Overview

billfriday_backgroundFor much of the 20th century, William C. “Bill” Friday (1920-2012) was the face of higher education and public service in North Carolina. Friday was an influential leader who made a significant impact at the university, state and national levels. Serving as the president of the University of North Carolina system for three decades, Friday piloted the University through a period of turbulent growth and change, including the expansion of the state university system from three campuses to sixteen.

Friday was also a central figure in many statewide and national issues. In North Carolina, he was a force behind initiatives for economic development, literacy, and access to health care in the state. At the national level, he served on many influential boards, including the President’s Task Force on Education, and was an advocate for access to education, federal student aid, and the reform of big-time college sports.

The quotations featured in this exhibit are from Friday’s own words, as they appear in oral history interviews, his personal papers and University records, which are a part of the special collections in The Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.