David Price pays tribute to Bill Friday

Remarks by Fourth District Representative David Price honoring William Friday on his 90th birthday.

Madame Speaker, I rise to honor William C. “Bill” Friday, the man whose name was synonymous with higher education in North Carolina for much of the 20th century. This week, he celebrated his 90th birthday.

Few North Carolinians are as well known or as widely respected as Bill Friday. Although he has never run for elected office, the former president of the University of North Carolina (UNC) system has been prominent in public affairs for decades and ranks as one of the most important American university presidents of the post-World War II era. As the longest-serving President of North Carolina’s public university system, Bill Friday has been a friend to anyone and everyone educated in that system, anyone employed by that system, and anyone living in the vibrant towns and cities that surround our state’s public universities.

Bill Friday was born in Raphine, Virginia, but he grew up in Dallas, North Carolina, a small community in Gaston County. He graduated from Dallas High School, where he played baseball and basketball, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill. He also served in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II.
Friday’s entire professional life was spent in higher education. Before becoming president of the UNC system in 1957, he served as assistant dean of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1948-1951), assistant to the President of the Consolidated University of North Carolina (1951-1955), and Secretary of the University of North Carolina system. After a brief period as Acting President of the system, he was chosen to take the position permanently. It was a job at which he thrived.

Friday’s tenure as UNC president spanned the greatest period of growth for higher education in American history, and he played a crucial role in shaping our sixteen-campus university during that time. Early on, the Council of Advancement and Support of Education identified Friday as the most effective public university president in the nation.

Bill Friday was a consistent supporter of academic freedom and integrity. During the civil rights movement, he often served as mediator between student activists and the conservative state legislature. He led a five-year effort to repeal the 1963 Speaker Ban Law, which prohibited campuses from hosting appearances by government critics. And he fought to keep tuition affordable so that limited means would not be a barrier to higher education.

Friday was also a visionary leader, and he pursued that vision in many areas. His involvement in the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education led to gains in North Carolina and the nation in federal funding for student aid in Pell Grants and the establishment of the Area Health Education Centers. He served as founding co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which has worked persistently to reform college athletics. Friday helped to develop the National Humanities Center; he supported the establishment of North Carolina public radio through UNC; and he was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Research Triangle Park.

As Charlotte Observer associate editor Jack Betts noted about Bill Friday: “He often seemed to be everywhere, but he was always no further away than a telephone, willing to talk about state history, fully cognizant of the state’s many needs and always enthusiastic about the progress the state could make through its various educational enterprises, especially the university. He was a university president, but at heart he has always been a teacher.” I can certainly attest to this personally as the recipient of many Bill Friday notes and calls and as one who has benefitted enormously from his generous and wise counsel.

Friday has mentored university leaders, governors and presidents in the course of his public life and he has received a multitude of accolades — including just about every honor North Carolina has to bestow. These honors include the American Council on Education’s National Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Humanities Medal, the American Academy for Liberal Education’s Jacques Barzun Award, and the John Hope Franklin Award. In 2004, the N.C. General Assembly held a special joint session to honor Friday’s life and work. The legislature and then-Gov. Mike Easley presented William and Ida Friday with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for service to North Carolina.

Now retired from the university, Friday heads the William R. Kenan, Jr., Fund and the Kenan Charitable Trust. Friday also currently hosts a public television talk show, North Carolina People, which he began while still president of the UNC system. The show brings Tar Heel state residents insights from leaders in education, politics, business, and the arts, adding richly to our public discourse.

Even in retirement, Friday keeps an office at UNC Chapel Hill and serves as a formal and informal sounding board and dispenser of wisdom for students, administrators and others. The University of North Carolina System has given its state so much: public servants, educators and other professionals, small and large business leaders, innovative researchers, informed citizens: these make up the fabric that weaves together our communities. At 90, Bill remains fiercely dedicated to the idea that education is uniquely powerful, giving young people the tools they need to shape their lives, live out their dreams, and better society.

As Bill himself would insist, he has not achieved these great things on his own. He had the good fortune and good sense in 1942 to marry his wife Ida, who has been a lifetime partner in his service and civic endeavors. Their names grace a continuing education center in Chapel Hill and an education innovation center in Raleigh, both of which host hundreds of gatherings each year, promoting collaboration and furthering the causes to which the Fridays’ lives have been dedicated.

