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Fellowship Application 2020

2020-2022 Fellowship Applications Are Now Closed

The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations is no longer accepting applications for the 2020–2022 class that will launch in October 2020.

Full application packets were due Friday, January 17, 2020.


The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations is a 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 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 equips 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.


The fellowship seats a cohort of approximately 25 North Carolinians who come together across difference to participate in the two-year program. The program is structured in six weekend seminars hosted at retreat centers across the state. Each cohort begins its journey at Wildacres Retreat in McDowell County. Established by the Blumenthal family as a gathering place for the betterment of human relations, Wildacres anchors the fellowship in both place and practice. Traveling to the mountaintop together, fellows are invited to balance relationship building with personal reflection.

Candidates for the William C. Friday Fellowship are committed to leadership in North Carolina, model humility and continuous learning, and are courageous risk-takers seeking to create innovation through their work in the world. Since its founding in 1995, the fellowship program has graduated over 200 cross-sector leaders whose relationships model the value of interdependence in an increasingly polarized North Carolina. Early fellowship classes shared experiences rooted in the values of integrity, intention, and inclusion. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the fellowship is refining these core commitments to respond more fully to 21st century learning and leading. The 2020–2022 fellowship seminars will explore how curiosity, courage, creativity, and connection yield leadership practices capable of transforming North Carolinians and their communities.


To apply, prospective fellows will submit application materials that include a nomination letter from someone familiar with their leadership qualities and commitments. Historically, nominators have been connected to the fellowship as either past fellows or program advocates. The selection committee is eager to consider a diverse slate of candidates from across the state. In addition to welcoming referrals from within the fellowship network, the selection committee invites applications and nominations from:

  • Newcomers to Wildacres Leadership Initiative programming; and

  • Finalists and candidates from previous application rounds.


Thank you for your interest in the Friday Fellowship program. We are glad you are considering this opportunity to grow leadership capacities that will benefit communities across the state.

To be considered by our selection committee, please complete and submit the following materials:



(1) a three-part demographic questionnaire that provides insight into your background;

(2) two short answer questions that allow you to describe your leadership commitments;

(3) a nomination letter from a colleague or mentor who knows you well; and

(4) an optional resume that outlines your work in the world.

The application form includes the demographic questionnaire, short answer questions, and prompts to solicit a nomination letter. The nomination form provides full submission details and timelines. The optional resume can be submitted as an attachment with the completed application form. Applications will be considered complete both with and without a professional resume.

Full application packets are due by (or postmarked no later than) 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020.

Applications can be

  • Submitted electronically at;
  • Sent as email attachments to; or
  • Delivered by mail to 9121 Anson Way, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27615.


Thank you for supporting the work of the Friday Fellowship by recommending leaders who demonstrate a curiosity for learning and courageous commitments to their work in North Carolina. To nominate someone to the fellowship, please complete and submit a nomination form that includes:

(1) a short questionnaire that details your relationship to the fellowship and applicant; and

(2) three short answer questions that invite your reflections on the candidate’s leading and learning commitments.

WLI staff will follow up with all nominees to invite submission of outstanding application materials.

Nomination forms are due by (or postmarked no later than) 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020.

Nomination forms can be

  • Submitted electronically at;
  • Sent as email attachments to; or
  • Delivered by mail to 9121 Anson Way, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27615.


The Friday Fellowship seeks to enroll North Carolinians committed to both the flourishing of their communities and to the full fellowship experience. The selection committee recognizes that leadership commitments can take many forms and will prioritize candidates poised to apply the fellowship’s learning across the state.

In addition to weighing individual capacities for curiosity, courage, creativity, and connection, the selection committee will carefully review each application for its strength of commitment to the state. Review criteria include:

(1) North Carolina Residency.
All candidates must be North Carolina residents. While exceptions apply, strong applicants will document at least three years of North Carolina residency. Prospective applicants who do not meet this threshold are encouraged to emphasize their commitments to the state in their application materials.

(2) Full Fellowship Attendance and Participation.
All fellows are expected to attend and participate fully in all six weekend-long seminars. Seminar dates and locations are included in this application packet. Candidates who cannot commit to all six weekends are encouraged to defer their applications to future cycles. The selection committee will ask finalists to submit appropriate approval from supervisors.


January 2020
Applications due Friday, January 17 by 5:00 p.m. EST
Initial review of applications

February 2020
Round one interviews

March 2020
Round two interviews

April 2020
Final selection

May 2020
Fellowship class announced

October 2020
Fellowship launches at Wildacres Retreat Center


Friday Fellows make a commitment to prepare for and participate in all six seminars. As relationship is at the core of the Friday Fellowship mission and programming, prospective fellows should carefully review the full slate of seminar dates with family members and professional supervisors. If candidates foresee scheduling challenges with any of the seminar dates, we encourage deferring application to a future cycle.


Seminar I: October 1–4, 2020
Wildacres Retreat
1565 Wild Acres Rd.
Little Switzerland, NC 28749

Seminar II: March 11–14, 2021
Camp Rockfish
226 Camp Rockfish Rd.
Parkton, NC 28371

Seminar III: July 22–25, 2021
Trinity Center
618 Salter Path Rd.
Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512

Seminar IV: October 21–24, 2021
Location TBD

Seminar V: January 27–31, 2022
Eastern 4-H Center
100 N. Clover Way
Columbia, NC 27925

Seminar VI: May 19–22, 2022
Location TBD

Important Links

Application and Nomination Process

Friday Fellowship Application - Online

Friday Fellowship Application - Hard Copy

Nomination Form - Online

Nomination Form - Hard Copy

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