Statement from Wildacres Leadership Initiative on the death of William C. Friday

Oct 17, 2012, 08:17 ET from Wildacres Leadership Initiative

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations deeply mourns the loss of our namesake, Mr. Bill Friday, who died on October 12, 2012.

The fellowship is a program of Wildacres Leadership Initiative, created in 1994 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Wildacres Retreat, a conference center for non-profit groups. The leadership development program was named after Bill Friday to honor his leadership and to shine as an example for those selected as "Friday Fellows."

In October 1999, Mr. Friday issued this charge:

"You have before you an awesome and unprecedented personal challenge. Indeed it is an enormous opportunity for growth and learning and especially for learning about yourselves. You will soon discover how willing you are to change. You will find out how tolerant you are of a point of view that conflicts with your own. You are going to discover how much courage you really have in challenging demagoguery, hypocrisy, expediency, and misdirected ego. You will find out how willing you are to do and not just to observe."

While leadership in North Carolina has suffered a great loss, we humbly aspire to infuse his words in all our work. "Mr. Friday was a model for all of us," said Katy Harriger, Chair of the Board of Advisers of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative and a member of the Friday Fellows Class of 1995-97.  "His commitment to the public good and to the state continues to inspire us as we do the work of advancing human relations in our communities and the state. This work has never been more important and needed.  A review of his life and contributions to the state remind us both of how much progress we have made in North Carolina because of committed public-spirited leaders like Mr. Friday, and how much more work there is to do. Indeed, just as it was his lifetime work, it must be ours."

We deeply appreciate being associated with such a great humanitarian, educator, and servant leader. We hold his example close—the steady, balanced, humble and humane approach to leadership and problem solving in North Carolina that he demonstrated every day.

There are 184 Friday Fellows spread across the state. For more information, visit


SOURCE Wildacres Leadership Initiative