Title: Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, December 3, 1990. Interview L-0147.
Interviewer: Link, William
Interviewee: Friday, William C.
Abstract: William C. Friday served as the president of the University of North Carolina System for nearly three decades, from 1957 to 1986. This interview is part of a longer, multi-part interview conducted with Friday in 1990. Here, Friday focuses primarily on his interactions with American presidents from Herbert Hoover to George H. W. Bush. Friday begins by describing his first meeting with an American president, Herbert Hoover, when he attended the dedication of a battlefield during his childhood. He goes on to describe how the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was particularly influential and prompted him to become a lifelong Democrat. Friday had somewhat limited interaction with presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. The bulk of the interview, however, is devoted to a discussion of his work with the federal government from the 1960s into the 1980s. In his capacity as the president of the University of North Carolina System, Friday developed ties with the Kennedy administration. He assumed an increasingly prominent role under the administration of Lyndon Johnson, during which time he helped to form the White House Fellows Commission and the National Task Force on Education. Friday continued his work on similar task forces and commissions under Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Additionally, Friday offers his thoughts on how educational issues were dealt with under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Finally, Friday briefly outlines his work with such organizations as the Southern Regional Education Board and the Carnegie Commission on Education, as well as his interactions with the Office of Civil Rights, primarily during the 1970s.