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William Friday 1920-2012

University of North Carolina


Former UNC system president William Friday has passed away. He was 92.

Friday was a longtime devotee to the University of North Carolina having served as president of the system from 1956-1986. During that time he helped usher in a variety of changes from desegregation to the expansion of the UNC system to 16 campuses. Following his three decades tenure heading UNC, Friday was the founding co-chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. The purpose of the commission was an emphasis on academic values in an era of increasing focus on athletics.

Subsequent to Friday's involvement with the Knight Commission, he became a vocal critic of the influence big money athletics on academic institutions. Some of those criticisms were directed at UNC related to coaching salaries.

Regardless of whether one agreed or disagreed with Friday, he worked tirelessly to better the University system and represented the very best about the state of North Carolina. In a span of six months, North Carolina and UNC has lost a couple of his brightest stars in Friday and Andy Griffith.