“What we are trying to do, after all, is something we North Carolinians believe we are good at: inspiring our citizens to become the best that they can be. Our mission for the future may have a familiar ring, to make the weak students strong and the strong students great.”
— C. D. Spangler, inaugural address, October 17, 1986
Sunday, July 23, 2018 saw the passing of C.D. Spangler, former president of the University of North Carolina. Clemmie Dixon Spangler Jr. was born April 5, 1932 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Among his many accomplishmnets, Spangler served as president of the University of North Carolina system from 1986, succeeding William Friday, to 1997.
Jack Hilliard shared with me this morning a story Spangler liked to share about Bill Friday. Spangler was traveling in Gaston County when he saw the highway sign for Dallas, North Carolina and then remembered that Dallas was the hometown of Dr. Friday. He decided to take the exit and see if he could find the Friday home. When he arrived in Dallas he stopped at a country store where a couple of gentlemen were seated out front. He asked if they knew where the Friday home was. They said, “Oh! Yes, it’s just down the road a bit . . . you can’t miss it.” Spangler then asked if they knew Dr. Friday. “Sure, we knew him. He was a great baseball player; a catcher, and a good one.” After a brief pause, one of the old gentlemen then added, “You know, if he had continued his baseball career, he might have made something of himself.”
Closer to home here at A View to Hugh . . . in 1996, the C. D. Spangler Foundation contributed $335,00 to help create a $500,000 endowed professorship at UNC-Greensboro in honor of Julia Morton, Hugh Morton’s wife, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She served on the UNC Board of Governors for sixteen years.
There are several photographs of C.D. Spangler in the Morton collection, including twenty-six available in the online collection of Morton images.