William Friday's condition improves

William Friday

May 18, 2012 8:46:50 AM PDT
The family of former UNC System President William Friday said Friday his condition is improving after doctors implanted a permanent pacemaker, but he remains in critical condition.

"He and his family very much appreciate the outpour of love and support shown from everyone.  They also appreciate the respect for their need for privacy during this time," it said in a statement.

Friday served as the head of the University of North Carolina system from 1956 to 1986.

He led the school through integration, the sponsorship of the state education network and its growth into a 16-campus university system. He also helped with the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Since retiring as president, Friday has continued to push to keep college affordable and supported programs to reduce poverty and illiteracy. He also has his own show on UNC-TV called "North Carolina People" that he last taped earlier this month.

Friday had open heart surgery in 2009.

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