Memorial Service At UNC Honored Longtime President Bill Friday

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Officials from state government and higher education are honoring the legacy of former University of North Carolina President William Friday.

Dignitaries from across North Carolina gathered Wednesday at Memorial Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus to honor Friday, who died last week.

UNC President Tom Ross said Friday's life was not just well served, but lived in as extraordinary a manner as any the state has ever seen.

Gov. Bev Perdue recalled her conversations with Friday, talking about a philosophy he championed until his death -- that a good education in North Carolina "was a birthright."

Perdue declared Wednesday as Bill Friday Day. Flags have been flying at half-staff at all state facilities since Friday's death, and bell towers at various UNC campuses rang out in his honor Wednesday morning.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- A memorial service for former University of North Carolina President William Friday will feature notable state figures, a choir and a brass quintet.

The service is scheduled for Wednesday morning at Memorial Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. UNC-TV will broadcast the service live.

Speakers include Friday's daughter, broadcast journalist Charlie Rose, Gov. Beverly Perdue and former Gov. Jim Hunt.

Friday died at his home in Chapel Hill last week at age 92. He personified higher education for many in North Carolina. He stepped down after 30 years as president of the University of North Carolina system in 1986.

Friday was hospitalized this summer to get a permanent pacemaker. He had not been ill prior to his death.

Former University of North Carolina President Bill Friday has died. He was 92.

Friday's personal assistant Virginia Taylor said Friday that the giant in North Carolina education died in his sleep at his Chapel Hill home.

Friday stepped down as UNC president in 1986 after serving 30 years. He remained active in public life, hosting the show "North Carolina People" on public television. He suffered a heart attack in 2008 and was hospitalized again in May, but Taylor said he had not been ill prior to his death.

As UNC president, Friday helped build the 16-campus system in an academic powerhouse. He led the school through integration and after his retirement he kept pushing to keep college affordable in North Carolina.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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