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William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations Announces Dr. Darin Waters as Faculty Fellow

Tuesday, September 15, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Wildacres Leadership Initiative is pleased to announce Dr. Darin Waters as William C. Friday Faculty Fellow for the 2020–2022 fellowship class. Dr. Waters will join lead faculty Meredith Doster as a full partner in the work and practice of this two-year, statewide fellowship that honors the legacy of longtime UNC system president William C. “Bill” Friday. Waters and Doster have been meeting and collaborating monthly since late spring in preparation for the October 2020 fellowship launch. Together, they will welcome 24 Fellows from across the state into a learning collaborative that centers deep engagement with their own—and others’—storied truths and leadership practices.

hover textWaters is a native of Asheville, North Carolina, and an Associate Professor of History at UNC Asheville. A North Carolinian by birth and historian by training, Dr. Waters will bring both lived experience and expertise to the cohort’s learning. With specializations in the history of race relations and in the selectivity of American memory, Waters will support the fellowship class as it raises questions about histories both known and unacknowledged. Waters will also nurture collective learning and unlearning as the incoming cohort imagines and remembers a more just North Carolina and world. Lead faculty Meredith Doster describes Water’s fit for this role:

“Darin’s deep knowledge of North Carolina history and his commitment to community-based learning make him a compelling partner for the Friday Fellowship. Darin and I met several years ago and it’s a gift to be shaping this program together. As a relative newcomer to the state, I am grateful to be reckoning alongside Darin as we tackle some of the state’s most pressing issues in relationship with one another, with competing histories, and with this watershed season.”

A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill where he received the PhD, Dr. Waters research explores the life and history of African Americans in western North Carolina. Since 2014, Dr. Waters has hosted the African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference at UNC Asheville where he serves as Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement and Special Assistant to the Chancellor. In that role, Waters works closely with campus and community leaders to strengthen and build partnerships and collaborations across the Asheville landscape.

In addition to his scholarship, Waters is the producer and co-host of the Waters and Harvey Show with his colleague Dr. Marcus Harvey. Waters and Doster discussed their collaborations in a recent Waters and Harvey episode, “Building Relationships that Matter.” For Waters, this Faculty Fellow role is part of a longstanding commitment to lively conversations that require the context of relationship and community to have lasting impact:

“As a long time fan of William C. Friday and his work as a community builder, I am honored to have the opportunity to join the 2020–2022 fellowship class and leadership team as we work to deepen our knowledge and understanding of what it means to be in relationship with one another, and what it means to live in community. My affinity for the Fellowship is deepened by the intention that Bill Friday placed on the development of true relationships.  If we are to build bridges of mutual understanding, the time that we invest in developing relationships that matter is absolutely paramount. I look forward to joining in the work of the Fellowship over the next two years.”    

For the next two years, Waters and Doster will offer regular reflections on their shared learning and leadership on the Waters and Harvey Show and at the Friday Fellowship website. For more information about the fellowship program and the incoming class, please visit

About the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations
The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations is the flagship program of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative. The fellowship honors the legacy of longtime UNC system president Bill Friday, who charged the first class of fellows in 1995 with embracing personal growth and learning in the service of all North Carolinians. Responding to Bill Friday’s call for leadership marked by both courage and grace, the fellowship has equipped over 200 North Carolinians with opportunities for deep engagement with their own—and others’—leadership practices. With human relations at the core of the fellowship’s mission and design, fellows step into relationship with one another while evaluating their power, place, and purpose in a changing world.

Wildacres Leadership Initiative is connected with Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, NC.