Fortunately, nothing Bill Friday has done in the last few years suggests his life will begin to slow down as he turns 90. I am honored to know Bill and to call attention to his service to our state and her citizens. The Tar Heel State owes much to him.

UNC revamps citizen soldier effort

After a review of the program prompted by complaints to Sue Myrick’s office and an eye-opening story that questioned its efficacy, UNC has announced a restructuring of its Citizen Soldier program. Here’s the release:

Goodale to lead Citizen-Soldier program restructuring focusing on behavioral health

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is significantly restructuring the Citizen-Soldier Support Program to focus primarily on the behavioral health needs of returning combat veterans and their families.

Bob Goodale, a retired grocery executive and state commerce official, will lead these efforts as director of the Citizen-Soldier Support Program, based in the University’s Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. He has directed the Citizen-Soldier program’s behavioral health initiative since 2007.

The Citizen-Soldier program, a demonstration project, develops approaches for engaging communities to support National Guard and Reserve members and their families before, during and after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. It has received several federal appropriations totaling about $9.8 million since 2004. The University has been reviewing the program since early this year after Congresswoman Sue Myrick received a complaint about its effectiveness.

“Behavioral health is Citizen-Soldier’s most successful component, so we’ll focus on that strength in providing assistance to soldiers coming back from active duty along with their families,” said Dr. Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “Taking this step, under Bob Goodale’s leadership, is consistent with the recommendations emerging from an internal review and guidance from the program’s National Advisory Council.”

Starting Monday (Nov. 16), Goodale, a retired Harris Teeter chief executive officer and former deputy secretary of the State Department of Commerce, will succeed Peter Leousis, who will continue as deputy director of the Odum institute.

Waldrop said the Citizen-Solider program is expanding the behavioral health initiative to further develop a network of civilian behavioral health providers. So far, the program has trained more than 2,000 providers to work with returning combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and their families. He said the program’s behavioral health efforts have benefitted from collaborations with the Area Health Education Centers, based at the University’s School of Medicine that works with nine regional centers to bring health sciences faculty and students to North Carolina communities to provide care and services.

Next year, nearly 4,500 National Guard soldiers from North Carolina’s 30th Heavy Combat Brigade will return from deployment in Iraq. The Citizen-Soldier program’s goal is to put in place a statewide behavioral health “safety net” before they return home, Waldrop said. A Web-based, searchable database of civilian behavioral health providers is scheduled to launch in January.

As part of the restructuring, Waldrop said the Citizen-Soldier program also would:

· Phase out its own “Building Community Partnership” efforts and redirect that funding to expanding the behavioral health initiative.

· Move a training program for the Army OneSource initiative, “Building Community Partnerships,” to the Jordan Institute for Families in the UNC School of Social Work under the leadership of Dr. Gary Bowen, Kenan Distinguished Professor. That shift leverages existing strengths in the social work school and follows a recommendation from the internal review committee.

· Reduce several staff positions and re-engage its National Advisory Council in support of the program’s work.

The changes follow a report by Chancellor Holden Thorp to the University’s Board of Trustees in September, as well as recommendations and ongoing deliberations of an internal review committee created by Waldrop earlier this year. The review committee, which initially worked for six months in producing its report, and a financial audit by the University were prompted by the complaint received by Myrick.

The internal review committee was reactivated in August and continued to deliberate about the program into last month. Committee members included two retired military officers who were familiar with the program and its goals, as well as administrators from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC General Administration.

Background: http://www.citizensoldiersupport.org/

That was quick

NC State Chancellor is out.

The move comes one day after the Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting about a severance package Oblinger provided former provost Larry Nielsen that might have violated university policy.

Former UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Jim Woodward will serve as interim chancellor until N.C. State can search for a permanent successor, Bowles said.

Lesson: Don’t do stuff like that.

