As we close this special issue of the Carolina Alumni Review, we know that there is much more that could be said about the many contributions of Ida and Bill Friday to the University, to North Carolina, and to higher education in the United States.
But, as has often been the case, Bill Friday says it best, as he did in Memorial Hall on University Day last fall when he made his final remarks to the UNC faculty. It is fitting that Bill Friday should have the last word. So, with grateful appreciation to Ida and Bill on behalf of the tens of thousands of Carolina alumni whose lives they have touched, it is our pleasure to share those inspiring closing remarks delivered October 12, 1985 by William Clyde Friday ’48 LLB, Life Member #5835.
— Doug Dibbert ’70
Like many other veterans of World War II, Ida and I came to Chapel Hill in February, 1946, with all our worldly possessions in the trunk of a small two-seated car. I was enrolling in the School of Law. Ice was on the ground and a fierce, cold wind blew. Our living quarters consisted of an attic we had managed to rent. I opened the text for my first class in Property Law and found the first five cases written in Latin. Not having attended Chapel Hill as an undergraduate, I couldn’t read a word of any case. I was off to a brilliant start!
Later that week, I renewed my friendship with William Aycock and William Dees with whom I had associated in student government in earlier years, and life became more cheerful.
The ensuing years have gone swiftly and they have afforded a busy, exciting — if sometimes stressful — life for Ida and me. It has been a privileged existence because this University commands respect everywhere and no door is closed and no opportunity denied.
I appreciate the forbearance shown me as I was allowed to grow and develop, and I am grateful for your abiding good will — expecting no more than I had to give and being tolerant of my mistakes and errors of judgment — as we worked together in overcoming every adversity and in realizing every achievement. I wish there were some way I could repay the splendid men and women with whom I have worked in my own office, the chancellors who have served Chapel Hill so well, and repay the many things done by dear friends and colleagues like each of you to make our journey a happier one. If, in turn, I have been helpful or useful as we have worked together, then I am grateful.
The University at Chapel Hill is a special place. For most of us, it was a place of self-realization and personal development, and we hold precious and dear memories of those very happy years. We learned, we grew and later we understood that we must give back to society the best within us to improve the well-being of those less fortunate about us. Here we also learned that respect for the dignity and worth of each individual and the protection of the rights and freedoms all citizens possess are fundamental to a democratic society and essential to our own being. We learned to be useful and responsible people and we began to understand the profound truth that sustains life and that is that love — one for another — is indeed the greatest Commandment of all. And through this personal commitment of love, service and caring, under a Divine Providence, lies our real hope for peace among all men and women the world over.
This is the spirit of Chapel Hill that I know.
For Ida, our daughters Frances, Mary and Betsy, and myself, thank you for the best years a family could ever hope for. You will always be a part of our lives.
From all the Fridays — Hark The Sound!