public equity investments. In 1997, he was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame and in 2010, the Houston Hall of Fame.

Committed to bringing an NFL team to Houston, McNair formed Houston NFL Holdings in 1998. On October 5, 1999, the NFL awarded him the 32nd NFL franchise, returning professional football to the City of Houston in 2002. McNair’s influence and leadership also brought two Super Bowls to Houston’s NRG Stadium: Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl LI in 2017.

McNair’s Texans won their first AFC South title in 2011 and gave Houston its first NFL playoff game in nearly 18 years after a 31-10 win against Cincinnati in the Wild Card round on January 7, 2012. The Texans then claimed their second-consecutive AFC South title in 2012 and finished the regular season 12-4, matching the most regular season wins in the City of Houston’s NFL history.

McNair hired Bill O’Brien as the third head coach of the franchise in January 2014, ushering in a new era of Texans football. In 2016, the Texans enjoyed the distinction of their third straight winning season for the first time in franchise history and won their second consecutive AFC South Division championship for the second time under McNair. In 2016, Houston advanced to the AFC Divisional Round for the first time since 2012 and finished the year with the NFL’s top-ranked defense for the first time in franchise history. The team also posted a 7-1 record at home during the regular season, which set a single-season franchise record and tied for the best home record in the NFL in 2016. 

McNair was actively involved in NFL affairs including serving as chairman of the Finance Committee. He was also a member of the Audit, Compensation and Chairman’s Committees.

As founder and chairman emeritus of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, McNair revived Houston’s collegiate bowl game on December 28, 2006. The game now features teams from the Big 12 and SEC conferences and boasts an average attendance of more than 70,000 fans a year, ranking fourth among all Bowls trailing only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls since 2014. In 2006, McNair selected the DePelchin Children’s Center as the bowl game’s charitable beneficiary. DePelchin has since received more than $1.4 million in direct financial support and millions more in promotional support from the Texas Bowl partnership.

Stonerside Stable, a major Thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky, was also among McNair’s successes. A 1,947-acre Thoroughbred horse farm and racing stable, Stonerside was home to more than 275 racehorses, broodmares, yearlings and weanlings. From its inception in 1994, Stonerside won 72 Graded Stakes races including Grade l wins in the Belmont, Breeders’ Cup Mile, the Travers, the Haskell, the Hollywood Gold Cup, the Cigar Mile, the Carter, the Swaps, the Wood Memorial, the Matriarch and the Oak Leaf Stakes. Stonerside has also finished second and third in the Kentucky Derby and was the co-breeder of Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of the Derby in 2000. Stonerside has bred the winners of more than $50 million, including the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass and 2008 Champion American Juvenile colt Midshipman, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Stonerside was named Breeder of the Year in 2007 and 2008 by Kentucky horsemen.

McNair served on the boards of the Breeders’ Cup and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and was awarded the Allan Bogan Memorial Award for outstanding services to the Texas Thoroughbred Association. He was a member of the prestigious Jockey Club, which governs the sport of Thoroughbred racing. In October 2008, McNair sold Stonerside Farm and Racing Stable.

McNair chaired The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, the Houston Texans Foundation headquartered in Houston, Texas, and The Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation where he grew up in Forest City, N.C. For over 25 years, the McNairs and their foundations gave generously to a wide array of charitable, scientific, literary, educational and religious organizations including Baylor College of Medicine’s MD/PhD Program, and scholarship initiatives at the University of South Carolina, Rice University,  Columbia College, Newberry College, Austin College, Virginia Tech and Houston Community College.

The McNairs’ passion for education included the Houston Independent School District’s Fine Arts Program, Project GRAD Houston, Teach For America, the Neuhaus Education Center and the Houston-area charter schools initiative. At the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, they endowed the Robert and Janice McNair Public Policy Chair; a position held by the Institute’s founding director, Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian. The McNairs’ love of community is evident throughout the City of Houston and includes the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat, the jogging trail at Discovery Green, the San Jacinto Girl Scouts Equestrian Center, the McNair Cub Scout Adventure World, the United Way Computer Training Center, and the McNair Hall and McNair Plaza at Houston Baptist University. They also sponsored community outreach programs for the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Young Audiences of Houston. In addition, McNair was a founding member of the Cotswold Project, a revitalization project in downtown Houston.

