Alumni Couple Creates Scholars Program With $35 Million Gift to Notre Dame

Author: Arts and Letters

University of Notre Dame graduates Mark W. and Stacey Miller Yusko of Chapel Hill, N.C., have made a $35 million gift to their alma mater to establish a new undergraduate scholarship program.

The Yuskos’ benefaction equals the third largest gift in the University’s history and will be directed to the creation of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, a comprehensive merit scholarship and enrichment initiative that will seek to attract talented undergraduate students to the University and provide them with the tools to become transformational leaders in the image of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president from 1952 to 1987.

“On behalf of Notre Dame, I want to extend my most sincere appreciation to Mark and Stacey for this extraordinary gift,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “Their generosity is matched only by their vision for this scholarship program, and we look forward to working with them for many years to attract high-caliber students and nurture their gifts so that they might have an enduring impact on the University, the nation and the world.

“Father Hesburgh’s service to society is legendary, and I have no doubt that this program will produce young men and women who follow in his footsteps.”

Mark Yusko is the founder, president and chief investment officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management, a registered investment adviser that provides investment management and advisory services based on the university endowment model of investing to wealthy families, individuals and institutional investors. Stacey Yusko is the director of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels program and a member of Notre Dame’s advisory council for the College of Arts and Letters.

“We are excited about making a significant difference in the future of Notre Dame and building a program that will further enhance the University’s ability to produce graduates who will make significant impact on our world,” the Yuskos said. “Notre Dame made a tremendous difference in our lives, and we are honored to have this opportunity to further enhance the educational and spiritual mission of Our Lady’s University.”

Twenty Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars will be selected annually by an advisory committee from a pool of qualified admitted students nominated by a network of approved high schools and the University’s admissions staff. The students will be chosen based on distinguished academic accomplishments, exemplary integrity and moral character, demonstrated leadership abilities, and a commitment to a life of service embracing the values of Catholic social tradition.

Each scholar will receive four years of merit scholarship awards of $25,000 per year. Other components of the program will include a complement of fully funded summer enrichment experiences, seminars and service-learning projects during the academic year, career advising, and alumni mentoring and networking.

“This is more than just a scholarship program,” said Notre Dame Provost Thomas G. Burish. “It is a comprehensive initiative designed to fully engage the selected scholars and cultivate their God-given talents. I join with Father Jenkins in thanking Mark and Stacey for this wonderful gift.”

Mark Yusko earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Notre Dame in 1985 and a master of business administration degree in accounting and finance from the University of Chicago. Prior to founding Morgan Creek Capital Management in 2004, he served for six years as president and chief investment officer of UNC Management Company, the endowment investment office for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. From 1993 to 1998 he was a senior investment director at Notre Dame. He is a director of Carolina Meadows, the Weaver Foundation and MCNC , a not-for-profit organization that advances education, innovation and economic development in North Carolina.

Stacey Yusko earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Notre Dame in 1986 and a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is active in local service and education programs in their community and is a director of the Morgan Creek Foundation, the North Carolina Museum of Art and Carolina Performing Arts. The couple previously established endowments supporting academic enrichment at Notre Dame, with a focus on the Department of English and the Ward-Phillips Lecture Series, and on faculty hiring support programs within the Office of the Provost.

The Yuskos’ gift is a component of the University’s $1.5 billion “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign. Announced in 2007 and continuing to 2011, “Spirit” is the most comprehensive campaign ever undertaken by the University and the largest fund-raising effort in the history of Catholic higher education. The campaign goal was surpassed in June.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on August 27, 2009.