On Thursday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m., NC State’s William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, a group that advocates for the advancement of education, will award Dudley Flood with the 2020 Friday Medal. Flood will be recognized for his essential work in the desegregation of North Carolina schools, and will be celebrated with a ceremony featuring speeches from Chancellor Randy Woodson; Mary Ann Danowitz, dean of the College of Education; and Hiller Spires, executive director of the Friday Institute.
According to Spires, the Friday Medal and Friday Institute are named after Bill Friday, an educator who was president of the UNC System for 30 years. The Friday Medal honors “a person who has distinguished and enduring contributions to education, particularly advocating innovation, advancing education and being an inspiration for all.”
Past honorees include former North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt Jr. in 2008, 2004 National Superintendent of the Year Bill McNeal in 2011 and Judge Howard Manning Jr., a former superior court judge who oversaw the enforcement of 2016 Leandro v. North Carolina, which determined that the wealth of a child’s family and their community should not determine the quality of their education.
Spires said Flood’s selection came at a perfect time considering the Friday Institute’s recent addition of the impact area “cultivating equity in education through equity-mindedness.” Spires called him an inspiration in the area of educational equity.
“Dr. Flood is a former educator, and he was also a leader at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for many, many years,” Spires said. “Probably what he was most known for back then was that he was a leader in desegregating North Carolina schools. He was on the ground doing that important work.”
The Friday Institute has a committee that generates a list of names that they feel embodies the goals and mission of the Friday Institute, Spires said. They believed Flood perfectly exemplified these characteristics.
“The mission of the Friday Institute is to advance education through innovation in teaching, learning and leadership,” Spires said. “We work to bring together students, teachers, researchers, policymakers and educational professionals to foster collaboration that improves education for all learners.”
This commitment to collaboration is even shown in how the ceremony will be held. The virtual ceremony will recognize students, educators and outside community members.
According to Spires, the event will begin with a welcome from herself and Danowitz, along with a welcome from Chancellor Woodson. Following this, the Institute will announce their graduate student fellowships. Judge David Baker, a long-time friend of Flood’s, will introduce Flood followed by remarks from Flood. Flood will then be “presented” with the medal.
“It will be virtual, so we will already have delivered the medal to his house, practicing social distancing,” Spires said. “At the time that we present it to him, he will actually be able to show the medal to everyone on the Zoom call.”
The ceremony will close with a performance by vocalist and accounting and purchasing specialist for the Friday Institute, Marsha Bailey Curtis, who will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Overall, Spires is proud to be a part of an organization that honors Flood for the work that he has done throughout his lifetime.
“Dr. Flood is a wonderful human being who has inspired so many people over many years,” Spires said. “He really is a North Carolina treasure.”
If you are interested in attending the Friday Medal ceremony, visit the event page on the Friday Institute’s website and register. The event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 19 from 4 to 5 p.m.