Here’s some of the praise and reverence being offered today following news of the passing of UNC President Emeritus William C. Friday:
Bob and I are very sad to learn of his passing. His dedication and service to North Carolina and monumental impact on our state cannot be overstated.
There has been no person in North Carolina’s history who more fully exemplified how one individual can, year after year, make a tremendous difference.
It’s only fitting that today, University Day at UNC, that the Carolina angels called him home.
We loved him so much and will miss him dearly.”
- Gov. Bev Perdue
“Bill Friday lived a life that exemplified everything that has made our University—and the state of North Carolina—great. He was a man of unquestioned honor and integrity who devoted a lifetime of extraordinary leadership and service to the University and state he loved so much. He also was a man of deep courage and conviction who never backed away from doing the right thing for our students, our faculty, or our citizens. We have truly lost one of North Carolina’s most special treasures.
Personally, President Friday was a mentor and role model to me throughout my career, and I am privileged to have followed in his footsteps as President of the University of North Carolina. He quite literally set the national gold standard for university leadership, and it’s safe to say that no one will ever be more respected or influential in American higher education.”
- UNC System President Tom Ross
“North Carolina has lost one of its most remarkable citizens in Bill Friday. His influence on public higher education in our state and across the nation is legendary. In a lifetime devoted to public service, Bill Friday was committed to providing access to high-quality, affordable higher education to North Carolina students. He was tireless in his efforts to underscore the importance of higher education to people from all walks of life, as well as to our state’s future prosperity.”
- UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp
“Today, North Carolina lost one of our greatest leaders and advocates. A true public servant, Bill Friday helped shape North Carolina into the 21st century economic engine it is today. He grew the University of North Carolina system into the best higher education system in the country. He helped make Research Triangle Park a world-renowned center for innovation and entrepreneurship. And he advocated tirelessly to ensure that a college education was within reach for all North Carolina students.
“Most importantly, Bill Friday loved the people of North Carolina. That love was evident in his work for our state, as well as his weekly talk show where, for three decades, he welcomed the writers, thinkers, educators and others who were working to make a difference for North Carolina. Bill Friday was inspired by the citizens of our state, and inspired so many of us in return. He embodied the best of North Carolina, and his legacy will continue to live on in the many lives he touched.”
– U.S. Senator Kay Hagan
“Bill Friday transformed education in our state and opened opportunities for millions of North Carolinians. Just this week as our System began its 50th Anniversary recognition, I noted how it was UNC System President Bill Friday along with State Education Board Chairman, Dr. Dallas Herring, who together sat on a floor in Raleigh with a state map to draw the initial circles of where new community colleges should be located. Bill Friday was my personal hero and my mentor. I will miss him greatly.”
- NC Community College System President Scott Ralls
“Bill Friday was a North Carolina treasure. He led by inspiration and example—with dignity, compassion and humility—through over five decades of public service. His legacy is a stronger state with a superb university system, a richer public life, a more vibrant culture and a diverse and resilient economy. Bill was instrumental in giving the gift of education to hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians—citizens who went out and served our state and nation in countless ways. As a product of the University of North Carolina, I too owe him my gratitude for an educational experience that broadened my horizons and set me on my life’s course. Bill continued his work for decades in what no one could really call ‘retirement’ with his public television show, North Carolina People. Like many North Carolinians, Lisa and I looked forward to inviting him into our home every week to see where he and his guests would lead us. In this and many other ways, we will treasure his memory and miss him greatly.”
– Representative David Price (NC-04)