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The Daily Tar HeelThursday, April 3, 1S863
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By DEMISE MOULTRIE
When William Clyde Friday was
appointed acting president of the
Consolidated University of North
Carolina, he had no idea he would
actually be named the University's
In 1956, a search committee was
seeking to fill the vacated office of
University President Gordon Gray.
They appointed a substitute, Harris
Perks, but he resigned to become the
Higher Education Board chairman
before the search was finished.
The committee felt that Friday,
Gray's assistant, would be a capable
substitute. Newspaper reports frorn the
time indicate that Friday took com
mand of the job like he was the
University president instead of a
In 1957, the committee decided that
the man for the job was already in office,
and Friday was named president of the
University of North Carolina, which
included campuses in Chapel Hill,
Greensboro and Raleigh.
In what some considered a political
move by Friday, the Consolidated
University became the University of
North Carolina in 1963. Charlotte
College joined the group in 1964.
Asheville and Wilmington became part
of the University system in 1969.
Renaming the University system
made N.C. universities' names similar
to California's university system, i.e.,
Idki Friday looks Ibacfeover 4(D)
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The Fridays et the 1CC0 dcdicslion
and William Friday during University
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William C. Friday in 1986
the University of California, Los
The collection of 16 constituent
colleges was rounded out when, in 1972,
the General Assembly included all four
year state institutions in the system. The
N.C. School of the Arts also was
A trouble spot in Friday's adminis
of the Friday Building at UNC-C
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trative record came in 1974 when the
Department of Health, Education and
Welfare approved UNC's desegregation
plan and later disputed it. Friday
considered the disagreement to be an
argument about who controlled stu
dents and faculty on individual
UNC then signed the Consent Decree
which made it necessary for UNC to
desegregate campuses that were pre
dominantly white or black. The argu
ment continues today.
Growth continued in the University
system when, in 1975, East Carolina
University established its medical
Another positive step in UNC's
history came when the National Human
ities Center decided to establish itself
at Research Triangle Park in 1977. Over
25 other universities were considered for
Freshmen no longer had to worry
about inconsistent admission require
ments of the system's 16 campuses when
the Board of Governors standardized
them in 1984.
That year also saw the dedication of
the Microelectronics Center of North
Carolina in the Research Triangle Park.
In 1985 the BOG studied the dele
gation of authority of sports on 15 UNC
campuses. Other issues concerning
college sports included Proposition 48
which sets a minimum SAT score and
grade point average for freshmen
By DENISE MOULTRIE
When Ida Howell agreed to be Bill
Friday's date, she didn't realize the
step she was taking.
What began as a blind date resulted
in Ida Howell becoming Ida Friday.
That marriage has outlasted her
husband's 30-year UNC
Mrs. Friday said before marriage,
she had not pictured her husband as
president of the state's university
"He had a degree in textile engi
neering (from N.C. State). We both
came to Chapel Hill as graduate
students and had no idea of staying
at the University," she said.
She said neither she nor her hus
band had attempted to work toward
any goal of being UNC's president.
"We never practiced for it, never
By DEMISE MOULTRIE
The secret to long-standing success
is a group of strong supporters. That's
what Bill Friday said. He should know,
his life since law school has been one
great big success story.
Friday, the recently retired president
of the University of North Carolina
system, said he was successful because
he grew up during the Depression. "I
was nine at the start and 20 when it
ended. Something as severe as that is
likely to influence your life," he said.
Friday said he worked hard through
his childhood and into college, first to
Wake Forest College on a S50 academic
scholarship, then to North Carolina
When he graduated from State
College with a degree in textile engi
neering, he went to the Navy where,
during World War II, he rose to the
rank of lieutenant.
Friday said his life's pace has made
him miss the childhood most children
had. The pressure of work and striving
to be better were always factors in his
life, he said.
It was through his work, however,
that he learned the importance of
He graduated from UNC's law school
in 1948, but he never intended to
practice law. Instead, his contacts led
him to be UNC's assistant dean of
students under University President
Frank Porter Graham.
Gordan Gray, who succeeded Gra
ham, selected Friday to be his assistant.
Gray resigned in 1956 and Harris Perks
was selected as his substitute. Perks
resigned to head the state's Higher
Education Board and Friday was
selected to be acting president of the
Consolidated University of North
Carolina. At the same time, the Board
of Trustees was considering 140 can
didates for the office of president.
As it turned out, the man for the job
was already in office. On Oct. 5, 1957,
William Clyde Friday made his inaug
ural speech accepting the position and
the responsibility of being president of
the UNC system.
Friday said he had not known that
he would be selected for the position.
"The chairman of the selecting commit
tee said 'No one on the committee
thought it would end this way,' " he
The three decades of his successful
administration was not a task he
achieved by himself, Friday said. "The
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William Friday asking children what they want for Christmas, 1971 on his show "North Carolina People'
Photos courtesy of UNC News Bureau
yeairs of marFiage to
envisioned it. Bill had common sense
and drive. I know it was recognized
and then it became a case of being
in the right place at the right time."
Her role as wife to the university
president has not been an easy one,
she said. "We hit the ground running
every morning see what needs to
be done, and do it."
