Bill Friday

Bill Friday is known as the father of the UNC system. He served as its first president from 1956 to 1986. Over his thirty years he saw the system grow from three campuses to 16.

Friday fought for the desegregation of universities and the preservation of historically black colleges. Even after his retirement in 1986, he stayed active in higher education, pushing for the lowering of tuition.

He passed away in 2012 at the age of 92.

The Daily Tar Heel tags stories to make it easier for you to find our more about topics you care about. Consider it a Wikipedia for all things UNC.


Q&A with Bill Friday’s biographer William Link

William A. Link, a history professor at the University of Florida, began the several-year process of writing a biography of Friday when he was a UNC-Greensboro professor. The biography, titled “William Friday: Power, Purpose, and American Higher Education,” was published in 1995. After Friday’s death, Link updated the biography for a recently-published second edition.


	Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, UNC-CH

Friday leaves stirring legacy

On the day UNC-Chapel Hill celebrated the 219th anniversary of the laying of the foundation for the nation’s first state university building, the University and the state mourned the loss of the UNC system’s most foundational figure, its cornerstone — William Friday.


	Bill Friday

Q&A: Bill Friday talks NCAA reform

A sage of North Carolina higher education, Bill Friday was president of the UNC system from 1956 to 1986 and a founding co-chairman of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.


	For the first time ever, all Five presidents of the UNC System gathered together on Wednesday night in Memorial Hall. From Left to Right: Thomas W. Ross, Erskine Bowles, Molly Corbett Broad, C.D. Spangler, Jr., William C. Friday, and former North Carolina Governor James. E. Holshouser, Jr.

A look back on legacy

For the past forty years, the UNC system’s 16 universities have upheld the state constitution’s mandate to keep the cost of education affordable.


	Former UNC system president Bill Friday blows the candle out on his cake at the his 90th birthday celebration Tuesday. The event, held at the Carolina Club at the Hill Alumni Center, was open to the public.

William Friday has 90th birthday

Not many people celebrate their 90th birthday on a college campus. But not many people are like William Friday — the man who devoted one-third of his life to serving as president of the UNC system.


Friday urges need for free news media

The N.C. Scholastic Media Institute hosted a UNC icon and legend on Tuesday. And although it may not have been someone most student attendees were familiar with, he delivered a strong message.


Easley Chats It Up With Friday

Former UNC-system President Bill Friday chatted with Gov. Mike Easley Wednesday night about North Carolina’s future and his plans to improve education and deal with a burgeoning population. About 30 people attended the interview, which was part of the Tuesdays with Friday series at the 10th anniversary celebration of the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.