A life in service to North Carolina

October 13, 2012 

1920: Born to Mary Elizabeth Rowan and David Latham Friday in Raphine, Va., on July 13. Grew up in Dallas in Gaston County.

1937: Enrolled at Wake Forest University. Parents separate.

1938: Transferred to N.C. State University, then known as N.C. State College of Agriculture and Engineering.

1941: Graduated from State College on June 9. First student to be asked to speak at a State College commencement.

1942: Commissioned into the Navy, where he oversaw an ordinance factory. Married Ida Howell on May 13.

1946: Entered UNC Law School.

1948: Graduated from law school and became assistant dean of students at UNC.

1951: Appointed secretary to the president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, which consisted of three campuses: UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State College and Women’s College, which later became UNC Greensboro.

1954: Helped to create the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tar Heel of the Week on Dec. 5

1955: Became acting president of the Consolidated University.

1956: Appointed the third president of the Consolidated University.

1957: Inaugurated as president on May 8.

1958: Helped to establish the Research Triangle Park.

1960: Voted to abolish the Dixie Classic basketball tournament following a point-shaving scandal.

1962: Proposed changing the name of N.C. State College to UNC-Raleigh to bring unity to the multi-campus system. The General Assembly turns down this idea in 1965 in favor of the name N.C. State University.

1963: Speaker Ban Law enacted to prohibit communists speaking on campus. Friday opposed the ban, which was overturned in 1968 and finally repealed in 1995.

1964: Declined offer of a position as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

1968: Sit-in staged by the Black Student Movement. State troopers sent in, despite Friday’s objection.

1971: Began the interview show “North Carolina People” on public television.

1972: The university system expanded from six to 16 campuses, with Friday as president.

1977: The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare rejected UNC’s desegregation plan.

1979: Threatened with a cutoff in federal funds, the university sued HEW. Suit was settled by consent decree in 1981.

1986: Retired from university system.

1987: Awarded the Watauga medal by N.C. State University.

1989: Helped form and co-chaired the Knight Commission to assess college athletics.

1997: Presented the National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton.

2004: Honored in special joint session of the N.C. General Assembly. Awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Gov. Mike Easley.

2009: Had heart valve replacement surgery after a heart attack.

2010: Celebrated 90th birthday on July 13.

2011: Celebrated 40th anniversary of his UNC-TV interview show, “North Carolina People.”

2012: Celebrated the 70th anniversary of his marriage to Ida on May 13. Hospitalized with heart problems in May. Died on Oct. 12.

Sources: UNC-TV, N&O files

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