In 2007, the McNairs turned their primary philanthropic focus to medical research.  They established the McNair Medical Institute and provided a transformational gift to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The McNair Scholars Program soon followed to recruit and deploy world-class physicians and research scientists in the fields of Type 1 diabetes, cancer and neurosciences. In addition to Baylor College of Medicine, McNair Scholars are located across Houston’s acclaimed Texas Medical Center including MD Anderson, The Menninger Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Texas Heart Institute.

In 2013 and 2014, the McNairs provided major gifts to Houston’s AD Players Theater, Houston’s United Way 2-1-1 Capital Campaign, the Star of Hope Family Place, Houston Parks Bayou Greenways 2020 and the Houston Zoo’s Phase II African Forest campaign. Honoring the fruits of American entrepreneurism, in 2015 the McNairs began establishing McNair Centers for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, the University of St. Thomas Houston, the University of South Carolina, Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina and Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. In 2016, they added a McNair Center at Houston Baptist University. When Hurricane Harvey hit their hometown and surrounding area in 2017, the McNairs stepped forward immediately and gave $3 million to the United Way of Greater Houston for relief efforts.

Janice and Bob McNair’s philanthropic leadership was recognized far and wide. In 2003, the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored their namesake foundation, The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, with their 2003 Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation Award. In November 2004, the Houston Independent School District followed with their Hall of Fame Award, and in 2008, Young Audiences of Houston bestowed their Houston Community Arts Partner Leadership Award. In 2012, the Neuhaus Education Center applauded the Foundation for 15 years of loyal support, and in May it was recognized at the Mayor’s Literacy Leadership Breakfast. In 2013, during their “Hats in the Park” luncheon, the Hermann Park Conservancy honored the Foundation for supporting Centennial Gardens.

Bob McNair was the recipient of numerous awards including the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award, Northwood University’s Outstanding Business Leader Award, the Association for Private Enterprise Education’s Herman W. Lay Memorial Award, the Houston Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s Distinguished American Award, the Houston Rotary Club’s Distinguished Citizen Award, the South Main Center Association’s City Builder Award, the Houston Advertising Federation’s Annual Trailblazer Award (for significantly enhancing the overall image of Houston both locally and globally), the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, the Texas Heart Institute’s Denton A. Cooley Leadership Award, the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge National Award for Outstanding Patriotism, Responsible Citizenship and Community Involvement, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush Community Impact Award.

In June 2005, Rice University’s board of trustees named their 167,000-square-foot Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, “Janice and Robert McNair Hall.” In October 2007, Baylor College of Medicine presented their first Pink Ribbon Hero Award for Ambassadorship to the McNairs for their support of past Pink Ribbon Houses and for their commitment to fight cancer. In April 2009, the KIPP Academy honored the McNairs for their devotion in supporting the education of inner city and underprivileged youth. In May 2009, Bob McNair was named “Entrepreneur of the Decade” by the Houston Technology Center. In November, he was awarded the James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership, an honor that recognizes nationally and internationally renowned leaders for excellence in public service and civic life. That December, McNair received the inaugural Rotary Lombardi Humanitarian Award, followed by the Houston Independent School District presenting him with their Encore for Excellence Award. In April 2010, the DePelchin Children’s Center presented Janice and Bob McNair with their Kezia DePelchin Award in honor of their long-standing support of the DePelchin Children’s Center.

Bob McNair was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in May 2010. In November, the Association of Fundraising Professionals presented Janice and Bob McNair with their Maurice Hirsch Award for Philanthropy, the highest recognition given to an individual or family for exceptional generosity and outstanding civic and charitable responsibility. In 2012, Rice University again honored the McNairs during the 10th anniversary of McNair Hall, and in 2013, they were the recipients of the Texas Association of Partners in Education Award for the Texas Outstanding Sports Partnership.

In 2014, the McNairs received UNICEF’s inaugural Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award, and Houston Baptist University’s Spirit of Excellence Award. They were honored by the Houston Zoo, the Souper Bowl of Caring, and in 2011, Bob McNair was honored by the Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas as a Class of 2011 Laureate, and the JA Hall of Achievement. In September 2011, Texas Children’s Cancer Center honored the McNairs as their 2011 Community Champions. In April 2012, the Escape Family Resource Center honored them as headliners for their annual Celebrity Serve benefit.

