William Friday, famed president of UNC for more than three decades, died in his Chapel Hill home on Friday. He was 92.
Born in Raphine, Va., but raised in Dallas, N.C., Friday graduated with a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill in 1948 and quickly became the assistant dean of students. He rose through the ranks and beat out 144 candidates for the president position, according to The New York Times. In the '70s, he and other Southern university presidents fought to slow the federal government's efforts to desegregate public universities after the Supreme Court ruled to integrate public schools in 1954. Friday called the plan to integrate blacks into predominantly white universities, including stopping traditionally black and white universities from offering similar programs and improving black universities, as heavy-handed. According to the Times:
The government should set goals, he said, not dictate remedies. “North Carolina now provides a college education for a greater percentage of its blacks than most states,” he said. “Washington is wrong on this one.”
Friday also served as the co-chairman of a commission that examined abuses in college sports, recommending that university presidents "exert more control over their athletic departments."