The clouds parted revealing a beautiful, but chilly day for graduation exercises at Campbell University on Monday, May 15. Seated on the Academic Mall in front of D. Rich Memorial Hall, approximately 782 graduates waited for their names to be called. In his keynote address, Dr. William C. Friday, President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina, managed to push back thoughts of lunch and after parties to capture the hearts and minds of the graduates. The host of the popular Public Television show, "North Carolina People," Friday has been an educator for over 50 years who sees his television role as an extension of his career. His real goal for the show is to teach and to leave behind an archival history of the state of North Carolina. He expressed a similar message to the graduates. Urging them to be achievers, to find a life companion and to take a stand as community leaders who will change things for the better, he said, "There has never been a time in the history of the United States when so many oppressed people around the globe look to the U.S. for guidance and the protection of their rights and freedoms. Don't become content with things the way they are. Be prepared to stand up, renew and reorganize this country." Change begins in our own back yards, Friday said, citing North Carolina statistics that report a total of 1 million citizens living in poverty, including 300,000 children. "There are thousands among us in this state whose skills and abilities will not allow them to survive in this technological society," he said. "If you leave their conditions unattended, it will affect your children and your children's children. What kind of North Carolina are you going to leave behind?" The vulgarity and immorality of television, the viciousness of political campaigns, the greed in corporate America do not reflect who Americans really are, Friday asserted. "I challenge you to do your part in changing that perception. Put family first, work hard, continue to learn and know your place as a role model to others and to society." Dr. Friday, baccalaureate speaker Dr. George Braswell and Anthony Civello, president of Kerr Drug, Inc., received honorary degrees at the commencement exercises. Graduate Joshua McKinnon and Campbell trustee, Kerry Clippard, also received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for outstanding character and achievement. Dr. William C. Friday is a native of Dallas, N.C., who graduated from North Carolina State University and received a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1942-1946. From 1948 until 1951, he served as assistant dean of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1951, he was named assistant to university President Gordon Gray and in 1956, he assumed the presidency of the university, beginning a 30-year career as head of the University of North Carolina System. He has received numerous honors, including the American Council on Education's Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Humanities Medal and the American Academy for Liberal Education's Jacques Barzun Award. In 1986, a study by the Council of Advancement and Support of Education rated him the most effective public university president in the nation.
Photo Copy: Dr. William C. Friday delivers the commencement address at Campbell University on Monday, May 15. (Photo by Scott Capell)