Knight Foundation honors Bill Friday with memorial fund contribution to UNC-Chapel Hill

Founding Co-chair of Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

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"Remembering Bill Friday" by Alberto Ibargüen on Knight Blog

Bill Friday

MIAMI -- (Oct. 18, 2012) – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has honored former University of North Carolina president Bill Friday with a $25,000 contribution to a memorial fund in his name at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Friday, who died Oct. 12, was the founding co-chairman and inspiration for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics., created in 1989. Both Friday and then Knight Foundation President Creed Black agreed that high-profile athletics scandals and low graduation rates for football and basketball players were damaging the public’s faith in universities.

Under the leadership of Friday and Father Theodore Hesburgh, the commission successfully advocated for presidential control of intercollegiate athletics, strengthened academic standards for athletes, and a certification process requiring athletics departments to prove that they were running fiscally responsible, equitable, and ethical sports programs.

In 2005, the year he retired from the commission, the National Collegiate Athletic Association presented Friday with the prestigious Gerald R. Ford Award for his leadership.

“Bill was an essential educator who understood ‘student-athlete’ as an ideal to teach both discipline and values. He was a fearless lover of truth, a defender of free speech and believer in engaging communities to solve problems. Even those of us who knew him less could not help but be charmed by his sharp and gently used sense of humor,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation.

“Bill was a wonderful administrator of higher education and also one of the best informed,” said Father Hesburgh, his longtime co-chair on the commission. “I spent many years working with him, hand and glove, as we tried to clean up intercollegiate athletics.  Bill’s intelligence was matched only by his integrity.  We will certainly miss him…and there is no one to match him.”

Said former Knight Foundation president Hodding Carter: “Bill Friday embodied the best of the old virtues, from civility and courtesy to courage and commitment. The key to his remarkable stature and influence was that he never stopped learning and he never stopped listening.”

Those interested in contributing to the William C. Friday Memorial Fund should contact Carolyn Atkins, UNC-Chapel Hill's director of stewardship, at (919) 962-1536, Carolyn_atkins@unc.edu or PO Box 309 Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0309.

About Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Contacts:

Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, (305) 908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.