Answering the Call of Politics

Bob Jordan recalls getting to know Bill Friday, both as a student government representative and after graduation as Jordan began to get involved with state politics.

Interview on 2011-09-16


00:00:00.000 1960, I guess it was,
00:00:04.660 I got a phone call one day from a person who was the house of representatives member for our county.
00:00:11.601 Each county used to have one person representing it, a hundred counties, a hundred people,
00:00:16.244 and later you got into one person, one vote
00:00:18.507 and it expanded to a hundred and twenty-five, but a little county like Montgomery
00:00:22.929 didn't get a whole representative. You had to work--
00:00:25.933 Anyway, this person at that time was the representative
00:00:29.407 and he was on the committee that had a hundred people on it-excuse me, had twenty-five people on it-each year,
00:00:35.614 and the board of trustees of the university system, which was then State, Women's College, and UNC-Chapel Hill,
00:00:42.634 they had just one board,
00:00:48.546 no single board, so every two years they put twenty-five people on that hundred-person board
00:00:53.415 and it was an eight-year term. So he called me one day and said, "I saw in the Montgomery Herald while you were at NC State
00:00:58.652 that you were involved in school affairs, student body,"
00:01:03.768 so he said, "I've got a chance to put somebody on that board.
00:01:06.631 This is my year and I get to put somebody on there to serve an eight-year term.
00:01:13.918 Would you like to do it?" It didn't take me long to decide that. So this was 1961.
00:01:22.222 When I walked in that first board meeting I was twenty-eight years old,
00:01:28.093 when I walked in there, the youngest one on the board, certainly then,
00:01:35.851 and the person sitting in front was Bill Friday.
00:01:39.139 Well when I was at State we had a consolidated student body group that met occasionally
00:01:46.862 and we had a meeting in Chapel Hill one time, and that was in the spring of '54, I think.
00:01:51.884 I went to the meeting and we sat down there, and at that time just the three universities sitting there, the leaders.
00:02:04.208 This person walked to the front of the room and he said, "I'm the assistant to Gordon Gray, the president of this university. My name's Bill Friday."
00:02:11.529 So that was my first time I met Bill.
00:02:15.634 Then when I went to the board of trustees of the system I walked in and he's president,
00:02:20.239 and he took me under his arm.

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