Bill Friday: In His Own Words

This past weekend saw the opening of Wilson Library’s newest exhibit — “Bill Friday: In His Own Words.” President Friday was a central figure in the University as well as an influential leader at the state and national levels. Come on by and learn more about the man who led Carolina through integration, consolidation, sports scandals, and much more.

Bill Friday with students in 1978.
Bill Friday with students in July of 1978. From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection, #P0031 in the North Carolina Photograph Collection.

See the online portion of this exhibit at https://billfriday.web.unc.edu/. The physical portion is open in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room, 3rd floor, Wilson Library.

The New Indentured Class

President Bill Friday, 28 July 1977, From the NCC Photographic Archives. Black and White 120 Roll Film, 37875.
President Bill Friday, 28 July 1977, From the NCC Photographic Archives. Black and White 120 Roll Film, 37875.

In 1982, UNC System President Bill Friday wrote suggestions to give before the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.  His suggestions were a response to President Reagan’s proposals to cut student financial aid. One of President Friday’s counterpoints to the proposed budget cuts follows.

“Transferring an increasing level of the cost of education from society to the current user of education services will create a new indentured class of individuals who may have borrowed more heavily for their education than their future earning power can accommodate.” 

President Friday's defense of his address to the subcommittee. From folder 1846, Box 50 of the Records of the Office of the President: William Friday, Collection 40009.
President Friday’s defense of his address to the subcommittee. From folder 1846, Box 50 of the Records of the Office of the President: William Friday, Collection 40009.

 

For many students, President Friday’s prediction of an indentured servitude may be becoming a reality. The Condition of Education 2013 was recently released by the Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics.  According to this report: “In 2010–11, the average student loan amount, in constant 2011–12 dollars, was $6,800, which was a 39 percent increase from 2000–01, when the average student loan amount was $4,900. Of the 4.1 million students who entered the repayment phase on their student loans in fiscal year (FY) 2010, some 375,000, or 9 percent, had defaulted before FY 2011.”  See the full report here.

What are your thoughts on student loans, student debt, and financial aid?

An exhibit on President Friday, “Bill Friday: In His Own Words,” will go on display in the Wilson Library on October 8th. The exhibit celebrates President Friday’s life of impact on the University, the State, and the Nation. You can also view an online exhibit The Legacy of William C. Friday in The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History.

A Bygone University Day

UNC President William Friday greets US President John F. Kennedy (University Day, John F. Kennedy Visit: Photographs, 1961, in the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): William C. Friday Records #40009, University Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

On October 12, 1961, Present John F. Kennedy came to UNC at Chapel Hill to celebrate University Day.

William C. Friday, president of the Consolidated System of North Carolina (before it became the University of North Carolina system) remembers that day:

It’s an experience to go through a visit of the President of the United States. . . . I had called every high school around here. Because I wanted the children to have the experience I had. . . . We invited all the faculty here. And everybody in town. And they filled the place up. It was a glorious day of sunshine. . . . Well, the big limousine rolled up, and Governor Sanford got out, and President Kennedy walked up to me and said, ‘Happy Columbus Day.’ October 12 was Columbus Day also. And that meant a lot to him, you know. . . . A lot of people asked, you know, “What did he say to you?” Well, I say, “Well, his first question was, ‘Who won the game last Saturday?'”

(Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, December 3, 1990. Interview L-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)

University of North Carolina System celebrates its 40th anniversary

In 1971, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that created the University of North Carolina System, encompassing all of the state-supported institutions of higher learning in North Carolina.

Today, the UNC System includes Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, North Carolina State University, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Pembroke, UNC School of the Arts, Western Carolina University, and Winston-Salem State University.

The UNC System can trace its origins to the Great Depression.  Looking for cost savings, the North Carolina General Assembly created the Consolidated University of North Carolina in 1931, consisting of the campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (now North Carolina State University), and the North Carolina College for Women (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), under the leadership of one board and one president.  Frank Porter Graham served as the first president of the Consolidated University.   In 1969, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Charlotte, and UNC-Wilmington were added.

In 1956, William C. Friday became the president of the Consolidated University, later the UNC System, serving until 1986.  Subsequent presidents of the UNC System have been C. D. Spangler, Jr. (1986-1997), Molly C. Broad (1997-2006), Erskine Bowles (2006-2011), and, currently, Thomas W. Ross (2011- ).

On November 9, 2011, these five presidents participated on a panel, “Evening with Five Presidents” to discuss the history of the UNC System.  The event was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the UNC System.  The Daily Tar Heel published an article on the event on November 10, 2011:  http://www.dailytarheel.com/index.php/article/2011/11/unc_sr ystem_bday

The University Archives and Records Management Services serves as the official archival repository and provides records management support for the major administrative offices of the UNC System.  The records from the tenures of Presidents Friday, Spangler, and Broad are available for research in Wilson Library as are the records of other administrators and units of the UNC system.

Here are links to the finding aids of the:

William C. Friday records:  http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/uars/ead/40009.html

C. D. Spangler, Jr., records: http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/uars/ead/40010.html

President Broad’s records are not yet processed.

President Bowles’s records are expected to be transferred in the summer of 2012.

Links to other records of the Consolidated University and the UNC System are here: http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/uars/sys.html

For more information about the history of the UNC System over the last forty years, please see:

King, Arnold K., The Multicampus University of North Carolina Comes of Age, 1956-1986. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

Link, William A. William Friday: Power, Purpose and Higher Education, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.