Interview with Bill Friday

June 12, 2009
By Cherry Crayton

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.

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One Response to “Interview with Bill Friday”

  1. John R. Gray says:

    After having read so much on line and in the Raleigh N&O, I have been disappointed and concerned about the leadership (of lack of) at NCSU. Instead of naming the obvious names of the focus of my my concern, I would rather name characteristics and those past leaders that we should try to bring back into top jobs. Trust and decency of folks like Bill Friday, John Caldwell, Carey Bostian, Bryce Younts, & MaryAnne Fox should be in the type people that should be leading our institution.

    I sincerely believe that those folks named above are far superior leaders than what we now have in place. I used to be very supportive of NCSU but several factors have occurred over the years that have caused me to lessen my support and interest in our institution.

    If anyone up there cares about the feellings of an old alum (63 years old), I will be glad to discuss specifics in a more confidential venue. Thanks for allowing me to express my thoughts. I sincerely hope our interim chancellor and new chancellor will embrace some of the old tried & true leadership characteristics much more than our most recent and current leadership.

    Thank you,
    John R. Gray Classes of ’69 & ’70

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