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.)