Dear Grads

I guess if you kinda read between the lines of all these commencement speeches the meta-message for all you members of the Class o’ Ought Nine is that your new skills, your sense of adventure and discover and your unbridled enthusiasm mixed with your inventiveness and technological know how is pretty much going to have to be focused on cleaning up the big frickin’ mess that’s been made of this state/country/economy/planet.
Here’s a shovel.
See you in the ditch.
And good luck.

AHEC/ Horace Williams hearings

As Ed might say, this from the day job:

Powerful testimony today from AHEC doctors and pilots about concerns over the move to RDU.

Dr. Bill Henry, chair of UNC’s pediatric cardiology division, set out the case against the move calling the university’s stance that it’s either Horace Williams or RDU “a false choice.”

Henry, noting that appearing at the legislature in opposition of the move to RDU was not a “career enhancing” move, said that while the  university says it has thoroughly looked at the issue, there are many who disagree with the conclusion that RDU is the right place for Medical Air. He encouraged legislators to ask the hard questions.

“Ask the people participating (in AHEC) and you’ll get a very different view,” he said.

University officials, led by Carolina North Executive Director Jack Evans and chief lobbyist Kevin Fitzgerald, reiterated the school’s position on the move and its support of AHEC. Pressed by Rep. Rick Glazier of Fayetteville, Evans seemed to leave the door open to opening the search for an another alternative.


Here’s the original story:

Legislature to hold AHEC/ Horace Williams hearing
By Kirk Ross
Staff Writer

University administrators, Area Health Education Centers officials and a host of physicians from UNC Hospitals will appear before a joint House and Senate committee today (Thursday) to review plans to close Horace Williams Airport and its impact on the university’s Medical Air program.

The North Carolina House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on Education and Health and Human Services called the hearing at the behest of House Speaker Joe Hackney, after some doctors recently reiterated their objection to plans to move flight operations for AHEC to Raleigh Durham International Airport, according to AHEC director Dr. Thomas Bacon.

Bacon said in an interview Wednesday afternoon that Hackney asked Orange County Rep. Verla Insko to convene the meeting after receiving objections from Dr. Bill Henry, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

Bacon said Henry has been critical of the move.
“They’re the biggest users of the planes,” Bacon said. “The main concerns are over travel time and time taking off and landing.”

Bacon said that Henry and other doctors estimate the RDU base of operations could add one hour a day to their travel time to and from the airport, more than the time originally estimated by a consultant AHEC worked with to find the best spot for the move.

Bacon said AHEC and the university remain committed  to the move though, and have been working on plans for a new facility at RDU.

“We have no plans to go elsewhere,” Bacon said. “We’re totally focused on RDU.”

The hearings were part of a deal struck last session after some legislators resisted the closing of the airport, mostly out of concern about how the move to RDU would affect AHEC. A vigorous lobbying effort by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which advocates on behalf of private pilots, also caught the ear of legislators.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees passed a resolution in May of 2005 saying they would not close the airport and move AHEC’s Medical Air operations until they were ready to start the Carolina North project.
An analysis using Federal Aviation Authority standards done in the early stages of the planning for Carolina North said that the airport would conflict with the design and use for the buildings envisioned. Since then, university officials have indicated that the flat, already-paved airport grounds would be a prime spot for the early stages of Carolina North.

In March, the Board of Trustees approved a plan for construction of a new hangar and office space for Medical Air at RDU near an existing Department of Transportation facility. The project is expected to cost roughly $3.5 million.

In addition to Drs. Henry and Bacon, also scheduled to testify at the hearing are Kevin Fitzgerald, executive associate dean for finance and administration, UNC-School of Medicine; Carolina North executive director Jack Evans, pediatrics professor Dr. James Loehr, Dr. Marianne Muhlebach, Dr. Ali Calikoglu, Duke oncologist Dr. Linda Sutton, Medical Air Operations director Jim Hotelling, Medical Air chief pilot Alan Fearing and WCHL owner Jim Heavner, a pilot and plane owner who has been critical of the university’s move to close the airport.

Horace Williams hearings

A joint session of the House and Senate Appropriations Health and Humans Services subcommittee is going to hold the long-awaited hearing on the closing of Horace Williams Airport on Thursday morning.

