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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0049. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

University of North Carolina becomes fully coeducational

Friday discusses the process by which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opened up full admittance to women students during the late 1950s and early 1960s. At that time, Friday was president of the university and he worked closely with Anne Queen, associate director of the YWCA and director of the merged YMCA-YWCA. Friday describes Queen's role (and his) in the process and the benefits of having a coeducational university.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0049. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CINDY CHEATHAM:
Well, I wanted to ask you about that. I wanted to ask you a little bit about the environment for women on campus while you served as President. What was it like and how did Ann work with the women at this University?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, you know, when I first came here, there was not open admissions for women at all. Then when you ask Governor Sanford about this he, when he was Governor, and I and a man named Dallas Herring down here who at that time was head of the school system for the state, created what is known as the Carlysle Commission. That work is really going to be a very profound item of history in this state when somebody takes the time to evaluate it because out of that process came the opening up of the University where all four year degree schools became arts and sciences campuses. We opened up the admission of women. We opened up UNC-G for the admission of men. We delimited the range of doctoral training, projected the development of the community college system, actually outlined the development of the University by taking in the campuses at Charlotte and Wilmington and Asheville. All of this, you see, in one particular report. Now, once it became true that the old policies that were very restrictive for women were to go, you know who jumped right in the middle with the emergence of that new idea. And that was Anne. Now look at the result of it today. Women predominate in enrollment here and this is true at N.C. State I found out. There are more women now than males. But it's the new day. You make these kinds of changes for many reasons. First, it's economic. You couldn't afford to have big university plants that weren't open to coeducation. Secondly, it is the way you want to have the academic experience because that's the way life is out there. You know, men and women, male and female; you work that way every day of your life. So, why have such a sequestered arrangement when you're reaching the years that are important. One of the great skills that Anne Queen possesses is that she never lost sight of where she's going. But she learned long ago how to do that with grace and style so that even when you disagreed with her you could never get angry because you knew that ultimately she would wear you down. It had to happen. And wear you down because the idea she had was right. It was the idea itself that she finally saw through. And it was not a matter of resistance. It was just a matter of how much can you achieve at one time in scheduling things and programming things. But she was and is a person whose mind never sleeps. She's just stirring up ideas all the time and that's what you want around a university community. You absolutely have to have an Anne Queen to work with young people.