New Fund Established to Support Faculty Development
By Melyssa Allen
Former UNC System President William Friday and his family have established The Ida H. Friday Fund at Meredith College, in honor of his wife, Ida Friday, a 1941 Meredith graduate.
The new fund will support faculty development, with preference given to faculty members who are early in their careers. The recipient each year will be able to use the funds to support the faculty member’s general advancement, through travel or advanced study of the topic of his or her choice.
The first recipient of The Ida H. Friday Fund was announced at Meredith’s commencement on May 9. Assistant Professor of Psychology Gwynn Morris, who joined Meredith’s faculty in 2008, was selected as the inaugural recipient.
“I am so honored and excited to receive the Ida H. Friday award,” Morris said. “The Fridays have done and continue to do so much for education in our state. I plan to use this award in this spirit to become a better educator of Meredith women.”
Morris’ research focuses on the development of autobiographical memory in young children, the neurological correlates of autobiographical memory in young adults, and the changes in autobiographical memory across the lifespan. An active presenter at national conferences, Morris holds professional memberships in the Society for Research in Child Development and the Association for Psychological Science. She is also the faculty co-chair of the Carolinas Psychology Conference, which Meredith hosts each spring.
The Ida H. Friday award will allow Morris to attend next year’s Society for Research in Child Development conference, where she hopes to present her research.
“This is vitally important because it keeps me up-to-date on the research in my field, sparks new ideas, and also lets me meet fellow researchers,” Morris said. “Having collaborators and attending conferences allows me to keep the research part of my career alive and well. For me, being a better researcher translates into being a better teacher.”
The entire Friday family was in attendance for the announcement, including one daughter who traveled from Singapore for the occasion.
“That’s how much this means to our family,” Friday said. “We are trying in a modest way to provide the same opportunities for someone else that Meredith provided for Ida. We are profoundly grateful that we have this opportunity.”
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. Ida Friday earned a Bachelor of Arts from Meredith College and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has served her community in a variety of ways, including as the first president of the Chapel Hill Preservation Society, and as board member of officer of the League of Women Voters, the Orange County Women’s Center, the North Carolina Symphony, the American Dance Festival, and more.
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.