Look for, perhaps, some real surprises. From the calendar:

H.B. 73 Improve State Construction Process.
S.B. 1119 State Budget Act/Technical Correction.
APPROPRIATIONS/Education (JOINT) and 643 9:00 am
APPROPRIATIONS/Health and Human Services (JOINT)
Discussion on the planned closing of Horace Williams Airport.

Morning Post: Bonds a comin’

Looks like 2008 is shaping up to be a big year for a bond referendum. Already there are efforts to build the case for bond money to fund the Land for Tomorrow effort, and President Bowles and the UNC System Board of Governors continue to talk about “Bond II”–some kind of followup to the $3.1 billion approved by voters in the last millennium.
Now, a coalition of school and business leaders have combined to push for bonds for school construction. According to a Charlotte Observer story, the group says local governments and lottery money aren’t enough to cover the $9.8 billion in construction needs:

According to some estimates, the state will need 266 new schools and 4,900 more class rooms over the next five years to keep up with increasing enrollment. There are 7000 mobile classrooms in the state now, housing 178,000 students.

Couple/three/four questions:
– A lot of other states on the grow are reconfiguring their state/local tax mix to keep property taxes from skyrocketing over school construction. In addition to the bond, will there be a change in NC tax policy and the roles of counties and the state in school construction;
– There is still very little money to help charter schools with capital needs–will they get a piece of the action?;
– There’s alot of evidence supporting small schools, will we see see any discussion about architecture and education or are we talking approx. 266 fully-outfitted behemoths?
– I know it’s not proper to say so anymore, but isn’t it true that some of those 7000 mobile classrooms actually are trailers?

Morning Post: In-Channel Geomorphic Structure edition


Living in a town full of researchers, I always cringe when I hear the bloviates on the radio talk about junk science. Yep, the world of academia has it’s weird side and anyone trying to make a point can find something that looks like science to back it up. The latest log jam over global warming is an example of how the sharply polarized political climate (pardon the pun) is shaping policy.
In this state, the policy debate over climate change and what to do about it is taking place in the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change, which meets again on Monday. While there are a number of things the state can do to reduce its greenhouse gas output, the big hurdle for the commission will be getting a buy-in from the business community. Right now, the majority are saying “what’s in it for me?” And they don’t seem to mind that there are pro-business legislators playing the alternative science card.
So, it might be time for the state’s science community to weigh in.
There’s plenty of research being done around here that could help legislators shed a light on things.
Reading through a recent batch of UNC info, I was struck by how much work on global warming is being done in the area.
For instance, the American Geophysical Union meets Monday in San Francisco and a bunch of UNC researchers are headed out there with their latest earth science studies in hand. A glance through the Tip Sheet for the event shows a lot of work on climate change (and some other pretty cool stuff). From the summary:
* Climate change
o Viking trash holds climate change clues
o Greenland ice quakes forecast faster melting
o Solar radiation drives abrupt climate change
* Earth
o Earthquakes speed up eastern California
o How new faults are born
o Super-eruptions don’t need super-sized sources
* Ocean
o Giant waves in Massachusetts Bay
* Restoring rivers and streams
o Natural dams cool hot summer streams
o Sourcing nitrogen contamination in the Northeast
o Shining a light on sunlight to streams

Consider this work in Greenland by Professor Jose Rial:

Climate Variability, Melt-Flow Acceleration, and Ice Quakes at the Western Slope
of the Greenland Ice Sheet
Jose Rial, professor, department of geological sciences
Measurements of seismic activity in Greenland’s ice sheet indicate the activity is related to the ice sheet’s probable fragmentation due to global warming. Project SMOGIS (Seismic Monitoring of Greenland’s Ice Sheet), a collaboration between UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado at Boulder, has detected intense microearthquake activity throughout the region close to the Jacobshavn glacier, one of the world’s fastest moving glaciers. The seismic activity is clearly related to glacial sliding (at the base of the ice sheet) and crevassing, or large fractures expanding under the increased warming. “The area we are inspecting could be seen as belonging to the buttresses of a giant cathedral, which is the Greenland ice sheet,” Rial said. “If the buttresses fail, the entire cathedral could collapse, perhaps in just a few years. This may be part of what has been called abrupt climate change.”