Bob McNair was selected as one of Texas Medical Center’s 2013 Men of Distinction, and Janice and Bob McNair were Honorary Co-Chairs for Impact a Hero’s 2013 Gala. They chaired the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Houston campaign, and were honored as Community Partner Honorees, along with the Houston Texans, at the Houston Symphony’s Centennial Opening Night in September 2013. In November 2013, the McNairs were selected by the DePelchin Children’s Center to serve as Honorary Event Chairs at their Children’s Center Gala. In February 2014, Janice and Bob McNair received the Houston Community College’s Crystal Eagle Award. In November 2015, MD Anderson and NBC’s Tom Brokaw honored Bob McNair as MD Anderson’s “Living Legend”.

In March of 2016, Janice and Bob McNair were selected as Honorary Chairs of the Texas Children’s Hospital Promise Campaign. In February 2017, the Lombardi Honors and Awards program awarded Janice and Bob McNair with their 2016 Lombardi Fellows and Humanitarians of the Year awards. In May, the Newberry College John Bachman Society presented the McNairs with their “Distinguished Members for 2017” Award. In September 2017, Rutherford County N.C., where Bob McNair grew up, inducted him into their inaugural Sports Hall of Fame class, and in 2018, McNair become the sixth recipient of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame’s Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bob McNair was a member of the Board of Trustees for numerous institutions including Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Heart Institute, Houston Grand Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Free Enterprise Institute, the Sigma Chi Foundation, the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Houston, and the Young Presidents’ and World Presidents’ Organizations.

Bob McNair was born in Tampa, Fla. He and his wife, Janice Suber McNair, were residents of Houston since 1960. McNair graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1999, Mr. McNair received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of South Carolina. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities in Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine. Janice McNair graduated from Columbia College in Columbia, S.C. in 1959. In 2015, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Columbia College.

McNair is survived by his wife, Janice, sons Robert Cary McNair Jr. and wife Kate, Daniel Calhoun “Cal” McNair and wife Hannah, and daughters Ruth Smith and Melissa McNair, ten granddaughters, five grandsons and two great grandsons. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruth Adair McNair and Ruse Foster McNair, and two brothers Ruse Foster McNair Jr. and John McNair.

Last updated: June 28, 2019.


Stamps Scholar Award Donors

Stamps Scholar Awards are made possible through a partnership with the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation. In 2006, Penny and E. Roe Stamps IV of Miami, Florida created undergraduate merit scholarship programs at their alma maters, and have expanded the program to 40 foundation partners, including the Stamps Scholars in 2013. Roe Stamps is a South Florida financier, venture capitalist and co-founder of Summit Partners in Boston. Penny Stamps is the president of the Stamps Foundation and devotes her time to charitable causes.

Roe Stamps, IV of Coconut Grove, FL, is a private investor and co-founder of the Boston-based private investment company Summit Partners.  He is a former Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve, an Industrial Engineering graduate of Georgia Tech, and an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School.

Roe, along with his late wife Penny, relocated to South Florida in 1993, where together they devoted significant time and resources to philanthropic causes in the area. Their deeply rooted commitment to bettering the community led them to become long-time supporters of the University of Miami, the Grayvik Animal Care Center, Fairchild Tropical Garden, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Community Partnership for the Homeless, Ransom Everglades School, Breakthrough Miami and a number of other charities throughout the region.

This spirit of philanthropy may be best reflected in the formation of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, which was founded by Roe and Penny in 1986. Created with the intent of helping exceptional students become meaningful leaders throughout society, the Foundation now supports scholarships for approximately 900 students attending more than 40 universities nationwide. Though Penny passed away in December of 2018, her generosity, passion for education, and dedication to bettering the lives of others lives on through these remarkable students.

Roe is a Trustee Emeritus of the Georgia Tech Foundation, and a Trustee at the University of Miami, the John S and James L Knight Foundation and several other distinguished organizations. At Georgia Tech, Roe served the Foundation for over 16 years. He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Joseph Mayo Pettit Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the highest award conferred by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association. He was inducted into Georgia Tech’s Engineering Hall of Fame in 2001 and received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy in 2014.

In 2010, Roe was honored by the American Red Cross South Florida Region as the Humanitarian of the Year. In 2012, he was honored by Harvard Business School, receiving its most prestigious award, the Alumni Achievement Award.

Roe now dedicates his time to his personal interests, which include fly-fishing, bird hunting, flying, boating, jazz piano and spending time with his family: son, Will, daughter, Annie, grandson, Hunter, and granddaughter, Winnie. In addition, he takes time to enjoy his black Labrador retriever, Ella, his two French bulldogs, Nacho and Lola, and the family’s miscellaneous stray cats.

Last updated: June 28, 2019.