Willard Watson III

Willard Watson III

RALEIGH — The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, the flagship program of Wildacres Leadership Initiative, named its 2020-2022 class on June 16, including one Watauga County resident.

William C. Friday Fellows 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, according to the initiative’s announcement.

Willard Cline Watson III is the director of programs and outreach at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum in Blowing Rock. Watson also volunteers at F.A.R.M. Cafe in Boone and sits on the board of the High Country Beer Fest, along with being an organizer of the Doc & Rosa Lee Watson Music Fest in Sugar Grove until 2014.

Watson is a graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone and received his masters degree in Appalachian Studies with a concentration in Sustainability.

According to the Willard partners with Melissa Ed in both life and music. The couple share a cat, Ollie. A musician and bass player, Willard enjoys cooking and believes that a good meal can bring people together.

The William C. Friday Fellowship is a competitive statewide program for cross-sector leaders that seats fewer than 30 individuals across North Carolina every two-year cycle. Nineteen North Carolina counties are represented in this 11th Class of Friday Fellows.

James Mills of Rocky Mount, a Friday Fellow from the Class of 2008 and WLI’s current board chair, said, “I was amazed at the quality of candidates we interviewed. It was tough deciding who to seat.”

“Each of these individuals has made a choice to step into something not fully known and to be in relationship with those different than themselves. It is these choices that make communities stronger and more resilient. I am grateful for their choices,” said WLI Director Hunter Corn.

The Friday Fellowship will immerse its chosen North Carolina leaders in its unique, free program held in locations throughout the state for six four-day development seminars. Before and after each seminar weekend are guided practices designed for class members to embrace new pathways to build and sustain relationships across lines of difference.

Learn more about the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations online at https://www.fridayfellowship.org/default.aspx.

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