A World-Class Education and Broadened Horizons

Caroline Rourk sitting with her parents at a table smiling

Caroline Rourk ’83 with her parents in Paris.

Davidson College taught Caroline Rourk ’83 many things. She learned how fulfilling it was to be with people from different backgrounds. She learned critical-thinking skills. She learned that helping others was meaningful because it felt great, not because you might be rewarded. And, she learned it’s really hard to run while playing the flute—so long, pep band.

Caroline has committed, through a bequest, a generous gift to add to the scholarship started by her late parents, Jane and M. Henderson Rourk Jr. ’58.

“Scholarships are life-changing for students,” she says. “They really are the gifts that keep on giving. Davidson is all about bringing people into our lives to broaden our horizons and recognizing commonalities even when we’re different. I am really proud of where Davidson is today, and I am glad to be a part of bringing this incredible experience to more students.”

After Davidson, Caroline earned both an MBA and a master’s in public health leadership and has had a successful career as an administrative director at Duke University Medical Center. Much of the credit goes to her parents and to Davidson.

Jane and Henderson Rourk smiling

Jane and M. Henderson Rourk Jr. ’58 on a trip to Paris with Caroline.

“If I had gone to college somewhere else, that would’ve been a crisis of my existential being,” she says. “I honestly feel sorry for people when they don’t know about Davidson. And, as proud as I am to say I went to Davidson, I am even more proud of The Davidson Trust and our commitment to students. Especially during these tough times in our world, the college is a beacon of light to hold on to and feel a part of.”

Caroline holds up the college’s Humanities program as a critical piece of her education. Without that, she isn’t sure she would have been led to major in religion.

“People would ask if I planned to be a minister, but no, I just wanted to learn,” she says. “Professor Sandy McElway taught theology and lit a spark I might not have otherwise found. A young professor came in and taught Eastern religion, and I was blown away by that class. It would be easy to live your whole life and never have the kind of exposure I had at Davidson.”

Caroline admits, at that age, she and her friends thought they were pretty cool and had life figured out. But there was so much they hadn’t learned and so much more to experience.

“Davidson was a rich place to have those years—we were wonderfully protected and nurtured while being given a world-class education,” she says. “I’m excited to help more students have the same.”