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Meredith Mourns Loss of Respected NC Education Leader William Friday

Meredith College mourns the loss of Former UNC System President William Friday, who died on Friday, October 12.

Friday had several connections to Meredith. His wife, Ida Friday, is a 1941 graduate of Meredith. In 2010, the Friday family, including daughters Fran and Mary, established The Ida H. Friday Fund at Meredith College, in honor of Mrs. Friday and her love for the College.

In a 2010 Meredith Magazine interview about the establishment of the scholarship, William Friday described the day Ida decided to attend Meredith as “the luckiest day of his life.” The couple met while she studied at Meredith, resulting in a marriage lasting nearly seven decades.

Friday said his family established the scholarship at Meredith because it “is a wonderful institution that gave Ida opportunities of a lifetime.”

The Ida H. Friday Fund supports faculty development, with preference given to faculty members who are early in their careers.

William Friday said his family chose to support faculty development because most colleges and universities have limited resources in this area.

“Most schools aren’t able to tell a young faculty member to take this money and do what you want to in order to enrich your abilities as a teacher or scholar,” Friday said. “Travel is such an important part of anyone’s education.”

William Friday served as UNC System president from 1956-1986, during which time Ida Friday served as the system’s first lady. In 2004, the North Carolina Legislature and the governor honored the Fridays with the Long Leaf Pine Award for their service to the state, and in 1981, the Fridays received the North Carolina Public Service Award.

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