They both had to grow to fit the
presidency, she said. "We were both
inadequate. But when things are thrust
upon you every distressing situation
makes you grow."
Mrs. Friday graduated from Mere
dith College with a degree in home
economics and nutrition. She received
a General Education Fund Fellowship
when she was a graduate student at
UNC where she received her master's
degree in public health.
While her husband was in law
school she began fulfilling the agree
credit goes to the men and women with
whom I've worked. They are very
unselfish people," he said. "I got all the
headlines and they did all the work."
One example of what people can do
when they pull together, he said, is the
ranking of the University in national
magazines like U.S. News and World
Report. "Look at the evaluation of the
University. It's to the glory of this place
that it's so."
He said eight of the institutions listed
in the category of quality education
were private, and only two of them were
The level of respect reached by the
University is rightly earned, Friday said.
"AH of us tend to brag, but we should
put more money into programs."
Friday said he hoped that new
administrations would be different from
his. One element contributing to a
university's growth is change, and it may
have been a mistake for him to stay
as long as he did, he said.
The University is growing rapidly,
but the present growth rate may be
"getting a little ahead of ourselves," he
said. The University has a surplus of
office space and overbuilding may cost
"the joy of the region." It would be a
disadvantage to overcrowd the area to
the extent that no one could enjoy it,
Though there are other institutions
within the University system, UNC
Chapel Hill is the capstone anu , .u
continue in that position, Friday said.
One. difficulty faced by a university
president is the lack of the ability to
see problems as they develop. "There
is a lot of misspent energy and time
lost," he said. One such incident was
the University system's name change
from the "Consolidated University of
North Carolina" to the "University of
Friday said he had been lucky to have
good student leaders when he began his
administration. The status of the
University is helped by the quality of
students, he said. In the first years,
people like Charles Kuralt and Richard
Jenrette contributed heartily to the
University, Friday said.
Differences between today's students
and students in the '50s and '60s include
the fact that "You're a generation that
knows much more about the world than
those students did. Things like going
to Europe are easy to do," he said.
Today's students are not as spontane
ous as earlier students, but tend to be
more deliberate in making things
"::::: :.: ...jr.- v. . ..7.1
1 r 5 yr?
ment she made when she accepted the
fellowship, she said. She had to stay
in North Carolina for two years after
receiving her master's degree.
This stipulation posed no particular
problem with her husband because he
had not yet finished law school.
"That's when he accepted a job with
Fred Weaver, the dean of men," she
"He told Bill that he was going to
leave to go to Harvard within two
years and that by the time his term
was over, my commitment would be
With that, Bill Friday's career began
to fall into place. That's when she
became a president's wife.
Though she's held her position for
more than 40 years, she does not
attempt to advise other presidents'
wives. "I wouldn't dare to give advice
to another president's wife, because
happen, he said.
When students want to bring atten
tion to an issue, they don't always
demonstrate, but they find better ways
to do it, he said. "They've found that
demonstrating doesn't impress any
body," he said.
Communication between students
and faculty has suffered because of the
mobility of today's society, he said.
"Unlike the old days, most students
stayed on campus and met faculty and
talked with them in their homes."
Students are deprived of the advantage
of having their faculty readily access
ible, he said.
Student-related issues facing Friday
included establishing a minimum
requirement for freshman athletes. "I
don't think a 700 minimum SAT score
is too much to ask," he said. "People
are losing faith in the system. The point
is to be well-administered and try to
do what they (students) need."
Friday said he had not limited himself
strictly to the administration of stu
dents. This year, he is an honorary
member of the Class of 1986. "IVe got
my T-shirt and I'm very proud to be
a part of it."
One thing Friday said he would miss
about being University president is that
there are never two days exactly alike.
"When I came to work, I always came
with plenty of enthusiasm and at the
end of the dav I would know that it
wa vorth ui..-, ic will.
Pride in an institution that has grown
to the size and capability of UNC is
difficult to hide, he said. "Anybody
would be proud. It's hard to be
objective, but if you don't keep yourself
ready to absorb all that, you try to
discipline your mind."
Pride and power makes a dangerous
combination, he said. Some people are
tempted to use power as a means to
do things for themselves. Friday said
it was tempting to use power to gain
political clout. "It's been my thought
all along that the University has no
business in partisan politics, but it
should be involved in the greater issues."
Friday said he made mistakes as
president, but "It's all a part of growing
up. If you didn't test yourself and make
mistakes, you wouldn't grow."
He said he would advise busy stu
dents to ". . . take care of yourself. The
biggest mistakes you make come when
you are mentally and physically tired."
Students should also ". . . utilize the
strength of (their) faculty. They will
each wife is her own person and each
wife handles herself differently," she
Her husband's loyalty to education,
she said, can be seen simply by
knowing that if he lacked dedication
he wouldn't have kept his position for
so long. "He's truly dedicated to young
people and he cares a lot about what
happens to them," she said.
Though she devoted muclvof her
life to being a wife and mother she
has other interests as well, she said.
Her love of world history developed
through international travel, she said.
"When I go on a trip, I don't go
to lounge around. It's not one of those
Love Boat type things," she said. "I
go to get to know people and history
because I know that over the years
people have conquered ... and left
Just like Bill Friday.