Bill Friday ’41, president emeritus of the UNC System, spoke this week with NC State magazine after the resignations of Chancellor James L. Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielsen. Here are excerpts from the interview.
On the resignations
Any time you have the two principal administrative officers stepping aside that can’t be characterized as anything but a tragedy. . . . See, NC State has an enormous opportunity to lead North Carolina in some very critical times, and that’s why getting these two principal positions filled is a matter of real urgency.
On lessons learned
You have to reconstitute the leadership and that means the Board of Trustees itself has got to be a lot more active and more attentive to what’s happening on campus and give their time and energy to make sure we all have the strength to muster to get the job done. . . . It’s just necessary now in a time like this to take a look at ourselves and see what we can do better.
On what’s next
I want to be very clear on something. I believe NC State is a strong institution and has an enormous reservoir of academic power and leadership. And while this does hurt, we’re not the first institution to have some hurtful experiences. This will heal. This is the time when you gather strength to heal the wound and move on, and that’s what I am counting on happening now.