William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations
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. William C. “Bill” Friday (1920–2012) was a leader whose impact was measured, in part, by the relationships he built across the state. An exemplar civil servant and adaptive leader, Bill Friday modeled a quality of presence that the Friday Fellowship practices and promotes. 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. Today’s leaders face mounting challenges, many of which are rooted in inequities sewn into the fabric of a fraying democratic society. The Friday Fellowship prepares leaders to navigate the differences that divide communities by embracing adaptability and accountability. Following Bill Friday’s example, the fellowship inspires conversations and collaborations that allow fellows to imagine and create a more inclusive and innovative future. A celebration of relationship and an invitation to dialogue, the purpose of the Friday Fellowship is to seek and serve a new generation of courageous leaders ready to model civility and collaboration with one another and with communities across the state.
The fellowship seats a cohort of approximately 25 North Carolinians who come together across lines of difference to participate in a 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.
Applications are not yet being accepted for the 12th class of Friday Fellows.
Information about the next application cycle will be posted on the website.